Prepare Your IT for the Holiday Season
We all know about the Grinch who ruins Christmas for Whoville. Don't cast IT as the Grinch of this holiday season. Prepare your technology and systems to reduce downtime risk. You'll avoid disrupting your customers' holiday season or employees' seasonal fun.
Update and upgrade IT
Expecting an uptick in online shopping for the holidays? Apply system updates ahead of time. You'll want to complete any hardware or software upgrades early to avoid unplanned downtime.
Test your technology infrastructure to ensure that it can handle more traffic. Review system integrations to make sure front- and back-ends can communicate smoothly. Identify any issues or bottlenecks in advance to be able to upgrade or update any IT that needs help.
One in three customers will leave a beloved brand after one negative experience, per PwC. You don't want to risk a downed website or other IT challenges. Even a few hours of disruption can be costly. In 2019, American retailer J. Crew lost an estimated $775,000 in online revenues over only five hours.
If you do need major IT upgrades or system changes, postpone them until after the holidays. Don't mess with what works right now if you don't have to do so.
Safeguard business data
The holiday season means employees will be distracted by festivities or out of the office, yet the cyber bad guys don't take breaks. In fact, they ramp up for the holiday season. In 2020, the greatest number of daily DDoS attacks in Q4 were on December 31, when 1,349 attacks were recorded globally. So, take cybersecurity action.
Make sure you are protecting systems, detecting threats, and defending against attacks. A security assessment can help determine what you are doing well and could be doing better. This can be internal or done by an external party (with greater objectivity). If you face compliance or regulatory concerns, try an external IT audit.
Test backup and recovery
Ensure IT resiliency by testing your backup and reviewing your business recovery plans.
We recommend data backups in three places as best practice. Back up to a local, on-site computer, to a remote device that requires separate access, and to the cloud, giving you access anywhere, regardless of office conditions.
Test your backup to:
- confirm data accuracy;
- ensure you can effectively access and use the data;
- gauge the time it takes to perform a backup;
- identify and address any issues that arise during recovery.
According to the Ponemon Institute, business continuity management policies can nearly halve the mean time to recover and improve cost savings by 50%. That's more money to spend on the staff holiday get-together! So, call a meeting of your business continuity planning team. Discuss any changes that might be needed and make sure everyone knows their roles. If someone is going on vacation, get someone else up to speed on their responsibilities.
'Tis the season for IT
Every season you're going to need IT, yet the holidays see your customers and employees wanting to get things done and get back to family and friends. Keep your technology in tip top shape, and you'll have a happier holiday season.