Andy Hinxman discusses why different sectors have different IT needs.
As with so many things in life there is no ‘one size fits’ all when it comes to IT. It is easy to think that all you have to do is make sure the internet works, you have enough storage and security and that your staff can send and receive emails. But each sector has its own needs and challenges. It is important to ensure whoever sets up and runs your system does understand what you actually need as well as what you want. These can be two different things!
So with that in mind I thought it might be useful this month to look at a few sectors and find out their different needs.
The latest figures for the recruitment industry suggest the sector is worth almost £27 billion. Yes that isn’t a typing error: £27 billion. There are now thousands of recruitment businesses in London alone. All of which means the sector and those who work in it play a huge part in the economy. Making sure you are using the right IT is as crucial as getting the IT right.
People need access both in the office and on the go. They need to be able to show clients information, share data and overall take with them confidential information which, if lost, could end up with a huge fine by the Information Commissioners Office. A body set up to, among other things, protect data privacy for individuals. It doesn’t pull its punches and has handed out hefty fines to organisations in the past including the police. So don’t mess with them!
So the IT has to allow for access 24/7 and remote working all over the world. It also has to be able to track where the data goes to make sure people don’t take clients with them, and provide the ability to be able to close down and activate accounts immediately when necessary. If someone was to leave abruptly companies also need something in place to ensure USBs can’t be used to take away information and that emails can be tracked.
It all sounds like scary stuff but, as I have already mentioned, this is big business for the companies and the economy.
What they have:
· Most on Office 365
· Some on virtual desktops
· Anti-virus and web protection
· Stringent permissions in place
When I talk about healthcare I mean both private and public, ie NHS. What they are dealing with is highly classified information. Not classified in the way the Ministry of Defence mean but highly classified in terms of you as an individual. You might not mind if your close friends know you have a nasty itch but then again you might. You most likely would mind if that information became more common knowledge because a laptop with the details was left on a train or put on a USB accidentally left behind in someone’s office. Of course doctors need access anywhere in any building where they are working and on other sites (currently just located in the UK). They have virtual desktops, which means anything saved on their desktop is available anywhere including via their mobile phone. It goes without saying they work around the clock seven days a week. They have to be able to get access – their work really is a life or death situation.
We have all heard stories about NHS data being accidentally published online, paper records being found in a skip and a CD containing patients records going missing during an office move. Whether the NHS trusts are fined or not the fact is that is confidential information should remain just that…confidential.
We have a client who works with NHS data and they need to be ISO (International Standards Organisation) compliant to operate.
What they have;
· Virtual desktops
· Web protection
· Lots of cloud storage for data
· Secure connections to the NHS
Unlike the other two sectors, recruitment and healthcare, accounting does tend to be an office hours job. I won’t put 9-5 as I know lots of accountants who would say they work much longer hours than that. However in the main they don’t need to be working at the weekend and in the evenings or if they do they tend to be in the office. This means access isn’t such a major priority apart from being able to email.
However as accountants deal with highly confidential information they do need to ensure that security is tight. There also needs to be strict permissions in place about who can see what and naturally strong systems to ensure the data is protected. These are someone’s dead hard sums and you wouldn’t like just anyone to be able to see your spreadsheet, tax information, sales figures etc.
Online backup is critical too, so they absolutely must be sure that whenever they need to retrieve data they can do so and it is kept safe. Interestingly for accounting purposes, and you will know this as a business owner, that you have to keep data for seven years so any system you have needs to be robust, able to be updated and transferable to any new software packages.
What they have:
· Emails they can access anywhere, including archiving
· Web protection
· Lots of back up and cloud storage for data
· Cloud accountancy packages to improve disaster recovery
So you see one size doesn’t fit all. Be clear about what you need and that will help you keep your costs down too. If you have any questions for your particular business do get in touch.
Andy Hinxman is owner and founder of Keybridge IT Solutions.