2018 cupcakesEveryone is looking at their calendars and feeling excited about their plans for the upcoming break.

But before you put on your sunglasses and grab your bags, it’s helpful to do a check and ensure that everything is taken care of before you leave.

I’m not one to talk about working over the holidays, but in order to prevent your hard-earned vacation from being interrupted or worrying about what could happen, it helps to take a quick look and ensure that everything is taken care of.

It’s not just important to do in any industry, but in IT as well.

The worst thing you want to do is leave the office without making sure that your IT is being taken care of, that your technology is in safe hands and that people can be contacted in the event something goes wrong.

While every company is different, there are some things that every company can remember before they leave and take their mind off of work.

1. Is Your Data Backed Up?

No one wants to think about coming back to work, but it is something that has to happen whether you like it or not.

The worst nightmare for you would be to come back from a long vacation, only to discover that all of your data is gone. Your hard work in the past year has disappeared, and even worse, you needed to use that data to start the year with the same momentum that you had last year.

Now, for obvious reasons no one would willingly tamper with company data without malicious purposes, and thankfully malicious people are not the majority of individuals (however they do exist, and you must keep that in mind).

Data loss doesn’t always happen because someone is stealing it though. Perhaps you have saved the wrong versions of files, or you don’t actually remember where the files are.

It could also be that an event like a blackout or a natural disaster, you can’t access your data.

Putting all of your data in one place may be convenient, but it is not always secure. That is why you should know where copies of your files are at all times.

That way, when you get back to work you already know where all the files are, and it will be a seamless transition from vacation to work (well, as much as possible).

2. Does The Company Practice Basic IT Habits?

It’s too late to educate anyone on IT habits that they need to adopt around the time of a holiday. But when you look at next year, you can think about what behaviours you think you should encourage among your colleagues.

You might think it is patronizing, but there is a reason why people are constantly being taught about IT. Even people who find themselves to be advanced users can benefit from learning a few new things.

It might even be the case that your company recently rolled out some new software and people around you are struggling to know how to use it properly.

When you come back from work, you might want to propose that the company brushes up on some knowledge or takes a workshop on basic practices.

Spotting suspicious emails, ensuring that data is backed up, being taught good password practices, these are habits that people all around the world should be learning, not just companies.

If you don’t feel the company is on the right track, speak to some IT experts and see what you can do. It isn’t a large investment and the returns could be very beneficial for everyone in the long term.

3. Who Can You Call In An Emergency?

Every good vacationer needs to have a list of emergency contacts. While we would never wish for anything bad to happen to your company, it is worth thinking about the numbers you can call in an emergency.

Not everyone in the business will be gone when holiday time rolls around. There may be individuals who stay behind because they don’t want to use their leave, are out of leave or have to stay back for personal reasons.

You may still receive calls and emails that are reaching you (despite any forwarding messages) and you will have to respond by referring the call to someone else.

But would you know who to call?

If you are being called about a technical problem, do you know the number of the IT department so that you can have them take a look? If you need a question answered, do you know the software company to call so that they can give you advice?

Just because you’re not at work doesn’t mean emergencies can’t happen. You still need to ensure that people are around to at least attend to emergencies, if they cannot be resolved immediately.

Before you take that plane ticket to the airport, also ensure you know who to call if a serious matter is brought to your attention. It will give you the peace of mind that you know who to call while you’re not at the desk.

4. Are Your Systems Protected?

Holidays are a time of celebration and relaxing. It’s been a long year after all, so people should be taking a well-deserved break.

But when people are relaxing, that is when threats are emerging. Your guard is down and it is the time for hackers to try and get in to steal some valuable data.

If you have a good anti-virus system, these threats will be caught before they become a big problem. Most anti-virus systems are good enough to catch harmful programs and alert them to you before they become a big threat.

Of course, you will always hear arguments of how home users have never used anti-virus systems and nothing bad has happened. You will undoubtedly use those as justifications against getting protection.

Nowadays though, attacks are not just concentrated around home users. They go beyond simple things such as pop-up attacks. Theft by downloadable files, spam emails and even rogue programs disguised as legitimate programs are used to target companies.

Even home users are not as safe as they used to be, with webcam recordings and catfishing attempts that can bypass a security scan and causing the same, if not more, harm.

Besides, a lot of anti-virus protection is free! You lose very little by installing it on everyone’s computer, and you have a lot to gain by sleeping well knowing that your systems are protected.

It’s a little bit of effort for a large benefit. A safe company wall that can catch threats, and a peace of mind for you on vacation.

5. Have A Wonderful Vacation!

We hope that everyone has a wonderful time over the holidays. Whether they are on vacation abroad or domestically, whether they are with friends or family, or whether you have plans or just want to relax.

But you shouldn’t forget about your IT as the year comes to a close. Follow these steps and think about what changes you’d like to make in the new year.

Happy holidays, from everyone at MSP Blueshift!

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