Holiday pro tips for achieving IT continuity

December 8, 20174 Minute Read

As if December isn’t stressful enough, monitoring holiday connectivity can feel like an uphill battle. IT professionals have even referred to it as the nightmare before Christmas. The best gift IT can give for Friendsgiving in the office? The peace of mind that comes with staying securely connected during the wintry season.

Even if you’re lucky enough to have time off down on paper, many IT pros are well aware that Murphy’s law operates at double time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. One of the most well-publicized instances of this was Amazon’s 2016 shopping cart glitch, when downed systems caused everything customers put in their cart to show up as unavailable when they went to make a purchase.

While you hopefully won’t experience a holiday tech disaster of similar scale, planning to stay connected and productive over the holidays can ensure your phone stays inside your suit pocket during your family’s holiday dinner. Join us as we review sharing tools, services, and the smartest network monitoring resources for business, so you can set your mind at ease and go home for Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, or Festivus without a worry.

Holiday pro tip 1: Continuous collaboration

The only thing worse than working on a holiday is doing unnecessary work on a holiday—but if you can’t get in touch with your coworker, how can you deal with that impending deadline and their radio silence? As your IT colleagues and peers in other parts of the company head toward family and friends, how can you ensure there aren’t any communication breakdowns?

The week before your coworkers fly to a different time zone isn’t the right time to implement anything complex or with a steep learning curve, like an enterprise social media network. Instead, focus on flexible, mobile-optimized tools even your least tech-savvy peers can quickly adopt. Depending on your organization’s needs and project goals, you may choose to consider solutions for:

  • Real-time communication: Mobile-accessible, real-time chat applications, like Slack, can keep project communications centralized, instead of buried in an inbox.
  • Simple project management: If you’re not already using a centralized portal for deadline management and assigning projects for approval, a lightweight project management technology, like Trello, can clearly show the status of deliverables without too much distraction.
  • Coordination: If your colleagues are working entire days remotely, the simplest way to stay in touch is with GoToMeeting or another videoconferencing tool. Too many time zones to plan a real-time meeting? Consider a shared whiteboard app.

Holiday pro tip 2: Sharing is caring

Not to sound overly negative, but information-sharing via email is a recipe for the worst holiday season ever. Imagine the potential consequences if Mary in accounting emails over a spreadsheet packed with personal identifying information (PII) on your customers, and then lets her bored niece play with her phone. Non-compliant doesn’t even begin to describe it.

For smaller organizations who haven’t invested in app containerization or other methods of advanced mobile security, providing a way for your colleagues to share documents securely is critical. Some chat solutions offer in-app secure document sharing, while options like SmartVault are simple to pick up quickly.

Holiday pro tip 3: Mitigate disasters with network monitoring

The only thing worse than the recent WannaCry and Petya attacks is one coinciding with your week off work. But we live in a world where a rogue group of script kiddies could very well decide to launch a botnet against your internet performance provider on New Year’s Eve. How would such an attack impact your colleagues and customers?

Today’s security climate demands security pros batten down the hatches on their IT endpoints. If you haven’t updated default credentials on your connected devices or invested in printers and other firmware with built-in security, your technology could be infected with malware at the worst possible time.

Gaining the ability to remotely monitor your network’s performance can ensure your hardworking colleagues are able to continue collaborating and sharing, while your customers can also get what they need. With a tool like file integrity monitoring software or intrusion detection, you can remotely detect negative changes to your network’s performance. If you can reverse changes and respond to attacks quickly from grandma’s kitchen table while eating trifle and Nanaimo bars, that’s even better.

Will there ever be a year when IT pros don’t have to sit on the edge of their seat while their cousins open presents, waiting for a technological disaster at the office? It’s certainly possible, and we can wish for it in future holiday seasons to come. In the meantime, ensuring you’ve got the right tools in place for holiday connectivity is the next best thing. Planning for your colleagues to communicate and share information securely while you keep an eye on the network is critically important.

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