Boardish has released a cyber landscape report that summarises the latest changes in the threat landscape. As a tool created for CISOs and cyber professionals who work on quantifying the impact of cyber threats and solutions into financial figures, Boardish has recently moved from beta to production.
The ultimate goal that Boardish wishes to achieve is to simplify the quantification process for CISOs and other cyber professionals, helping them get faster insight into the cybersecurity landscape and impact of new threats and solutions.
Their new cyber landscape report shows that the threat landscape has experienced quite a number of changes at the beginning of the year. One thing that they picked up is that there is a link between the three main threat increases that were registered: unpatched machines, ransomware, and data breaches.
The Boardish cyber report places unpatched machines to the very top of cybersecurity issues. This threat experienced the highest increase of 18% after NSA has discovered there is a vulnerability in the Windows 10 systems. The number of machines affected by this vulnerability goes over 900 million, which is more than enough to raise the risk assessment for unpatched machines from medium to high, as it has the potential to be the next nation-state type of attack.
Eternal Blue, the exploit used for the WannaCry ransomware is still affecting machines around the globe. When combined with the number of machines that could potentially be affected and the impact of previous nation-state attacks, any organisation with unpatched machines should treat the risk as a priority.
This leads us to the next threat highlighted by the cyber report: ransomware. It has increased by 11% across all company size categories.
It’s connected to the number of unpatched machines and also the fact that there are numerous other attack vectors for ransomware infections, with phishing being the most popular attack vector.
Ransomware is so popular because it’s the easiest way to get money quickly, but there has been an increase of instances of the ransom NOT being paid, in which case attackers released the data and caused a data breach.
This brings the impact level to maximum. Another interesting finding is that the level of turnover days increased by 15%, and the reason for this is twofold: business systems are more complex, and ransomware attacks are more sophisticated. Ransomware should, therefore, be treated as a top priority threat.
Data breach threat has also increased by 7%, but unpaid ransomware isn’t the main reason. Instead, increased amounts of data were the primary factor in companies with more than 500 employees, as per our cyber landscape report. The data breach risk factor is serious enough to lose market positioning, and coupled with the high-regulation impact, the risk is raised to high.
User error is becoming a more common reason for data breaches, so companies should make sure they are protected not just from external but also internal threats.
The best way to deal with each of these threats can be thoroughly tested in Boardish so that CISOs and other cybersecurity professionals immediately see the effectiveness of solutions and present these in front of the board in financial terms.
In light of the latest data security climate, where a risk of a breach is higher than ever, it is of utmost importance to keep valuable data safe. Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection (AIP) helps in achieving this goal and it’s the solution we recommend.
Particularly when you consider that the UK average cost of a data breach is close to £2.87 million ($3.68 million) according to a recent report from the Ponemon Institute.
Azure Information Protection is a cloud-based data protection solution that keeps data safe through advanced encryption, identity, and authorisation policies.
Adopting AIP isn’t enough – you need to train your staff on how to use it properly. Newly accepted regulations like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), combined with concerns about what awaits the UK in terms of free data flow after Brexit, make data security an important aspect to every company, so it makes sense to invest into Azure Information Protection staff training.
Ensuring Your Employees Are ‘On Board’
Change is something many employees are not fond of, so getting them on board with Azure Information Protection Staff Training is the first thing to do before you begin with implementation and actual training.
When your employees are educated on GDPR and data breach consequences, they will become more engaged in Azure Information Protection staff training. Not being compliant and risking a breach could cost them their job because many businesses that suffer a major data breach never recover.
But, how do you do hold Azure Information Protection Staff Training?
Step #1 Educate on the Risks
Start by making your staff aware of the dangers of security breaches and just how little it takes for one to occur if data protection is lacking.
Step #2 Explain Their Role in Compliance & Data Protection
Many employees are not aware of just how important they actually are in keeping data safe. Start by explaining their role in the company security and compliance. Explain that whenever they send data – be it email or access to a folder – to somebody inside or outside of the company, it can be a security risk. The risk here is that often there are no resources that would monitor or restrict misuse of that shared data.
The most recent statistics included in IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report show that a staggering 27% of all data breaches that happened was caused by a human error – in other words, employee negligence was the cause.
