It’s possible that I don’t need to say another word about cyber security. As many as four popular tv entertainment series have aired episodes built around ransomware, identity theft or similar threats, all within few weeks. Couple that with the fact that every newscast seems to include some mention of an online danger, and it’s looking like fear-of-hacking has gone mainstream.

If so, good deal. Because I hate to nag. When TailWinds first started, the owners encouraged us to adhere to a policy of “not scaring the pants off folks”. But, it quickly became clear that all business owners and managers needed to be more aware of these threats, because both the number of threats and their severity were growing. So, we had to do our part to try to prevent more of you from being hit.  And, yes, it helped. So many of you have told us that having a partner in the cybersecurity battle is key. But, if I can leave the warnings of dire cyberthreat to the larger media, I’m glad to do so.

What I do want to tell you about are some other issues. There’s no crime involved, but the danger is just as real, and should be on your radar.

Tales of two storage drives

Some incidents are related to security because they’re also “scary”, and because the solutions are similar, even when there’s no attempted cybercrime, no hacking. Recently, for instance, a children’s health organization and a large old engineering firm contacted us with essentially the same problem. They had both deleted essential, irreplaceable data. Human error has always been the biggest threat to a company’s information and (at least until AI really takes over) it always will be. The children’s health organization, dependent on charitable donations, had wiped its database of donors and volunteers. Not just contact information, but also history of donations. Can you imagine how critical that information is to their fundraising efforts? The engineering firm had lost every CAD drawing of every project over several years. Of course, because large parts of many projects could be reused in new projects, this was devastating for them. Sad stories, huh? Oh, wait… I didn’t mention that these guys were our clients, did I? So, their information was entirely safe, and ready to go again in minutes. But you see how that is, right? It doesn’t take a fire, a flood, or a hacker to threaten your business. It could be you. Or your favorite employee.

And another happy ending

A few of our guys had been on-site at one of our large clients, helping with some special equipment setup. This client was preparing for a large proposal presentation to their largest client the following morning, and it wasn’t just a Power Point. Information had to be pulled from diverse areas of their systems and displayed on screen, so, no network glitches allowed.

At 5 a.m., our remote monitoring system sent an alert to one of our systems engineers. That’s not unusual. This system watches our clients’ networks 24/7, and detects any potential issue. The system can fix some things unassisted, but if it thinks a human is required, it sends an alert. And… it’s our client, mentioned above, and it’s now four hours until presentation time. The admin sees exactly where the alert originates, and finds that connection to a server is lost. This could be corrected online, and all was well in a matter of minutes. The presentation will be technically perfect. And unless it’s in their next technical review, our client will never know a big problem was avoided.

You really, really, want to be local

What if the problem at 5 a.m. was not electronic? What if it was marsupial? Or rodent? Here’s the thing: No matter how many wireless connections we make, electricity is still necessary. And no matter how urban a location in the ‘Ham, there will be squirrel and there will be possum.  We really don’t know which type of critter destroyed the connection to a power source for a client recently, nor how whatever-it-was got to such an inaccessible location. Run every wire in the south through a metal conduit? Maybe. Yes, we went on-site and promptly found the problem, but this client did not have to wait for the travel time and the repair. Take note, because this is a major miracle of new technology.  If it is important that your server, or your entire network, is available 99% of the time, you can have that now. If changes need to be backed up every 15 minutes, you can have that now. True, for most businesses, requirements aren’t so steep, but it’s a lifesaver for those who really need it.

And maybe the best part:

So, what’s as good as all the peace of mind discussed here? How about the fact that it’s not out of your reach? Not very long ago, the computing power and storage, the security, the online speed, the communication options, all the technology options that our clients now enjoy every day, if they existed at all, were too pricey for all but really big enterprise. It’s not that way anymore, and there are many more solutions that become even more efficient as time goes on.

If you think about how huge and heavy the equipment was in the past, it’s a good analogy. Those big machines were barely communicative, prone to irrevocable crash, needed a tremendous amount of human intervention, and were very expensive. Now you can shrink all of that down to the size of a phone or maybe a Surface, and the new technology is also highly integrated, stable, and needs very little maintenance. When it’s done right, the minutes, cost and worry saved with current business tech add up to create greater business performance. Meaning? Yes, IT contributes to the bottom line.

There’s still a carnival of false promises made by tech vendors, craving your attention (and ours!), so we do have to study continually, choose carefully and test rigorously. But that’s what we do, and it looks like tech benefits for business will keep on growing!

Get in touch and tell us about your business: (205) 332-1600