Who is managing your IT?

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The reality of business networking today is that digital tools have advanced to
the extent that processes take days instead of weeks, intricate data processing and
algorithm checks are completed in seconds rather than minutes or hours. All good
and well, say HR experts, but they believe it is critical for decision makers to know
exactly who is managing their company’s IT infrastructure and how secure are their
systems really?

The scope of what constitutes corporate IT infrastructure has grown
substantially, with mobility and social networking considered part of the business
network, bringing with it a host of security considerations and management
functions.

Realistically, access control is a function that transcends that which takes place
physically on a premise, and is most definitely part of the security protocol governing
internal systems and infrastructure.

Experienced HR and payroll practitioners advise that it is critical for decision
makers to be in a position to answer whether their IT infrastructure management is
handled internally or outsourced - and to what extent. They also say it is vital that
business leaders are clear as to the level at which their systems are secured -
particularly if one considers the volume of data being generated and processed
through networks.

"It is a question of confidentiality,' says Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys, a member
of the BCX Group and a national supplier of people management software and
hardware solutions within the HR, payroll and time and attendance space.

"Years ago, it took expert, specialist knowledge to break codes and process
computer algorithms. Today it happens in a matter of seconds. Business leaders must
know who is managing their IT infrastructure, how much data and what data is
flowing through the network and is there sufficient protection or encryption of
sensitive information,' says Schroenn.

If the decision has been to retain control of infrastructure and the data that lies
on it in-house, the element of control is strong - but the support and necessary skills
sets it may require to sustain this scenario could be in short-supply. At some point
the business may be forced to consider an alternative option.

On the other hand, as Schroenn explains, if the business is able to partner with a
credible, experienced and highly skilled service provider - and the trust is there - this
could really be a win-win situation. The business knows its core infrastructure is in
the hands of a trusted partner who has its best interests at heart and therefore also
can rest in the knowledge that data is safe. At the same time the service provider is
expanding its client base, adding another satisfied client onto its books.

The issue of information integrity lies close to the hearts of professionals working in
people development and Human Resource management.

In line with corporate governance legislation, businesses are compelled to
document and keep digital records of employees, which includes personal information.

Systems are designed to automatically regulate and correlate this information so
that it is easily retrieved, updated, managed and stored. However, who has access
to this data and when is always foremost in the minds of management.

It is not difficult to find examples of businesses that have experienced security
breaches on their systems or who have had their brands/ Intellectual Property
affected on some level due to hacking activity or the like.

The question begs: if it is discovered that a business’ system is not up to the
mark in terms of security and lags in keeping up to date with trends and
developments, what needs to be done to rectify the situation?

There are two certainties that Schroenn points out. "One is that maintaining the
status quo will not cut it, the other is that change is inevitable and the best
approach to take is to be proactive.'

Solutions must be embraced and strategies implemented. The choice facing
decision makers is not whether or not to change, but how quickly and to what
extent.

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