Think about the following scenario: You are sending sensitive financial data to an outside partner. The partner is negligent and sends this confidential data to parties that should not have access to it. This constitutes a data breach.
Loss of personally identifiable information (PII) from customers and employees
Loss of intellectual property
Loss of financial information
Breach of data protection laws
Legal fines and claims
Step #3 Show Why Azure Information Protection is the Solution
Proper training will help reduce the risk of a data breach as a result of human error. Before you fully implement AIP, ensure your staff become familiar with all the features and that each department knows how to utilise its full potential.
Explain how Azure Information Protection works and how, when integrated, in the organisation it can help on an operational level.
Step #4 Show off Features They Can Use
During Azure Information Protection staff training, the focus should be on providing specific and detailed guidelines to each department. Present all the important features that AIP offers:
You Can Classify Your Data – AIP helps classify and label data based on how sensitive it is through a system of labels that automatically protect it once applied.
24/7 Protection – Once you classify data and protect it, it stays protected. AIP follows data and ensures it’s protected even when shared outside of your organisation or stored on an external device.
Track Data and Revoke Access – AIP helps you track what is happening to data you have shared, and in case it’s needed, you can easily revoke access.
Log and Report Support Compliance – Get access to powerful features that help analyse and monitor usage of data. The reporting feature helps maintain compliance with rules and regulations.
Safe Collaboration – Thanks to labeling and classification, you have complete control over who has access to data and how they can interact with it.
Microsoft Office Integration – AIP is integrated into MS Office so you can secure any document with a single click as well as automatically in the background.
Easy to Manage and Deploy – AIP works in the cloud and on-site equipment too.
Step #5 Make it Specific
Once done, provide each department with detailed guidelines and best practices for using AIP specifically for them. For example, teach your finance department staff on how to use AIP features like the Do Not Forward Button or Sensitivity Bar, or your marketing department on how to apply AIP labels and send data to external partners.
If you want to make your AIP staff training easier, we’ve created an Azure Information Protection Staff Training Course on The TowerWatch Academy.
Did you delete metadata on redacted documents the last time you sent them?
If not, it’s easy to see the original information if you know where to look and then you might as well not have redacted them at all! This doesn’t just apply to ‘Top Secret’ documents anymore, it also poses a problem under GDPR.
For example, it’s easier to redact personally identifiable information (PII) you don’t want to share when sending a document to third parties or externally. Rather than getting consent from each user or changing your document (or database) altogether.
Some people have been making mistakes. The ICO reported that in Q4, failure to redact data was one of the most common types of data security incidents. So, ultimately, if you don’t delete the metadata on redacted documents it can lead to a data breach! To remove the risk, it’s best to remove the metadata. Here’s how it’s done:
Delete Metadata on Redacted Documents in Word
Select and open the Word document you want to remove the data from.
Click on the “File” tab and select “Info” from the menu.
Choose “Check for Issues” and select all the data you want to check the document for:
Comments, revisions, and versions
Properties and personal information
Headers, footers, watermarks
Document server properties
Custom XML data
Click “Inspect” and review the results.
Choose “Remove all” to strip the document of metadata.
Delete Metadata on Redacted Documents in Excel
Select and open the Excel workbook you want to remove metadata from.
Select “File” > “Info” and under “Check for Issues” choose “Inspect document.”
Select the data you want to check:
Comments and annotations
Properties and Personal Information
Hidden rows and columns
Hidden worksheets and names
Custom XML data
External links and embedded files
Choose “Inspect” and review the results.
Select “Remove all” on each type of information you want to remove.
NOTE: If an Excel workbook was saved as a shared file, some information can’t be removed. This includes document properties, personal information, comments, annotations, headers, and footers. To remove these, you first have to unshare the workbook. Should you remove hidden rows and columns with data, this can affect calculations and formulas.
Delete Metadata For PDFs
Unfortunately, in the free version of Adobe, access to metadata is limited. So whilst you can view the properties, you can’t edit or remove them. To remove you’ll need a subscription to Adobe Acrobat XI or a specialist tool. But, here’s how to do it with an Adobe Acrobat XI license.
In Adobe Acrobat XI, locate the Tools panel in the top right corner.
Open the “Protection” tab and locate the “Hidden information” heading.
Select “Sanitize document” and click “OK.”
