Basic IT setups may work for small companies, but those who hope to grow may need to seek help from professionals.
If you’re seeking peace of mind for your data, you should always be on the lookout for ways to improve your IT. This is especially true for companies who handle sensitive consumer information.
To help you get started, we brought IT expert David Papp to explain the benefits of IT audits. He also gifts us with a free pdf download with vital tips, which can be found here:http://www.davidpapp.com/20questions
David is a tech pioneer specializing in CyberSecurity & Privacy, Social Media & Marketing, Technology Management, and Blockchain. With a degree in computer engineering and numerous industry certifications over 25 years, he is well-recognized in all things tech. He spends his time helping businesses and individuals embrace technology to thrive in the online world. His popularity as an everyday “tech expert” has made him a popular media resource.
You Can get in touch with David at https://davidpapp.com/
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00:00 – Show Opening
Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach, with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.
00:27 – Podcast content starts here!
Gordon Sheppard: Welcome to another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Sheppard and I just want to say thanks for being here. Thanks for choosing the Meeting Leadership Podcast as a place where you’re going to pick up another tip to build your leadership skills, as another place where you’re going to find a strategy that you can take in to make your next meeting outstanding. It is great to have you here.
00:48 – Why all leaders need an IT audit
And today, we’re going to get into an area that is absolutely essential for your organization, but so many leaders put off because they actually don’t know what to do. Because today we’re going to talk about why all leaders need an IT audit.
Gordon Sheppard: Now, I can tell you firsthand that when I think about IT, my eyes, they glaze right over. It’s not the thing I want to be thinking about, but I can also tell you that there was a time when my email went out and I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that I wasn’t receiving important email from my clients and it really affected my business. So I had to get in there, learn how to do some things, turn some wrenches and get things fixed up to actually get through what was a mini crisis in my own business.
01:44 – Welcome David Papp!
Gordon Sheppard: And when you consider all of the stories that we are hearing in the news about these IT disasters for larger organizations, well, as a leader, you know you’ve got to deal with it. Well today we’re going to help you do just that because today we’re bringing on an expert. His name is David Papp. And David will tell you himself that he’s actually been around since the birth of the internet. This guy has such a tremendous body of knowledge over that entire time, and the nice thing about it is it gives him that 30,000 foot in the air perspective. So not only can he solve specific problems, but he can really give you the leadership perspective that you need to, again, solve your it issues for your entire organization.
02:20 – More from David Papp – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/79
Gordon Sheppard: And with that in mind, I’m not going to keep you waiting any longer. Here’s the great interview with David Papp. David Papp, welcome back to the show. You knocked it out of the park in episode 79, that’s why we’ve got you back here again to get us more into the technology things that leaders really need to know. And for folks that haven’t heard that episode, I can tell you I come by inviting David Papp onto the show very honestly. He is a worldwide known technology expert. He’s a business owner, he’s an entrepreneur, he’s a professional speaker. I’ve seen him in all these different areas and I’ve even recommended him to do things like build websites and do social media and IT recommendations for my very own clients. I cannot say enough. David, welcome to the show.
David Papp: Yeah, thanks Gordon. Always a pleasure.
03:21 – Question – Gord: When you introduce yourself, what do you tell people?
Gordon Sheppard: For the folks that don’t know you, what are the sort of things that you’d like them to know about yourself?
David Papp: I’m a computer engineer by training. I have a number of different industry certifications and I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. I feel that I’m a technology pioneer and truly at the forefront and I’m one of those guys I feel that understands the forest from the trees. I understand the big picture, so my analogy there is I consider myself a general contractor of technology. I do have some specializations of myself that I understand and I can jump into, but essentially being a general contractor in technology I think is a requirement for a lot of organizations to view the big picture and how one area can affect another, and how you can have optimizations, or problems can emerge because you haven’t actually considered what the big picture is like.
04:13 – Question – Gord: What’s the first thing you want people to know about IT audits?
Gordon Sheppard: Well, and that is a perfect lead in to today’s topic that we talked about before the show, which is titled, why all leaders need an It strategy. Now when I think about the leaders hearing IT strategy and their eyes are glazing over, how can we give them some hope? What’s the first thing that you need them to know?
David Papp: Here are some things that you want to avoid. A lot of organizations have either one individual or a few individuals who are part of their IT department. And a lot of instances, it’s somebody who happened to know a little bit more about computers than the owner of the company. They knew where the power switch was, they know to turn it on and off, and reboot things when there was a problem. So, hey, you’re in charge of tech. It’s not to say that not a lot of people out there have any formal training. I’m just saying that this is a common trend that I’m seeing in a lot of organizations.
David Papp: So what happens there is they get really stuck because they’re in firefighting mode. They’re always being responsive to different problems that are occurring within the organization. They’re reacting to things, but they’re not actually being proactive and trying to move forward. So that’s number one.
David Papp: Number two, is there are some things that we can do if we knew about them ahead of time, that would help protect and insulate our organization to be more resistant to disasters, to problems.
