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Black Friday – Get your IT in order

In the final part of our Black Friday series we share some IT related tips to help get your business prepared. We’ll be covering everything from your IT infrastructure, Disaster recovery, SQL and much more.

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been doling out tips and tricks for businesses to prepare for Black Friday. If you’re struggling to tackle to complexities of getting your marketing together, then this blog is exactly what you need. It has everything you need to start creating a winning marketing plan.

In this piece, we’ll be looking at the underlying infrastructure that drives it all – your IT.

You should pay attention to your IT Infrastructure

Often forgot about, your IT infrastructure is a key part of your business. It drives all of your systems, emails and even your ability to function as a business.

You need to protect and safeguard your IT infrastructure. Outages can cost your business valuable money and time. An outage during a key trading period like Black Friday has the potential to cripple your business. Outages like the one that affected Amazon in 2012 cost them $66,240 a minute. It was down for 30 minutes, which was about $2 million of their net sales at the time.

Prevention is always better than cure

In the case of your IT infrastructure, pre-emptive measures are far better than tackling the issue as it arises. It’ll save you time, money and resources trying to fix the issue.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Disaster Recovery – An emergency process designed to protect your business and to ensure continuity in the event of catastrophic criteria being met. Traditionally they’re multi-faceted and cover everything from natural disasters equipment loss and failure, to data loss scenarios. They spring into action when disaster strikes.
  • Get a backup plan (For your data!) – Alongside your disaster recovery strategy, you should also take action to protect and maintain your data. There are numerous ways to backup your data. You can utilise cloud backups, on premise backups or even combine the two.

Beef up your security

Security breaches are bad for people and bad for business. Last year, TalkTalk suffered the largest data breach recorded in history. A group of hackers used a SQL Injection attack to steal the personal data of 156,959 customers. As a consequence TalkTalk were fined £400,000 by ICO. TalkTalk have said the attack has cost them 101,000 subscribers and £42m.

The consequences for TalkTalk have cost them dearly. Limiting the opportunity for any sort of security breach is key for your business, and during high profile events like Black Friday, you’ll need to work even harder to prevent breaches from occurring.

Here are our top 5 tips:

  • #1 – Passwords – Practice good password management. Use a strong mix of characters, and don’t use the same password for multiple sites. Don’t share your password with others and definitely don’t write it down.
  • #2 – Invest in the latest security technologies – Encryption, email security, internet security, anti-virus and firewalls – you’ve heard of them all. And they’re all necessary to keep your business safe and secure and should be employed in tandem with one-another as well as looking to get your business Cyber Security Certified.
  • #3 – Keep an eye on your devices – Never leave any of your devices unattended. Whether that’s mobile, tablet or computer – make sure they’re locked at all times. The same goes for USB hard drives or memory sticks.
  • #4 – Be careful what you plug into your computer – Malware and viruses can be spread through infected USB drives, external hard drives etc. So screen what you plug in and be cautious.
  • #5 – Security Awareness Training – It’s well and good having the latest technologies to protect your business. But what about the people behind them? Alarmingly 95% of all security incidents involve human error according to IBM’s Cyber Security Index. Before firing all of your staff, think about the threats you face on an almost daily basis? Hackers are finding increasingly smarter ways to dupe unsuspecting victims. Security awareness training aims to teach people what to do in everyday scenarios to minimise breaches and hacks.

Get your IT fully managed

There are a whole bunch of reasons to outsource your IT and Black Friday highlights the importance of getting all of your IT in order.  In a nutshell, Managed IT empowers small businesses with the IT infrastructure of an enterprise class organisation – and it’s available at a fraction of the cost.

You’ll be spending lots of cash to purchase new equipment, software and training for your IT team. Managed IT away takes the stress and worry of all of these issues and much, much more. Our managed IT blog covers the benefits of Managed IT in more detail. It’s definitely worth a read!

Take to the cloud              

The cloud isn’t a gimmick; the benefits are real – and it can really help a business looking to remain competitive during peak trading periods like Black Friday.

The cloud revolves around boosting organisational productivity, efficiency and collaboration across everything your business does. Sounds interesting, right? Read our Cloud Myths blog to find out more.

What next?

This concludes our Black Friday 2016 series. We hope you’ve learned some valuable lessons to help you plan for future Black Friday activities. But it doesn’t stop here. Cyber Monday is approaching – And all of the lessons you’ve learned here will help to manage your promotional activity during that period.

Is there anything else you’ve learned about Black Friday? Put your thoughts into our comments section below.