To choose what to delete, select the “Remove Hidden Information” option.
Name your file and click “Save.”
Delete Metadata on Redacted Documents in PowerPoint
Select and open the Powerpoint presentation you want free from metadata.
Under the “File” tab, go to “Info” > “Check for Issues” > “Inspect document”
Select the data you want to check:
Properties and personal information
Custom XML data
Off slide and invisible content
Click “Inspect” and wait for the results.
Click on “Remove all” on all the information you want gone.
Delete Photo Metadata
Okay, this one might be a bit of a stretch as far as GDPR is concerned, but we figured we might as well show you how to do this as well whilst we were here! Also note that you can access photo metadata if you’re adding it to a document, so you’ll need to remove it before adding to a redacted document.
Right-click the image file and go to “Properties.”
Go to the “Details” tab.
Select “Remove properties and personal information.”
Select which data you want to remove.
Although it might seem like a faff! Incorrectly or failing to redact documents properly will lead to data breaches. Particularly when sending files publicly! so, delete metadata on redacted files and you should reduce your risk significantly.
The hospitality industry is starting to embrace digital solutions, with hotels being in the forefront of the industry. Still, many hospitality businesses downplay their IT requirements. For instance, they are still reluctant to open their doors for IT managed service providers in hospitality.
Hotels, hostels, resorts, bars, and restaurants assume they will see no benefit from investing into IT. Their main argument being that they don’t have the time or money to hire and keep IT staff. This is where an IT managed service provider (MSP) can help.
So, here are some of the things, we deal with and take off the plate of our hospitality-based clients.
1. Be Your IT Supplier Liaison
Whether it’s an equipment failure that needs repairing or replacing, software and domain licenses that need renewing or simply negotiating the best deal for tech rentals (think printers etc.) we can help.
As a managed service provider, we act as the middleman when it comes to dealing with suppliers and 3rd parties to talk their lingo and get things sorted as quick as possible. It’s a time saver, and chances are we can save you money long-term with supplier agreements.
2. Provide 1st – 3rd Line Support
Many MSPs provide various stages of support, from 1st-3rd line. Whether you need on-site assistance or a dedicated number to call, your MSP should have it covered.
Unsure of the type of support you need?
In the case of minor IT issues, you can access 1st line support and talk to general help desk operators that will guide you through the troubleshooting process. Common 1st line issues are related to email passwords and account access.
For more complicated IT issues, 2nd line support takes over, for example, a non-critical issue with your equipment or tills.
3rd line is your specialists who are trained in your specific systems. They are often the most qualified and certified and deal with complex or emergency issues. For example, your POS system going offline during service.
3. IT Management
If you already have an IT team but are struggling to tie it together in your operations and strategy, an MSP can help here too. A hospitality IT managed service provider can deal with your entire IT infrastructure, or just part of it depending on what you need.
They will proactively monitor your IT operations, assess the current efficiency, and suggest improvements and integration options to ensure the highest uptime and optimal data flow between systems. So that you’re making the most sales and providing the best customer experience possible.
4. Backup Solutions
The hospitality sector handles vast amounts of data, and with the introduction of digitalisation and the internet of things (IoT), the amount of data will steadily increase. It includes everything from sensitive data and credit card information to info gathered from your guests and customers that helps you segment them. This allows you to follow the latest trends, and offer personalised experiences, all the way to complex automation operations.
IT managed service providers in hospitality will take proactive steps to ensure all your data is safe in case of system failure, power outage, or natural disaster by using a cloud-based backup and disaster recovery system. This system ensures you have access to your data at any time, no matter what circumstances. It’s a reliable solution that offers better safety and protection than you could set up in-house. Check with your MSP to see which backup vendors they partner with, for us, it’s Microsoft Azure.
5. Handle Wi-Fi Security
It is very common to find unsecured or badly secured networks in the hospitality sector. Many restaurants and bars have unsecured Wi-Fi or use the same Wi-Fi that they offer to their guests, which leaves them vulnerable to security threats, most notably hacking and data breaches. To ensure the highest security, your MSP will establish a secure Wi-Fi network throughout your entire establishment or chain that only your staff will have access to, with a fully separate POS network solution.
They can also ensure the protection of your customer data and improved experience by setting effective customer Wi-Fi.
