Conduct a Year-end IT Health Check in 6 Steps

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Congratulations – you’ve made it through Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday! We understand if you’re exhausted. But other than hanging your holiday lights (and honestly, you should hire a professional to do that), the only essential item to complete on your To Do list is “Conduct an IT Health Check.” Follow these steps to ensure your IT environment is secure, efficient and compliant. And then you are officially free to eat, drink and be merry!

1) Check your cloud resource usage

Go through your invoices to see exactly what you’ve paid for over the past 12 months. You may be surprised that you are overpaying for resources that are no longer needed or being used. For example, your product team spun up a server to test a new application and forget to take it offline at the end of their test/dev period. Or your marketing team set up a separate Dropbox account to store all of the content and images for the new company website. Remember – cloud sprawl costs money and can lead to potential security breaches. So take the time to review, consolidate and/or retire any under-utilized assets.

2) Review your access privileges

While many companies focus on protecting themselves from external threats, internal incidents are just as likely to occur. Now is a good time to review who on your team has access to your mission-critical data and applications. In many cases, you’ll find that an employee who left your organization is still on the list. And think about your employees who may have moved to a different position within the company and may not need the same access privileges. Cull your list, and make sure your employees have only the level of access needed to do their jobs.

3) Update your patches

As long you keep your patches up to date, it’s extremely difficult for the majority of hackers to get into your systems. Keep in mind that the typical web application experiences 4,250 individual attacks every year – meaning that a hacker is randomly scanning for vulnerabilities. Patching will help protect your environment from the more common, individual attacks.

4) Test your disaster recovery (DR) plan

Believe it or not, 72% of DR plans are never tested. And 25% of DR plans that are tested, fail. While HOSTING strongly recommends frequent testing of your DR plan, we can’t emphasize the importance of testing it during the holidays. After all, you don’t want to be notified of a disaster in the middle of your annual tree-trimming party, do you?

5) Check your compliance

If your organization is subject to compliance by HIPAA, PCI DSS, Safe Harbor, etc., make sure you have an up to date “electronic book of evidence” that lists all the actions you’ve taken to remain compliant. You’ll want to have this handy in the event of an audit. Also, ask your cloud service provider (CSP) if they will share their latest compliance audit performed by a recognized, approved auditor.

6) Scrutinize your Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Maybe you shifted another department’s data to a cloud service provider (CSP). Or your existing CSP was recently acquired by another company. Now is a good time to read through your service level agreements to ensure you are receiving the availability, security and uptime you need.

Need help conducting an IT Health Check? HOSTING leads the industry in providing a unified set of managed cloud solutions supported by one team, across all leading public and private cloud solutions including AWS, Azure and HOSTING’s own environments. We alleviate the burden of securing, maintaining and monitoring your environments so that you can focus on your business – and enjoy the holidays. Contact us anytime to discuss your cloud needs. And view our on-demand webinar, Finding Success with Managed Services in the Azure Environment, to learn more about our unified cloud services.

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