06:18 – The value of investing in an IT audit and how often it should be done
Gordon Sheppard: And when I hear what you’re saying, that person that is in that role, who’s inexperienced, they are not in a position because there’s so many things that are changing so rapidly. So to not engage sort of an outside expert at least once in a while doesn’t make a lot of sense.
David Papp: 100%. And you know what? It’s not possible to know it all. In fact, I feel very dumb when it comes to tech. And I jokingly say that it’s because the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know. There are so much to this. And for anybody to have a large enough ego that they think they know it all, they’re the wrong person for that job. They should be open to exploring new things that they possibly didn’t consider or realize existed. Different cloud offerings that could make their life easier and optimize the business further and help improve further sales or leads for the organization or make you more resilient to disaster.
David Papp: And then the next bullet point is that what happens if that individual is the only person who knows everything about your technology and they are gone? Something happens, hit by a bus, they leave, you have a disagreement with them and they hold you hostage. Like there are a number of scenarios where the IT people within the organization have more access to information and power within the organization than the owner and president of the company. Because they have access to, in a lot of cases, accounting information, payroll, client lists, email, they could look at your emails, they can look at your sent messages, like they have the keys to the kingdom.
07:58 – Discovery meetings as a first step
Gordon Sheppard: And yet we put so much trust in them to not look. So hopefully you’ve got someone who’s got some good values and they’re not looking, but like you’ve said, this is actually a risk to the business and in fact beyond the individual itself. So like again, if someone that’s grown up in the organization, you might like Sally, you might like Bob, they are the one who learned how to turn things on and get things going, but this is bigger than them. And the role is what we’re looking at and from the organization’s point of view, continuity is critical.
David Papp: Absolutely. I mean, you can completely paralyze an organization because of a technology problem, whether it’s all of a sudden your main server goes offline or your data is gone or your email goes offline. Any one of these are considered disasters to an organization because all of a sudden they disappear off the map. Clients can’t get ahold of them, they can’t find out about problems, they can’t respond, it’s actually a very bad situation that I have helped many, many organizations through because this is reality. It happens. You’re not immune to this. Don’t think you’re immune to this. It will happen one day because technology is not 100% safe, it’s not 100% secure, it’s not 100% robust. We can do a lot of things to mitigate those risks and make it more redundant and more fail safe, but you’re never going to have 100%.
Gordon Sheppard: I have actually been through that moment where I thought my email was running correctly and it wasn’t, and I missed out on business opportunities. I just, I’ve lived it. I so hear the wisdom in what you’re saying. What can leaders do about this?
David Papp: There’s a couple things that can be done. The first thing is you interviewed me in a prior episode with regards to just bringing in an outside consultant to ask questions of you and to do what we call a mini audit or a mini assessment of your organization. It’s just to paint a picture of where you’re at. Make some recommendations.
David Papp: I frequently say that RIT people have this thing called the stuck in a box syndrome. And it means that we’re operating within our bubble and we just react within our bubble and we only know what exists inside our bubble. So a consultant and other people in peer groups can help bring ideas of what other organizations are doing. And what works and what doesn’t and learn from the mistakes of other people.
David Papp: So what you do is you just engage a consultant once in a while just like you do for lawyers and engineers and doctors and chartered accountants, bring in an IT expert to help you out. Honestly, within a couple hours you will have so much value out of that meeting with them because they will point out some things that maybe you are doing wrong that you haven’t considered yet, or some technology that you should investigate further. Some more cost effective approaches where you could save some money. Like truly, I feel passionate that this is something that every organization should do on a regular basis. That’s number one.
Gordon Sheppard: And so many people see that as a cost. In the same way they’re like, “Oh, that high-priced lawyer, whatever.” But in fact, it really is an investment. Because if you’re able to make them aware of the right thing to go forward to specifically from say a cost saving point of view or even a personnel investment point of view, because there’s so many things that are happening in IT that can either enhance our businesses or help us do even more, it’s a really good investment.
David Papp: Absolutely. A truly, truly as a worth, but while investment and should never be seen as an expense. It is something that you will gain a tremendous amount of value out of.
10:22 – Protecting your data with offline backups
Gordon Sheppard: Well, this is great, and I remember we had the download from the last episode and it’s going to be the same one again today, because it’s the 20 questions that you recommend people at least consider. And why do you think these 20 questions are so important?
David Papp: The 20 questions are just the basis to get you thinking about the different areas of your technology within your organization, of things that you might not have even thought of, or the things that maybe you’ve taken for granted that they’re operating right now, and maybe they aren’t.
David Papp: A tiny little story, I was working on a case file with somebody who was religiously doing their backups. Every single day they were swapping out the… And back then it was cassette tapes. Putting it in, taking it off site, and yet nobody was paying attention to the error log that was in there, realizing that for three years, none of those backups was working. It was failing within the first five minutes. And then the server, which they had had raid on it, meaning redundant, hard drives. So, Hey, the server’s not going to fail, but you know what? One by one, those hard drives starting to fail. So all of a sudden you no longer have redundancy on that server, and then the final hard drive dies. So all your data’s gone because again, nobody’s paying attention to looking at the hardware because hey, it’s got fail safe built in and redundancy, and then they lost everything. They had to rebuild everything from paper because the data recovery wasn’t even possible, those drives were so dead. But catching things like this by just taking a look at it and if you don’t have a time, you can have somebody else from an outside take a look at it.