6. Ensure Compliance
While compliance in hospitality is traditionally tied to things like food safety, IT systems bring about their own set of compliance regulations to be followed. Your MSP will ensure that your technology and software solutions are compliant with government regulations (like GDPR) by utilising secure systems like Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection. They can also help with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance for your POS systems.
7. Standardise Equipment
A very common practice for medium to large enterprises is to standardise equipment to reduce costs and make maintenance and upkeep easier. But, for smaller businesses, this isn’t often attempted, because people don’t know how.
Your IT managed service provider can standardise current systems as well as oversee purchases to make sure they really are necessary and compatible with your current systems. Having this in place will allow for better monitoring, applying updates and reducing response times.
8. Offer Cost-Effective Solutions For Better Customer Service
Your MSP is more than just IT support. They are IT professionals with specific knowledge of your industry that follow the latest trends. Their goal is to align with your goals and help you offer an amazing service to your customers. In hospitality specifically, your IT managed service provider can advise on ways to improve customer experience through technology, whether that’s free Wi-Fi or even marketing beacons.
9. Facilitate Expansions
When opening a new venue or location, your MSP can help fit in the IT seamlessly with your design plans so you can future proof your venue. From simple tasks like outlets and power supplies to the larger, more intricate technological planning, expanding to meet the same IT standards you have currently has never been easier. For example, we liaise with contractors and project managers during construction to make sure IT specifications and planned equipment are tailored to.
10. On-Site Upgrades
Whether your equipment is due an overhaul or you’re in need of repairs, your IT managed service provider can implement them on-site with minimal effect to your customers. Often they can work out of hours to deal with upgrades at less busy times, but if not, they understand how best to proceed with the least impact. Luckily, when you hire an MSP they normally have notifications and analytics to check to deal with these upgrades ahead of time before anything goes wrong. But, even if issues occur, they are dealt with easily and swiftly.
11. IT Budget Management
All businesses out there have a limited budget, and it can be hard to determine just how big the IT budget of a business in the hospitality sector should be. The industry average suggests around 2.5% of your turnover should be spent on technology, but this will vary depending on the type of business you have.
IT managed service providers in hospitality will assess your current situation and offer a detailed overview of where you can save money and how. This will most commonly include software and hardware standardisation across all your devices and establishments. Additionally, hiring an MSP for your IT requirements means that you will pay them a fixed monthly fee, which is considerably lower than paying for specific IT services when something breaks down, when you need a major overhaul of all systems or emergency fees when you need something done quickly (that could have been prevented.)
12. Meeting and Function Room Setup
Do you make income from function or meeting room rentals? Improve your technological capabilities, become an innovative location for events and not only provide a better experience, but charge more!
Your MSP will inspect your meeting and function rooms in detail and suggest the needed technology and software to implement so they are fully equipped for social gatherings, ceremonies, or conferences. They will also offer their services to the party that booked your meeting/function rooms and help with the setup.
13. On-Site Repair and Maintenance
While traditional IT services offer maintenance and repairs only when you request it, managed service providers conduct proactive monitoring. This helps them spot an issue early on before it becomes a much bigger problem. They will repair and maintain equipment on-site as soon as they detect issues to give faster turnarounds before it breaks completely.
This also means you don’t have to sit on hold to a helpdesk who try to explain how to do the fixes yourself! It just gets done!
14. New Software & Hardware Audits
An MSP will continuously research new software and hardware options to see if they are viable and relevant to your business. An MSP has the required industry and IT knowledge to assess new software and hardware and determine whether they would benefit you. Often times, restaurants and other key players from the hospitality industry opt for solutions that might be a good fit for their needs but are not compatible with their current systems. An MSP will ensure that the tech solution you choose is compatible and won’t cause major disruptions during or after implementation.
15. IT Consultancy
Some IT managed service providers in hospitality won’t include consultancy, but we do. From consulting on IT equipment and device policies, to making innovative improvements to your security or processes that ultimately help you make money!
All of these tasks aim to improve your customer service and ability to sell to customers or maintain that relationship. Technology is overlooked in the IT indsutry, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.
