When was the last time you ran a test on your internet? And when was the last time you experienced downtime due to an internet failure? While they may not seem like related issues, the fact is that you may be increasing the likelihood of downtime due to an unknown issue that could be easily resolved after running a simple internet test.
Loss of work time always translates to loss of money. An annual independent survey by ITIC estimates that a single hour of downtime cost more than $100,000 for 98% of their survey respondents. That is a staggering cost and one that can be easily avoided with the proper know-how to run a series of internet tests.
Here is a list of things that you should regularly test and review to ensure that your internet is operating as desired.
Testing Your Internet Speed and Bandwidth
Internet speed is probably the first thing you think of when testing your internet, but you actually need to be checking both speed and bandwidth. Bandwidth is how much data can be uploaded or downloaded, and speed is how fast that loading happens. Both of these need to be reviewed to ensure they are working well together (and that you are getting what you are paying for!)
There are many free tests available that can give you an initial understanding of the internet speed you are working with. Just remember to turn off any downloads or uploads that your system may be running and if you use a VPN (which you should!) be sure to deactivate it for the duration of your test period, as these steps will ensure better accuracy.
It is important to remember that even a gigabit connection is only as good as the router it’s connected to. Like all hardware, your router needs to be reviewed and updated just as regularly as your antivirus and spam protection. Poor performance might be the result of a piece of hardware that hasn’t been updated in years. An older router is also more susceptible to threats.
For example, your router has a default name and password that you need to use in order to access or make changes to your router. Many older systems have names like “admin” and passwords that are easy to guess or hack from the outside. Review your router security and update those names and passwords as needed. Keep your new name and password in a secure password manager so you can still access it easily when needed.
We recommend working with an IT company to run a full-service diagnostic of your internet. We’ve paid for tools and software that will test your systems for problems that you never thought about, beyond just bandwidth.
Testing Your Internet Security
We’re all guilty of hitting the “ignore” or “reschedule” options when our computer security system pops up suggesting a scan or update. Can you remember the last time you actually allowed it to scan when suggested? Me neither. That’s a problem.
Even if you are among the patient few that runs your security scans on schedule, it is still worthwhile to check your antivirus, malware, and firewall systems regularly to review any reports or notifications that you may have missed and run an on-demand scan. Also, review the security settings to ensure that your scans are running as often as possible. You probably have the option to set scans to happen during your regular downtime so that both your security scans and your personal work time don’t get interrupted.
If you are really invested in running extra tests to check your security, you could run free security tests that are available through EICAR and AMTSO. The most common of these free tests prompts you to download a harmless file, but one that should trigger a defense reaction from your security systems to demonstrate that your antivirus, malware, and firewall are working well. Remember that these tests need to be run on all devices that are used for your small business.
Are you using a VPN?
When you visit a website, your browser will send your IP address with an information request, allowing the site to send you the requested data. Your IP address will target your general location, but should not provide information beyond that.
With a Virtual Private Network, you get even more security because the website you visit will see the IP address of your server’s location, not your own physical location. This is an excellent extra level of security that we recommend for almost every single client.
But even if you are using a VPN, you need to make sure that it is configured correctly. Information like your Domain Name System (the websites that you visit) can be visible to cybercriminals and hackers. There are free applications available that can test to make sure your VPN is not releasing DNS and other personal data.
It’s not a stretch to assume that most, if not all, of your staff are working remotely. With your team spread out in various locations, it’s possible that your team as a whole are connecting to work through multiple service providers. Fiber and cable, DSL, and cellular hotspots are all going to offer different levels of internet speed, so you should be aware of what each of your employees are working with, in addition to providing the best antivirus available, if they are logging in remotely from personal computers.
If you or any of your employees travel frequently, they may be logging in to work systems from their phones. Whether they are using Apple or Android, there is a risk that a malicious user or system might exploit their remote access into your small business applications. Make sure that you offer adequate protections on mobile devices that have been approved for work use.
Testing your internet regularly not only ensures that your services are working efficiently, they also identify security risks and other factors that could cause expensive downtime. Contact Tech Masters for a free IT assessment, or check out our IT Managed Services to discover how we can provide internet tests in addition to managing other routine internet and tech services.
“Your router needs to be reviewed and updated just as regularly as your antivirus and spam protection. “
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