We know: You mean to do all kinds of things to keep your IT infrastructure in peak condition, but when the office gets busy, things fall through the cracks. The problems won't go away on their own, though. If you need help compiling a list of what you have to accomplish, here are our top ten New Year's resolutions that you can implement to get your business in tip-top shape.
1. Clean Up Your Database Security
With customer-database breaches now making headlines on a weekly basis, ensuring the security of your clients' personal data should be an ongoing part of any IT strategy. That said, the new year is the perfect excuse to audit your databases' security--making sure you're using strong passwords and encryption where appropriate--and to review policies about where those databases are allowed to be stored. That last part is critical: An uncommonly high number of data-loss events occur when laptops carrying database copies are lost or stolen.
2. Rethink Wireless Security
Chances are, you set up your Wi-Fi router in 2004 and haven't given it another thought since. Well, in case you missed it, ye olde Wi-Fi security is hopelessly broken: WEP was cracked years ago to the point where breaking into a WEP-secured network is a matter of trivial simplicity. Alas, recently WPA, WEP's replacement, was cracked as well, although it's still considerably safer than WEP. Upgrade to the still-safe WPA2 if all the devices on your network support it, but at least migrate to WPA if you haven't already.
3. Test and Upgrade UPS Devices
If you think your wireless router is neglected, imagine how the UPS devices in the office feel. Often these battery-backup systems are purchased add-ons to newly bought PCs (and sometimes they come for free as promotional giveaways), and they're promptly plugged in and forgotten, left to grow old under an increasingly thick layer of dust. The problem is that many UPS devices don't put out enough power for the machines connected to them, as users frequently treat them like power strips instead of backup devices.
Carefully check the wattage ratings on your UPS devices and compare those numbers against what you have plugged in to make sure you aren't exceeding the supported capacity. Be sure to install automated shutdown software if you haven't already, and arrange a schedule to test the systems to ensure that they still work.
4. Set Up a CRM System
Now more than ever, it's important not to let sales leads languish and die. Installing a CRM system can really help sales teams prioritize selling efforts and follow up at appropriate times. CRM's acronym makes it sound daunting, but most customer relationship management systems are surprisingly simple to master. Some, such as Salesforce.com and other hosted services, are available completely online, requiring you to install nothing.