Expert Interview Series: Haley Montgomery of TekLinks on Managing Your Technology Infrastructure
by Michael Fiorenza on December 2, 2016
Haley Montgomery is the Director of Marketing & Partner Development at TekLinks, where she plans and implements the internal and external marketing strategy for the company.
We recently talked to Haley about cloud computing, IT security and IT innovations she's following today. Here's what she had to say:
How has the IT support you offer evolved since TekLinks was founded? How has your mission changed?
TekLinks was founded on our Engineering expertise. We began with hiring the best and brightest in our area and continue to expand our staff and their knowledge. Soon after, TekLinks began selling the equipment we were so well-versed in servicing, so we added Value-Added Resale to our portfolio. Most recently, we began offering Managed and Cloud Services through our six data center locations. I think the evolution of TekLinks speaks to the foresight of our leaders to adapt and change as our industry does the same. Our mission to make IT work for business and listening to our customers has not changed and, in fact, has allowed us to continue to grow.
What are the most common pain points or frustrations you're helping your clients with today?
I think the rapid change in how technology is being used and the ability to keep up with that change is one of the biggest challenges our clients face.
With limited staff and resources, it is hard for most companies to stay up to speed on everything they need to know about their technology and infrastructure. They rely heavily on the knowledge and expertise of TekLinks to guide them through. Security is also a really big area of focus for our customers. We are consistently educating customers on new risks and how they can ensure their company data is secure.
When it comes to technology, what would you like to see more of your clients doing today to prepare for the future?
The biggest thing I think clients can do is to be proactive when it comes to technology. Whether it is a security breach, infrastructure upgrade or employee educations, many businesses are reactive instead of stopping or preventing problems before they occur. And truth be told, it is not "IF" something happens, but "WHEN." By implementing some very reasonable technology solutions on the forefront can save tons of time and money later.
What are the most common security weaknesses you're observing in businesses today? What should they be doing to correct them?
We are finding that employees are actually the biggest weakness to most any company's security. This is not to say our clients don't have great employees, but many businesses do not have a plan in place for BYOD (bring your own device) and ensuring sensitive company information cannot be obtained outside of the business infrastructure. We are also seeing an overall lack of employee education when it comes to security practices, so many don't even know they are violating any rules by keeping their desktop open in public spaces or writing all of their passwords under their keyboards.
What's one piece of advice related to IT security you find yourself repeating over and over?
To repeat my earlier comment ... it is not IF a security breach attempt will happen but WHEN. Companies really need to assess their risks and put a plan in place to mitigate those risks. There are a ton of affordable options for monitoring and threat detection that will help clients stay on top of security.
What are the common growing pains you observe in companies that move from legacy systems to more cloud-based IT systems and services?
A lot of companies have a little trepidation about moving their entire infrastructure to the cloud. And in many cases, we do not recommend an entire overhaul of legacy systems. Instead, we like to assess a company's infrastructure and applications and find out the best place for each of those business applications to "live." This may be a combination of on-premise equipment/solutions and some off-premise solutions in the cloud. And in some cases, moving everything to a cloud environment may make the most sense. Every company is different, so it is important we take all of their needs into consideration.
What are best practices for companies when it comes to moving to cloud-based storage or backup? What do they need to know about the process? What considerations should they make before making the switch from a legacy system?
The best practice for companies looking to move to cloud-based storage/backup would be to first take inventory of what they currently use/have. A company would need to take a close look at their data and determine WHAT data they have (is some more sensitive than others, etc.), HOW OFTEN they need to access the data and HOW FREQUENTLY that storage would change/grow. These are all considerations that need to happen prior to a move. The best solution may differ depending on these answers.
What IT innovations, trends or headlines excite you right now? Why do they interest you?
IoT (Internet of Things) interests me most right now. It is really exciting to see technology that can really improve the efficiencies in our everyday life. Imagine if the garbage men knew exactly when your trash was full and could optimize their route depending on who needs a pick up. It would make their jobs more efficient and it would make things much more convenient for the consumer. Same with the home automation that is happening right now. It is comforting to know you can turn off a light with a touch of a button on your smart phone if you so choose. I think these efficiencies are going to improve the lives of many in the future.
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