Until now, Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection (AIP) has been an enterprise level IT solution for the big brands and businesses. So, you may not have even heard of it! But, its tools are perfect for small businesses and allows you to get AUTOMATIC file and email encryption that is easy to use, and affordable.
Let’s look at why you should be looking at this solution for your small business, how you can use it and what it can do for you:
Why do I Need File Protection?
We could advocate for file protection but it’s easier just to show you, here’s how easy it is to gain access to your sensitive data if you don’t have file protection:
The solution to this? We recommend, Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection (AIP)
Update: 23/09/20 – Microsoft’s AIP has actually been upgraded to MIP, with a few extra features. This article is still relevant and if you scroll to the bottom you can see a demo of a recent project we just completed on how it looks in action.
What is Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection?
It’s an excellent cloud-based file and email encryption solution that allows you to create certain ‘rules’ to protect your files and emails automatically.
What Does This Entail?
Although it’s also an excellent option for smaller businesses because it offers unique cyber security features which make GDPR complianceeasy and seamless, you can’t really “figure it out” as you go.
It’s not as simple as downloading a piece of software. There’s a little more to it than that. But, once you know how, it’s our recommendation for keeping your company, files and emails protected. The installation looks a little like this:
Although only roughly 5% of your data is sensitive, you still need to protect it and in order to do so, you need to understand what it is, where it is and how you handle it.
This is the easy part (if you know what you’re doing) and is a simple installation of the AIP client onto all of the machines/servers that you want to have automatic encryption capabilities.
This is all about tweaking your settings to match your usage based on what you’re using your protection for in your business.
So, How Can I Do It Myself?
We originally created an AIP course (you can still take the legacy course HERE.) However since the update to MIP (Microsoft Information Protection) there’s a lot more backend setup, licensing crossovers, and implementation that just make this a project that is really tricky.
If you get it wrong you can accidentally encrypt and lock yourself out of all of your data, and to be honest, we don’t recommend doing this.
We still want to make MIP accessible for SMEs so we offer a half hour consulting option to give you the best tailored advice on what forms of protection are best for you, and then we can help you set up MIP if it’s suitable.
Don’t shy away from technology in your business! It’s time to get acquainted with some of the best software and tech solutions for small businesses at the moment.
1. Encrypt emails for free with My Protected Mail
Of course we’re going to start with one of our own products! The introduction of GDPR has placed a renewed emphasis on email security. All small businesses have a duty to protect the data of their customers, clients, and employees. A reliable, straightforward way to protect data sent electronically is to use encryption.
Encrypted emails can only be viewed by the sender and specified receivers; they are protected from interception, even when an email is forwarded.
My Protected Mail is a tech solutions for small businesses that does this for free. There’s no software to install; simply send your email to a dedicated mailbox, and the platform will issue a Microsoft Protected Email that can be accessed only by the intended recipient. There’s also scope to add enhanced features for a reasonable monthly fee for developers to encrypt web portal or app communication. Try My Protected Mail here.
2. Defend your business from online attacks with Acronis Ransomware Protection
Ransomware attacks, in which malicious software blocks access to devices with the aim of extorting money from the owner, can completely devastate a small business. Not to mention the risk of a data breach. It’s critically important to proactively prepare; you can find out more by clicking here.
Ransomware protection software mitigates this risk, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth! Acronis Ransomware Protection monitors suspicious behaviour, blocks malicious applications, encrypts files, and recovers damaged data; all for free.
3. Organise every aspect of your business with Asana
Asana is a project management platform that helps your entire team to stay organised and efficient. It allows you to create projects and tasks, assign team members, set deadlines, allocate documents, run reports, and myriad other jobs. It’s suitable for use on computers and mobile devices; even when travelling, you can keep on top of your business!
Asana also interacts seamlessly with 100 other platforms, helping to manage emails, files, calendars, workflows, and dozens of other tasks from one place, simplifying your business processes.
4. Take storage to the cloud!
Cloud-based storage has proven itself to be a reliable and economical alternative to traditional hard drives and servers. The key benefits to small businesses include cost-effectiveness, automatic backup and recovery, remote accessibility from all devices, and no ongoing server maintenance.
There are countless services to choose from, but our favourites are Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive. All have common features, such as free storage (although the amount varies; 2GB for Dropbox, 5GB for OneDrive, and a whopping 15GB for Google Drive), document collaboration, link sharing, and file privacy. You can also upgrade to a monthly plan for expanded storage.
