The IT Support Learning Hub
The most educational business technology blog for Southern California executives, featuring insider tips, articles, and videos on how to get the best IT results.
Not a day goes by in the IT world without talking about cyber security. IT professionals are constantly discussing protection methods, access controls, new and existing threats, and ways to reduce risk. To most people who use technology, security measures just get in the way of being able to use or access whatever you’re trying to access. Things like complex passwords, password expirations, and multi-factor authentication are complex ideas that frustrate and confuse people who are just trying to log in to a website or system. In fact, a significant percentage of support calls to manufacturers are related to passwords and system access. Yep, security is a nuisance that gets in the way, and we don’t like to be bothered with it. Nevertheless, cyber security and IT security are crucial.
May is normally one of the more forgettable time periods of the year. The rush of the new year is over, tax season is behind business owners, and summer is coming but not quite here. Typically when executives reach out to me, they’re nonspecific about what they need. They say they “just want IT to work,” or that they “don’t want to think about IT at all.” Those calls usually result in a meeting with the executives where we discuss the specifics of IT and how it can help advance the company if managed well. The calls this month were much different.
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Think about a time when your significant other asked you to clean the house. You woke up early with a mission, but as the morning wore on, you found yourself outside mowing the lawn. You weren’t neglecting work – in fact, you were doing lots of work – you just had a different idea of what needed to be done. By the end of the day, your yard looked great, but the laundry wasn’t folded and the dishes were still dirty, leaving your significant other frustrated that their request hadn’t been fulfilled.
Have you ever wished you were better prepared for something? It all turned out okay, but I had a moment like that this week. Some of you may know that I’ve been a private pilot for about 10 years now. I didn’t fly much in the first few years, but the last two years have been much more active. The reason is mostly because we now have data center operations for our clients and ourselves in Las Vegas, as well as employees in Central California, Arizona, Colorado, and Louisiana.
For those who may not know, I travel all over Southern California, and a good part of the United States, consulting with executives regarding IT Department performance. At some point during these executive discussions, the subject of cost comes to the forefront of the conversation. I really enjoy discussing the cost of the IT Department because it is usually a highly sensitive area and tends to be lumped into one number. The CFO of a distribution company in Los Angeles recently engaged me to help him with an IT department cost comparison.
Whether you follow basketball or not, you might have heard about Zion Williamson’s shoe blowout, 33 seconds into the February 20th game between Duke and the University of North Carolina. Williamson, a freshman who plays forward for Duke and is the projected #1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft, fell to the floor when his Nike shoe ripped apart. The result was a mild knee sprain that took him out of the game.
I have a question for CEOs and business leaders: How are you doing with managing IT? The reason I ask is because people in your role have great business minds but, for the most part, aren’t technically inclined. By that I don’t mean that you can’t operate your smartphone, but that you aren’t familiar with the intricacies of a network with all its connections, and how everything works together.
Most of us have tried to accomplish a task or goal and failed. Sometimes we start over and try to do the very same project in the very same way, and we’re still a little surprised when we fail again. Continuing with this process just takes us round and around in circles, and the result is that nothing ever gets accomplished. In fact, most of the time after we try a few times, we are in a worse position than when we started.
A massive technology ride is gaining speed as we get ready to move into 2019, and it’s going to cause a major disruption for those who ignore it. Microsoft has given us a lot of time to get used to the idea that support for some of our favorite desktop and server operating systems will end in early 2020.
Have you ever tried to go to sleep in a noisy place? Let’s say you’re on a plane and you want to catch some zzz’s before arriving at your destination. You try to drift off, but you hear the people talking in the seat behind you, the baby crying four rows ahead, and the high-pitched squeal of your air vent. Although you’re trying to sleep, your mind focuses on the noise in your environment, causing you to arrive at your destination just as tired as when you departed, plus annoyed and irritated that your plan to be well-rested for your meeting (or vacation, or your day) was disrupted.