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  • Writer's pictureMatt Ferguson

Reckoning: Ransomware

In the information tech service industry, things break, constantly. As an IT manager, yours is a Sisyphaen task; during any given day, you’re responsible for keeping many plates spinning. From a customer’s perspective, it probably looks like you’re not doing anything until something breaks. When it breaks, you’re not working fast enough to fix it.

This reality has been made more complex as the business world adopts the “everything-as-a-service” model for its IT needs. With an unseen litany of interlocking pieces that must work together day in and day out, it’s not surprising that when things go wrong within your infrastructure or across the broader internetworked world, the solutions may not be fast, cheap, or easy.

In the early days of the Internet, there was no cloud–not in the sense that we understand it today, at least. The mainframe/dumb terminal paradigm was still in force (having since been rebranded as the server/thin-client paradigm) and resources were highly localized: when something broke, you had an on-site IT staff to deal with it. Businesses still leverage on-site engineers and technicians to keep their infrastructure running, but it’s no secret that the amount of stuff they have to manage at a physical location has dwindled over the last two decades, in particular.

Does this then spell the end of on-site sysadmins and network engineers? Hardly. If anything, while the venues have shifted, the workload of the typical IT employee hasn’t dwindled.

With technologies in the networking world such as SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking), IT providers are more able to do their work without being on-site. As you might imagine, reducing the number of IT people who need to be on-site at any given time reduces your costs as a business owner.

As cloud management capabilities continue to grow in scope and performance, the idea of on-site anything seems at first glance outdated and rather technologically quaint. This is true, to some extent. A small business owner doesn’t need a 42U rack of servers and routers roaring away in their back office. A florist doesn’t need a dual-socket workstation with loads of memory to do their daily business. The fact is most businesses have become more reliant on technology and the Internet to process transactions, order from suppliers, reach clients, monitor inventory and so on. This has pointedly emphasized the need for competent IT service providers.

If you think you can’t budget for managed IT services, or if you consider your current spending on IT services too large already, we at Geek Housecalls would love a half hour or so of your day to change your thinking and reduce both your IT costs and complexity. IT audits generally reveal that the average small business owner is paying for redundant cloud services, software licenses they don’t need, hardware that’s totally out of spec for what their employees do.

As more of what we do and rely on moves to the cloud, our data counterintuitively becomes harder to manage. Our digital footprints grow and become harder to secure. Technologies like password-based authentication have fallen out of favor as security threats grow more sophisticated and ransomware poses a serious risk to businesses of all sizes. An entire industry has grown up around information security alone, and for good reason: the average cost of recovering from a ransomware attack reached nearly $2 million in 2021, according to research done by Sophos. These numbers are potentially debilitating for a small business.

The landscape has changed, for better and for worse. By all metrics, information security should be top of mind for individuals and business owners. A single security incident could bring about disastrous results; the implications become more grim when sensitive or personally-identifying information is lost, such as HIPAA-protected medical records, payroll, or tax records.

In partnership with Sophos and other leading security solutions providers, Geek Housecalls is here to help you run your business with the peace of mind you deserve.

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