5. Automatically guard sensitive information with Azure Information Protection
Azure Information Protection (AIP) from Microsoft is a cloud-based tech solutions for small businesses that automatically encrypts emails and files. The system is managed across all Office applications using labels, which are configured to detect sensitive data and protect it. For example, if a credit card number is entered into an Excel spreadsheet, a rule can be set up to prompt the user to protect the information automatically.
6. Bring the team together with Zoom video conferencing
No matter how scattered your team is, video conferencing fosters the collaborative spirit that can otherwise be absent when working remotely. You needn’t be together to succeed together.
Zoom is a complete video conferencing service that includes high-definition online meetings, webinars, instant messaging, document sharing, whiteboards, virtual breakout rooms, calendar integration, and analytic data for meeting organisers. It can be accessed from computers and smart devices; so travelling team members can still participate!
There’s a free version of this tech solutions for small businesses with essential functionality that may be suitable for some small businesses, or there are monthly packages that include expanded features.
7. Protect your business with ESET antivirus
Malware attacks can be extremely disruptive to small businesses; leading to potential loss of files, equipment, and revenue. A high-quality antivirus is therefore essential.
ESET has a strong reputation for keeping computer equipment safe from malware, including viruses, ransomware, rootkits, worms and spyware. It’s easy to use, low in power-consumption, and backed by 30 years of experience and 110 million global users. A free trial is available, with the full version priced from £29.99 per year for one user.
8. Clean up your computer with MyDefrag
When we create files on a computer, they are broken up by a process called fragmentation; this is completely normal, and helps files to fit on a hard disk. However, repeated fragmentation makes reading and writing files a chore for your computer. Defragmentation is essentially a spring clean; a process that puts files back together, boosting your computer’s onward performance.
Windows comes with a built-in defragmentation program, but there are more efficient alternatives. MyDefrag is the best of the bunch; it works quickly and can accommodate external storage. Ultimately, this nifty little program helps your business to avoid slow equipment, repairs, and replacements. For more ways to speed up your computer’s performance, check out our free course here.
9. Cut your phone costs with VoIP
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is the technology that facilitates phone calls via the internet. It’s cheaper to make calls by VoIP than a standard landline, and you’ll notice a huge improvement in sound clarity.
The best VoIP service for small businesses in the UK is VoipFone; it’s easy to set up, with excellent customer support, reasonable prices, and a free trial. Global businesses looking for similar features are recommended to try Ring Central or Vonage.
10. Keep on top of your finances with online invoicing
Invoicing is a critical aspect of small business management; online solutions make the process efficient by collating due payments, generating invoices, sending them, and overseeing the collection process.
Invoices contain sensitive information, so it’s important to work only with a trusted platform. Check out this post to find out how small businesses should protect their financial security when using online invoicing.
The most reputable platforms are Freshbooks, Due, Invoicera, And Co. and Harvest. All have at least one free option, whether a trial or essential version, and each has paid subscriptions, which vary in price according to the features you need.
Need help with your IT or tech solutions for small businesses or have a question on software to suit your small business? Join our free support community here.
If you want to protect the personal data that you send and reduce the risk of a breach, you’ll want to encrypt your emails or use an email encryption service! Did you know that you can send encrypted emails without installing anything?
Everyone has recently come out of the woodwork to discuss how they can help keep you safe from GDPR cyber security vulnerabilities and threats due to the looming deadline.
But, for most of them, it’s just theory.
After all, GDPR doesn’t become enforceable until May which leaves some room for them to figure it out as they go. With this in mind, we wanted to set ourselves apart and show we know EXACTLY what we are talking about because we have ALREADY DONE IT. By already implementing several successful projects to protect our clients, not just for the sake of GDPR, but for the increasing amount of cyber security threats.
Our Case Study
But don’t take our word for it. That’s why we have created a case study to look specifically at the GDPR cyber security vulnerabilities we have detected in the hospitality industry while implementing IT solutions and GDPR protections. We look at two different cases, a small-to-medium and medium sized organisation and the solution for protecting from internal and external cyber security threats in line with GDPR. Are we giving away our secret formula? No. But, it should give you an indicator of the vulnerabilities to look for to see if you have the protection you think you do.
