What are IT Standards?

Is “Fine” Really OK?

A recurring frustration we hear from potential clients is that their current IT company provides reactive support but falls short on proactive tasks and strategic initiatives.  The result is that symptoms are chased but problems are rarely solved.  A technology roadmap is nowhere to be found.

There is an alternative from “fine” or “good enough” if you want better results from your technology and support.  And it all starts with Standards.

What’s a Standard?

Authoritative bodies define standards to help solve problems. Standards often meet the following criteria: introduce a recurring solution to an existing problem and receive mass adoption by the majority followed by implementation.  These qualities apply to standards across all industry types.

Standards prevent operational inefficiencies in clients by streamlining operations, support, and the decision-making process.  Aligning clients with standards and best practices yields predictable resultsThe result is more efficient employees and less risk to the organization.

In a world changed by COVID-19, standards and alignment are more important now than ever. The increase in personnel working from home exposed serious security flaws giving threat actors a new approach to confiscating sensitive data. Cybersecurity and the practice of implementing security measures—internally and externally—is at an all-time high.

How Do We Develop Standards?

Developing standards from scratch is a daunting task. You need to research the appropriate frameworks or compliance requirements, format them to be usable, then choose what to keep. Standards often fall into three categories: statutory or regulatory law, frameworks (NIST and CIS), and industry best practices.

Doing something “because that’s how it was always done” is the worst method of creating standards. Information passed through various employees, known as tribal knowledge, becomes lost in translation as it moves through the ranks. Tribal knowledge is verbal and changes over time with no formal documentation. Standards and best practices have written requirements and documenting them is mandatory.

Why AT-NET?

Since 1999, AT-NET has refined a proven process for managing technology based on standards.  Our standards committee regularly reviews and adjusts them based on experience, changing risks in the marketplace as well as guidance from regulatory law and frameworks.

The key to our technology success process is two-fold:  We assign a resource dedicated to standards and alignment (Technical Alignment Manager) and another resource dedicated to strategic initiatives (vCIO).  By combining both dedicated resources and a support team that is second to none, it allows us to deliver predictable results:  more efficient employees and less risk.

Other providers help you manage crises; our goal is to help you prevent them.  And it all starts with Standards.

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At AT-NET, we are in the People business.