11:38 – Streamlining, growth, and scalability
David Papp: So what I encourage a lot of people to do, and I’m going to throw a few acronyms at people here, are to do what’s called a disaster recovery plan or a business continuity plan or a combination of the two. We call it a business resiliency plan. What this is, is it’s a living document that you ask those 20 questions. There’s templates out there that you can go and start to fill with what are a list of all your it assets? What are a list of your software? Where’s the stuff hosted? What is the calling list? The tree of people that you need to call in the event of a disaster? Where is your stuff stored? Where are your main passwords in case something happens? Now, this document has a number of benefits for it.
David Papp: The first thing is, you as an owner or as a business C-suite executive within the organization, will have some of the control over some of that information. So you know where things are at and where the holes are within your organization.
David Papp: Number two, let’s say you had a disagreement with your IT manager or they left or they got hit by a bus and something bad happened. At least you would have some of that information intact so that you’re not actually completely locked out of your own computers and servers because the passwords are gone and you don’t even have access to it.
David Papp: And number three, I think by having this as a living document, it keeps you on your toes and it makes sure that you’re acting more proactive in your organization when it comes to technology and not so much reactive. And again, I don’t care if this is just as simple as a spreadsheet or a Google document or a notepad on your phone. I just say you have to have something, you need to start somewhere. And like you indicated, I have 20 questions to help seed this process.
12:36 – Free download: 20 Questions Every Company Should Ask Themselves – http://www.davidpapp.com/20questions
Gordon Sheppard: And where can people get the 20 questions?
David Papp: The 20 questions are located on my website. It’s a single-page PDF handout. I kept it really simple. You don’t even need to know all the answers to these questions, but it’s basically www.davidpapp.com. So my name, slash 20 questions. And 20 can be a two zero or spelled out as 20. They’ll both work. Once again, davidpapp.com/20questions.
Gordon Sheppard: And I’ll make sure that everybody can get a link to that in my show notes as well. Well, obviously this has been a highly valuable episode for why all leaders need an IT strategy. David, thank you so much for sharing your expertise on the show.
David Papp: Anytime, Gorge. This stuff is truly a passion of mine and it’s always a pleasure to talk with you.
13:45 – Episode summary
Gordon Sheppard: I really enjoyed doing that interview with David Papp for a whole bunch of reasons, but here’s a couple. One, it was jam packed. Two, it really gave you a perspective on IT from a leadership perspective, something that you can dabble in and then assign in a way that’s going to really benefit your organization overall. And the third thing, and the big takeaway for me in this one was, David pointed out that we pay the lawyers, we pay the accountants, and we don’t hesitate. Now it’s time to treat IT in the right way because it is absolutely essential for all of our businesses.
Gordon Sheppard: And just as a reminder, if you’d like to get the 20 questions download that David Papp has put together for you, just go to davidpapp.com/20questions. That’s davidpapp.com/20davidpapp.com/20questionsquestions.
Gordon Sheppard: And I’m also really excited to let you know that David’s going to be back on a couple more episodes on the show. In episode 86, he’s going to talk about why all leaders need an IT strategy. And that episode is available at meetingleadershipinc.com/86. And in episode 99, David’s going to talk about an inspirational story that really makes him tick and it’s the kind of thing that I know is going to inspire you as well. And you can get that episode by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/99.
Gordon Sheppard: And if you’re the type of leader who got a lot out of listening to this episode because it was one of those things where you kind of put off and you learn something about it so you can take action. Then I’m going to recommend a couple of other episodes on the Meeting Leadership Podcast that may be a benefit as well. In episode 26, Jean L. Eaton was on the show, and she talked about why leaders should understand privacy. And in episode 45, she also explained why leaders need to know how to start a privacy program. And I have to say that before I did those interviews I was absolutely skeptical. But after listening to Jean and the great advice that she had, I realized that privacy, like IT, is a real investment in your business. And if you’d like to listen to those episodes, just go to meetingleadershipinc.com/26 or forward slash 45.
Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleaderhshipinc.com/academy
Gordon Sheppard: And I also want to let you know that this episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by the Meeting Leadership Academy. Now one of the great things there is a free five-day challenge. It’s called the Meeting Leadership Challenge. And you can go there right now, sign up and you’re going to get like a video a day, and that’s going to give you something to do everyday so that in one week your meeting effectiveness will go through the roof. And you can take advantage of that challenge by going to a meetingleadershipinc.com/academy.
Gordon Sheppard: And as always, thank you so much for listening, and we’ll see you tomorrow on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.
16:43 – Podcast Outro
Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader. And don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.
Links From This Episode
- MLP 086: Why All Leaders Need An IT Strategy – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/86
- MLP 099: Inspiring Leadership Stories with David Papp – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/99
- FREE download: 20 Questions Every Company Should Ask Themselves – http://www.davidpapp.com/20questions
- David Papp’s official site: http://www.davidpapp.com
- Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleaderhshipinc.com/academy
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