We are going to answer the common question on why IT management is essential for the hospitality sector because it is one that is frequently asked! Simply put, the hospitality industry needs IT management. Firstly, you need to remove the mindset that IT needs are exclusively in an office environment and consider the technology used to run a business in the hospitality industry. From restaurants to theme parks, the dependence on technology is increasing and therefore so does your need for IT management, for example, let’s look at the amount of technology used in a restaurant and set aside the service element for a second, you have:
EPOS (Electronic Point Of Sale)
Databases with staff and client information
Ordering systems (for customers)
Stock ordering and management (in-house)
Tablet managements system
And this doesn’t even consider the advancement of technology such as smartphone payments, new apps and ongoing changes in security regulations. A business in the hospitality industry is still a business and needs to be treated as such because the industry as a whole is years behind on tech, partly because what is available it isn’t managed or maintained. This is where an IT manager comes in and here’s a few of the things they do to prove why you need them:
Whether it’s customer data, sensitive documents and emails or your employee databases, your information needs to be kept secure and changing your passwords regularly won’t cut it (although it’s an excellent place to start. With the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) legislation coming into effect, your business can face massive fines regardless of whether you are in finance or hospitality, you have a responsibility to keep data secure. An IT manager can provide safety protocols and security measures to safeguard your data as well as train you and your staff on how to avoid lapses in security for the business. Technology is advancing and your security needs to go with it.
Project Management & Installation
Thinking of expanding, having a site overhaul or changing the way your business looks? We can help with the technology side to liaise with the project managers so that you can still provide the service in the aesthetic that you like. Doing this during the building phases helps to minimise disruption to your business and makes sure that you don’t have any lapses or poor technology issues which can look bad to customers. An extension is great but if your free Wi-Fi doesn’t reach outside anymore your patrons aren’t going to be happy.
An IT manager knows when it is time to upgrade and what you should upgrade to and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive or newest products. Stability and performance are the two key factors we aim to combine and with our insider knowledge we know what is going to work and what software or hardware hasn’t quite worked out the kinks.
The hospitality industry tends to require multi-tasking as processing are different than a standard office, you need day-to-day maintenance and checks as well as someone being on hand to deal with issues that arise. While your go-to IT person can handle some of the problems, you can’t expect them to handle multiple sites and locations as well as any projects, upgrades, repairs and installations all by themselves!
Quicker Resolutions Of Problems
Knowing who to talk to can get a job done quickly and right! Have you ever been passed around from one department to another trying to get support, with everyone claiming nothing is their fault? Cut out the middle man and let us do it for you, not only can an IT manager discuss and organise on your behalf but they also have the contacts to get things resolved swiftly (and escalate problems properly that aren’t getting fixed) This solves problems in half the time and allows you to focus on the other important aspects of running a business.
Translate Tech jargon
Those error messages that you don’t understand, we do! We know what they mean and how to resolve them as well as what’s normal and when to start panicking! Technical language can be confusing and with our knowledge we can provide the translation and help make it easier for users to understand, removing the “fear” of something going wrong.
Back Up Solutions
Have you ever been writing a document, your computer freezes and you have to restart it, then you remember you haven’t clicked save for about half an hour? Imagine this on a larger scale. Sometimes things go wrong, it’s a fact of technology but an IT manager can help provide regular back-ups to ensure you and your employee’s data is safe. We make sure that redundancies are in place so that there is minimal disruption when restoring information and everything is backed up. We offer cloud based solutions which we feel are the most flexible, secure and effective (as well as quick and easy to restore to get you back up and running in the event of a failure.)
Let us teach your staff how to use their technology in the most effective way, from shortcuts to user-guides, IT management aims to create a unified relationship between user and technology so you are using it to its fullest potential for your business. Knowledgeable staff are able to cope with problems without panicking as well as knowing what to do in basic situations and when to call the experts, think first aid training for computers. A handy skillset for your employees.
Ultimately, IT management can streamline processes, boost productivity and improve customer service in the hospitality industry and at the end of the day, it’s the service that matters. For these reasons, hospitality industry needs IT management.
If you’re in the hospitality industry and want more info on what our IT managers can do for you, visit our list of services or get in contact.
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