IT Network Advice from Sun Tzu

The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The ancient Chinese military general Sun Tzu might have been around long before IT networks, but he sure knew how to make a lasting impression on the world. In his extremely influential book on ancient Chinese warfare, The Art of War, he says that “every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” This statement can also be applied to protecting your IT network.

Sun Tzu suggests that the best offense is a good defense, and a good defense is built on a solid foundation of preparation. If you keep your people safe, they live to fight another day. Similarly, if those responsible for the protection of your IT network, and its precious data, are adequately prepared and capable of handling disasters, you won’t be as vulnerable to long lasting IT network interruptions and the ever present threat of an unrecoverable IT emergency. CyBerJaz, with the help of Sun Tzu’s text, has put together four tips to help you establish a good defense for your IT network.

Assume Nothing

Sun Tzu says, “Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.”

One mistake in preparing for your IT network’s defense could lead to your overall defeat. You should never assume that you are safe from internal and external threats. Some threats, such as advanced persistent threats (APTs), aren’t entirely detectable unless you are actively monitoring for their presence. They have the potential to infiltrate your system and steal sensitive information in a matter of minutes, if you aren’t cautious.

The take away? You should assume nothing, and always be vigilant. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You will save your company the unnecessary costs of loss of time and money in the future by taking measures to secure your systems today and into the future.

Stay Current on Threats

Sun Tzu says, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.”

It takes time and a coordinated effort to stay up-to-date on all of the latest security threats and vulnerabilities. It now seems that new dangers are revealed every day. You should strongly consider having team members responsible for monitoring and educating themselves on the latest IT network threats so that decisions can be made on how best to protect against them, and how to react should you fall victim.

Your challenge? Having the discipline and conviction to dedicate the investment in both time and money to this process, when it is often hard to find time to get all the other things done on a day-to-day basis.

Backup Your Data

Sun Tzu says, “Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles and succeed in his attacks without cultivating the spirit of enterprise; for the result is waste of time and general stagnation. Hence the saying: The enlightened ruler lays his plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.”

IT networks really exist for one reason – to house, protect and make available information (data). Is your important data centrally stored? Is it backed up frequently on reliable medium? Are current copies being securely stored offsite? Can you quickly recover from server failure? Can you quickly recover from a complete local disaster that wipes out your facility? If you answered no, or I don’t know, to any of these questions, you may be gambling with the future of your business.

According to IDC (a leading market research firm), less than 40% of all small and medium size businesses properly and regularly back up their data. Other studies have shown that 70% of these businesses that experience a major loss of data go out of business within a year.

What should you do? You can achieve data protection peace of mind via an all-inclusive solution that provides the combination of frequent onsite disk-to-disk data backups, disaster recovery and business continuity features for servers and PCs that include offsite storage of data backups, bare metal restore and virtualization (onsite or offsite) of backed up systems – all closely monitored and supported by an experienced team.

Educate Your Team

Sun Tzu says, “Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.”

Your team members should know the basics of IT network threats, vulnerabilities, security and its role in your company. After all, most likely, their jobs depend on the availability and safety of your company’s IT assets. If your business falls, so do their careers. Anyone who deals with client information, sensitive data, and other crucial parts of your IT network should be aware of the dangers that irresponsible use, neglect and ignorance poses to your IT systems and data – not for just the business, but for themselves as an individual.

The lesson? Take the time to educate those on your team that use and interact with your IT how to do so safely and the potential consequences of not doing so. Also, consider adopting acceptable IT use policies and make sure they are enforced.

Not sure how to implement one or more of these suggestions or how best to address other IT needs? We can help. Call CyBerJaz today at 412.922.2000 and you just might find that it is the next important step toward securing victory in the future, and doing exactly what Sun Tzu talks about in The Art of War – winning the fight before it actually starts.