i just want it to work

You know the excitement – when you buy that new gadget, take it home, follow the instructions, and for some unknown reason, it works! We’re all excited in those moments because we’ve all experienced the other side of the coin — when we show a Wi-Fi connection only to find we’re not connected to the Internet. Or when we just printed something this morning and now the printer isn’t working.

Let’s all pull together and think there’s nothing more frustrating than digital setbacks.

When the text says not delivered. When the phone is not connected. When an email is bounced as “Undeliverable” (or its more annoying cousin, “Your email has been delayed”). When the formatting in that document is now completely unreadable. When you know you’re connected to a projector but still don’t see an image.

No matter how good you are at technology, there are days — those days make us dangerous.

Those days let us trade doing things safely for myopia of “making it work”. Boredom and frustration are latent agents for cybercriminals. They let our guard down and put us at risk personally and professionally. Bypassing security measures to get something working might help you with that documentation, although there may be hidden costs to that decision.

The more advanced technology becomes, the more we begin to understand the concept of “digital Darwinism”. That’s why we live in an age where technological and social convergence is evolving faster than businesses can naturally adapt.

mark hodges

Nowhere is this more evident than in how organizations handle security risks. Frustration when technology doesn’t do what we want it to do can make us sloppy because we “just want it to work”. This sloppiness is a legacy of what we do at home. It’s not uncommon for people to unbox and install a new wireless router at home for better coverage. The consumer may be ecstatic when it works after all connections are made. The same consumer probably never took 30 seconds to change the default admin password, so the network is just as insecure (or possibly less secure) than it was before the change.

Some common best practices have to start long before setbacks happen, and they need to become a mental model that can work when those situations happen. Here are some:

  • “Let it work…safe. Bypassing the antivirus software on your computer may solve some problems, even if you’re doing the equivalent of riding without a seatbelt. Contact your IT department if things aren’t right …most likely, they can get things working (and make sure it doesn’t compromise security).
  • slow down. it. Down. When everyone is holding their breath, the potential bug/security risk rate is reduced. slow down. think. We’ve all lived in it and know that technology is great when it works. Continuing to click may make the problem worse. Keeping calm is your ally.
  • In situations where the only solution is replacement, bite the bullet. In the last month, I’ve worked with six clients who survived a crisis. You don’t want to be that entity. In all six cases, the savings were eclipsed within the first week of responding to the attack. Sometimes, replacing aging technology that cannot be protected is one of the best investments you can make.

Things change in tech. It’s about territory – but technology doesn’t control your safety. Only you can control it. Remember – action trumps reaction every time.

Mark Hodges is chief growth officer for Arkansas-based IT services company Edafio Technology Partners. Opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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