Blog / Plugging Technology Gaps with Traffic Lights
Prioritize filling technology gaps using a straightforward approach.
Although advancing technology has been a boon to productivity, particularly over the past few decades as the pace of advances continues to accelerate, it’s important to remember that not all technologies are made equal. Even the ones developed to ameliorate the same pain points often have different value propositions depending on the use case; the best budgeting software for small businesses may not be ideal for non-profits or different government departments, after all. There’s also been a dizzying array of new products hitting the market and it’s impossible to keep track of them all. As a result, it’s possible that “technology gaps” have developed in your IT program, potentially costing you money and even leaving you open to cyber-attacks.
Why is filling technology gaps so important?
There are plenty of different reasons to locate and patch gaps in your technology, but we’ve pulled together the three we feel are most relevant:
- Improved security/reduced liability—What you don’t know can hurt you, and ignorance is no excuse. No knowing there’s a shortcoming in your IT program isn’t an excuse regulators are likely to accept. Plug the gaps in your technology before they turn into a breach and cost you more than it would have to fix the problem in the first place.
- Better bottom lines—Finding holes in your processes and filling them with better ones can help streamline procedures and reduce waste.
- Make better decisions—The best decisions are made with the best data, and you can’t get a clear picture of your technology if you have holes in the picture. Finding and plugging technology gaps will help you make better strategy decisions going forward.
The traffic light approach.
Because they can develop without your realizing it, technology gaps can sometimes be hard to find. There are several methods to do so, some more formalized than others. Even a new app spread by simple word-of-mouth can clue you in to better, more productive ways of leveraging technology. However, although there are different ways to identify them, by far the best method is to complete a technology audit specifically designed to locate these technological holes.
Unfortunately, auditing technology will expose your gaps, but may not provide any insight on how to address them. However, there is one common method, knowns as the traffic light approach, that can be used to differentiate between them and help produce a plan for tackling each. In fact, it’s pretty straightforward and uses the same three colours used on traffic control lights.
Red represents critical gaps or issues that require immediate attention, including:
- unsecured remote access,
- unauthorized network users (including past employees whose login credentials still work, or third parties that no longer require access), and
- undocumented operating procedures, particularly when required by law or as part of cyber-insurance agreements.
Yellow gaps, although not critical, still represent a substantial though not urgent threat to your business and bottom line. These gaps can include:
- insufficient authentications for MFA security,
- outdated antivirus software or other older, unapplied security patches, and
- automated patching system failures that likely caused your security patches to age out to begin with.
It’s likely easy to guess the priority of green gaps by now, and you’d be right. They’re not mission critical. That doesn’t mean they can’t provide value or some other tangible benefit for your organization, but they should definitely be put aside until urgent red and important yellow gaps have been filled. Gaps in this category include:
- account passwords that never expire,
- computers and OSs that are about to age out,
- employees with more privileges than needed to carry out their jobs, and
- problems syncing data between devices.
These are just a few examples of gaps that you may find during an audit, but none are exhaustive lists. We also had the luxury of writing this post in a directed fashion, so got to come up with the examples. However, your own audit may reveal other issues that might not fit so succinctly into these categories. If you’re looking for help identifying and prioritizing technology gaps in your own organization, or would like to know more about how to fill them and get the most value from your IT budget, consider consulting with a TRINUS technology expert. We’ll be happy to help you find the best solutions for your organization and help you implement them.