Too Big to Know

Michael Anderson IT Best Practices

My summer reading this year included the book ‘Too big to know’ by David Weinberger. In it, he talks about the explosion of information, and the elimination of editorial filters that used to help us find valuable information and facts, and sift through the clutter of opinions and unsupported claims.

Weinberger explains that in the Internet age, publishing is essentially free, everyone’s an ‘expert’, and there’s more knowledge than ever. We need new ways to process information in a world that is ‘too big to know’.

Information overload is also a challenge faced by business owners. Often, figuring out what to know (and what to ignore) is the most difficult part. When it comes to technology, it is easy for owners and executives to get bogged down in the details. The day-to-day operation of a business network can generate a significant amount of noise, and overshadow critical strategic information about the company’s technology.

So – here’s my list of 3 things every business owner must know about their technology. If you don’t have the answers, get them. Your business cannot afford for you not to know this.

1. Our Backups
When do they happen (frequency), how long are they stored (retention)
What is included in the backup set (full server images or just files and folders? )
Where is the backed up data stored? External drives, data centre? If drives or tapes are taken offsite, whose responsibility is this? Is it happening?
How are restores tested? How often?

2. Our Security

What is our most sensitive company information? (Financials, client records, etc.)
Who has access to this?
How is access granted or removed? (Change control process)
What is our password policy? (Complexity, Expiry)

3. Our systems

Which systems/applications do we define as mission-critical?
What failover / disaster recovery plans are in place for these systems?
What is the maximum downtime for these systems under our current configuration?

Finding the answers to these questions might take some digging, but won’t require any advanced technical knowledge. Most importantly, you’ll have cut through the noise to find the important information about your company’s network. If you need help, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.