December 18, 2017 Stewart Marshall

Getting Your Priorities Right

It’s been a good week for the IT security business. It seems that some of the modern world was held hostage by a group of hackers who apparently made very little considering the trouble they caused by unleashing some ransomeware on the unsuspecting masses.

The vast majority of the commentary on this subject has been about the need for business to ensure that they have up to date virus software, proper backups and all the other good, sensible stuff that business should be doing.

Once Bitten?

The Conversation had an interesting piece about how it is that the malware was able to gain traction, particularly in light of the fact that Microsoft patched the vulnerability a couple of months ago. The long and the short of it is that users very often don’t want to restart their machines and when confronted by a number of updates, some of which aren’t flagged as being critical, they tend to be even less enthusiastic.

This lack of interest in updating machines goes hand in hand with a majority of users having a negative reaction when the prospect of upgrades is mentioned.

Once bitten, twice shy perhaps?

Positive Mental Attitude

What’s missing in much of the narrative, The Conversation notwithstanding, is a failure to address the larger subject matter of the behaviour of organisations when it comes to updates.

The Conversation says,

“computer companies must try to convince us – and we must convince ourselves – that updates are important.”

Amen!

But we need to go further than that. Computers, while no different in practical terms to a chef’s knives or a truck used for deliveries, are rarely thought of as tools of the trade. All too often they’re though of as a necessary burden, a cost, a metaphorical ball and chain that one is forced to drag around while going about one’s job.

Look After Kit and Your Kit Will Look After You

What business needs to remember is that IT systems are a critical facet of corporate infrastructure, tools that are fundamental to the success of an organisation.

A chef will sharpen his knife the moment it becomes dull. The kitchen will be cleaned after each service, and fridges and stoves are maintained regularly. A delivery company will ensure that its fleet of vehicles is clean, well serviced and roadworthy. Even aircraft are out of service every once in a while.

So why would anyone let computers be updated when the end user deems it appropriate?

A Little Fat in the System

It is utterly unreasonable for you to expect your IT systems to just keep running without any maintenance schedule and without any interruptions. Such a dream is just that; a dream.

So make sure you factor in the costs of having machines down for a short while as and when is necessary. Build sufficient fat in to your systems so that users don’t feel obliged to keep working. Encourage your users to look after their PC and actively encourage them, or even force them to install updates, regardless of the time it will take.

It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.


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