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Four Ottawa Workplace IT Disasters You Can Prevent.

Posted on Monday, October 16, 2017 and filed under

Planning for a workplace disaster is about more than risk management in the face of natural disasters, many of which aren’t as likely in Ottawa as they are in other parts of the world.

Disaster planning is about preparing for business continuity in the face of anything that could go terribly wrong at work and then working to secure your business from being affected in the first place. If your business relies on computer systems to operate, then information technology needs to be part of this plan.

Unfortunately, many business owners see IT services and system maintenance as a capital expense, meaning this element of risk management often takes a hit when budgets need to shrink or don’t have space to grow, which makes companies more vulnerable to disaster in the first place.

A look at Ottawa’s recent history shows why it is critical for local business owners to take preventative action when it comes to risk management and business continuity planning.

September 2017 —  A major storm knocks out power to thousands of customers

When the power goes out, anything requiring electricity goes down, which can result in computer system downtime and lost productivity.

It is possible, though, to backup your entire computer system and re-connect to it using backup devices from somewhere that has power so that you can keep business going.

The trick here is to backup to somewhere offsite, preferably in a location powered by backup generators or in a different geographic location than you.

April 2017 — Cellphone trackers are at work near Parliament Hill

The Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) discovered IMSI catchers in Ottawa’s downtown core, which are devices used to spy on cellphone traffic that can be used to read your text messages or listen in on your calls. The cost to do something like this ranges from upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars for sophisticated systems down the thousands, perhaps less, for DIY setups.

The point is, it is possible for your business phone conversations and text messages to be intercepted. And protecting your business means protecting the sensitive information you share while using connected devices.

Encrypted messengers and encrypted calling apps are a good way to safeguard your business information from slipping into the hands of unscrupulous competitors. Enterprise-grade solutions are available too. What you choose will depend on the nature of your business. But planning for the security of your communications and implementing workplace policies that support this manages risk.

November 2016 — Carleton University is hit by Ransomware

Ransomware is a kind of cyber attack that locks down all of the files within your computer network and demands that you pay money to cyber criminals to get them back — something that has demolished businesses around the world or slowed them considerably.

The university wasn’t the only Ottawa organization to suffer a ransomware attack in the last year. It was, however, able to carry on and refrain from paying the ransom to restore its files. Check out this article to learn how you can do the same.

May 2017 — The CRA Fires Eight Employees for Breaching Confidential Data

The top threats to your internal IT systems are the people who work within your organization or have access to your system — insiders. Threats range from the disgruntled employee who erases or steals sensitive business data, to people who can view or edit things they shouldn’t, through to those who don’t keep up with security best practices or make human errors that compromise your network.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) said this Spring that it fired eight of its employees for violating taxpayer privacy by accessing financial information they shouldn’t have. This breach had the potential to cause serious harm to those affected.

Controlling who has access to information within a network is a critical component of risk management.

This is why NeoLore Networks is hosting a seminar for Small and Medium Sized Businesses in Ottawa — to help business owners and leaders address their most pressing IT risks and plan for continuity in the face of a workplace disaster.

Want to know what you’re losses would be in the face of a workplace disaster? Check out this tool.

Sign up here to attend the free seminar.

Author Jim Stackhouse is the founder and president of NeoLore Networks Inc., an Ottawa-based technology services company that designs, implements, manages and maintains computer networks for small and medium sized businesses.