Evaluating Your IT Department? Take This Checklist!

The role of information systems professionals in the modern workplace is rapidly evolving as cloud solutions provide more affordable options. Businesses of all sizes are now evaluating their IT needs in order to determine whether they are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible.

IT expertise is more important than ever, since businesses rely on their applications and devices to conduct business each day. But automation has also made it possible to operate with minimal staff, which is good news for smaller businesses with limited budgets. As you work to evaluate your own IT department, here’s an all-inclusive checklist for your consideration.

Security and Network Support

The security of your data, applications, and websites is crucial to your success as a business. One data breach can cost your business thousands of dollars in fines and loss of customers, as well as damaging the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build. As you evaluate your IT department, take a careful look at your security as a top priority.

„       Anti-malware measures—Are measures in place to make sure your servers and devices are safe from malware and hacking attempts?

„       Employee education—Does your business actively work to educate employees on the importance of responsible online behavior and password management?

„       Disaster recovery—Is a Disaster Recovery Plan in place to protect your business?

Application Support and Security

If your employees access in-house applications in the course of conducting their work, those applications must also be protected and supported.

„       Password management—How are passwords issued and managed for your applications? Is immediate help available when employees need a password reset or issued?

„       Training and support—Is training available for new employees? If an employee has a problem using the application, is that help available? Are employees satisfied with the level of support they’re receiving?

„        Upgrades and bug fixes—Can employees report issues with the application? If so, how quickly are they resolved?

Desktop Support

Once the backbone of an organization’s IT department, desktop support has dwindled in recent years. Thanks to remote desktop software, support can be outsourced and conducted by phone or live chat. Is this support sufficient?

„       Problem resolution—If an employee experiences difficulty with a system, how is support provided? Are employees satisfied with the quality and turnaround time of this service?

„       On-Site support—When new equipment must be set up or hardware problems are reported, is on-site support available? Are employees satisfied with the quality and turnaround time of this service?

This checklist can help you determine what changes you need to make in your IT department, if any. Whether you decide to maintain current staffing levels, to outsource, or to increase the quality or quantity of your IT staff, a checklist can help decide where you’ve been and where you should go next.

Bill to Put Sale Tax on Online Transactions

The House of Representatives is reconsidering introducing a bill that places a sales tax on goods purchase online.  The Marketplace Fairness Act will allow states to collect such taxes even if the seller is from another state.  It is estimated that a total of 4 billion dollars a year will be collected by states if this bill passes.  This piece of legislation comes after a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that states can collect taxes from mail order catalogs.  The four Congressmen that are authoring bill are citing the ruling as the basis of the law.  However, there are several outs.

The bill allows for states to decide if they wish to collect sale tax at all.  This may create an incentive for states to opt out in order to spur more business, especially across state lines.

Opponents say that this bill will hurt small online businesses.  The way the bill is worded, it could be construed that it aims to help large brick and mortal stores fight off the increasing presence of online shopping.

The bill has yet to undergo its first pass through Congress.  The most interesting aspect, to me at least, is how it will affect the online services industry.  IT management consultants that do remote services will be effected if the law passed.  How?  That’s yet to be seen.