- 5th February 2024
- Posted by: Mark Dodds
- Category: IT Support
In an era where everything is digitalised, nothing sends a shiver up a business’s spine quite like the idea of IT downtime. Beyond the immediate inconvenience of not being able to access exactly what you need when you need it, downtime can incur eye-watering costs in terms of time, money, and even your reputation. For financial planning firms looking after sensitive data, the stakes are even higher.
In this blog post, we will explore the cost of IT downtime, from hardware failures to security breaches. More importantly, we’ll also make sure you know exactly what action to take should you find yourself unlucky enough to do battle with IT downtime.
What could IT downtime look like for your financial planning firm?
The potential scenarios of IT downtime are diverse but impactful. We’re sure the obvious one has come to mind – cybersecurity issues – but there are many other ways in which IT downtime can come about.
Hardware downtime can manifest itself in various ways, from devices simply not working (no matter how many times you turn it on and off!) to more severe issues like hardware malfunctions or breakages. The financial management sector in particular heavily relies on technology, and any disruption in hardware can lead to a sudden stop in day-to-day operations.
What’s more, the loss or theft of hardware poses not only financial challenges related to replacements but also significant concerns regarding the security of sensitive financial information stored on these devices.
Remote working issues
Nowadays remote or hybrid working is pretty much a staple of any office. Whilst it’s pretty handy to have your workforce able to log on from anywhere, it does present challenges of its own.
An unexpected internet outage while working from the office can cause major issues, hindering communication with remote workers, data access, and client interactions. The financial implications extend beyond immediate annoyance, as delays can lead to missed opportunities and clients becoming frustrated, ultimately affecting the company’s bottom line.
We’re going to be slightly dramatic here and ask you to imagine the consequences of a fire in the office. Beyond the immediate cost of replacing expensive hardware, the financial impact includes potential loss of invaluable financial records.
Ah, the obvious one and a constant lurking threat; security breaches! Cybersecurity breaches, such as ransomware attacks and unauthorised access through social engineering or phishing, pose significant financial threats.
Ransomware incidents not only demand potentially hefty payments but also result in downtime and resource-intensive recovery processes. A compromised account due to social engineering can lead to financial fraud, and the subsequent fallout involves both financial and reputational damage.
Loss of data
Whilst data loss can happen in a variety of ways, with machines increasingly taking over, the loss of critical financial data becomes a constant risk. Recovering from these incidents involves substantial time, impacting resources, efficiency and potentially leading to client issues.
How can I protect my financial planning firm from IT downtime?
Now that we’ve got your pulse racing at the thought of any of these situations happening to your business, let’s address the question we’re sure is on the tip of your tongue; what can you do to protect your business against IT downtime?
Protecting your financial planning firm from the chaos of IT downtime is all about being one step ahead. And by one step ahead, we mean having solid cybersecurity measures in place and ensuring that you backup your data.
While Microsoft 365 is a widely adopted platform, and one we recommend, it still needs to be backed up. Many assume that because it’s the cloud, all their information is safe when this isn’t the case. We always urge M365 users to use additional cloud backup solutions, especially for critical tools like SharePoint, to ensure as much protection as possible.
This added layer of backup not only reduces the risk of data loss due to various scenarios, including hardware failure, ransomware attacks, or accidental deletions but also allows businesses to restore old content so you can get back up and running as quickly as possible.
Reporting security breaches
Don’t forget, if you go through significant IT disruptions or security breaches, as a financial planning firm you must report them.
ICO reporting: In the event of a security breach, financial planning firms are obligated to report the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Failure to comply with regulatory requirements can result in penalties, and your reputation could take a hit, so make sure you report it.
FCA notification: As highly regulated entities, financial firms must inform the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) about any significant disruptions or security breaches.
Are you a financial planning or wealth management firm? Need some help with your IT? Contact us today to find out about our range of IT services – we can even help you ensure cybersecurity throughout your operations!