The NHS And British Airway’s IT Security Issues – What Can A Small Business Learn?

In recent times both the NHS and British Airways have suffered problems with their IT security systems. In the case of British Airways, it is estimated that delays could cost them as much as £150 million while the hack on the NHS computers has already caused a lot of delays with operations and treatments.

While this naturally raises concerns about how larger companies and organisations invest in security and effective systems it should also be noted that small companies and individuals should look at what has happened. As a small business, it is worth learning from this in order to prevent similar problems affecting you.

Have a plan B

Perhaps the most important lesson (and one that can be applied to a lot of aspects in life) is to have a plan B. Whether it is a reserve server or duplicate system there should have been something available when the systems failed.

Be wary of outsourcing

One potential issue is that British Airways outsourced its IT to India. While this may not in and of itself have been an issue some have suggested that the power surge that allegedly caused the problems with the system would not have happened had they used a server closer to home.

Keep your systems up to date

A big problem with the NHS computers is that they used Windows XP. While it would have cost money and some delays may have occurred in order to update the systems in the long term keeping everything up to date usually ensures things run much more smoothly.

Keep your customers in the loop

Sometimes problems are simply unavoidable. A mistake with a delivery can happen or bad weather delays shipping. While customers may not be pleased they can be more accepting if a company keeps them informed.

This was another big mistake that British Airways made. Delays may look bad and you may not want to admit that you are having issues but if people are waiting around for hours and don’t know the reason why then they are likely to become very agitated.

In the past, this would have merely resulted in some angry letters or phone calls. With the rise of social media one disgruntled message can result in it being shared around the world, parodied in memes and spread across the media very rapidly.

The real value for money

What links both British Airways and the NHS in this situation is mistaking cutting costs for value for money- while you may save in the short term by not updating systems or not having a more hands on approach to the systems you use it is likely that you will pay for it in the long term.

This is equally applicable to small businesses- your customers will expect you to be able to deliver and this is why it is important to keep your systems as up to date as possible.

For more information on our business packages and how we can help you keep your systems secure contact Digi Toolbox today.