Technology basics

Oct 17, 2021

These fundamentals are an important part of your firm’s healthy diet.

My appreciation for vegetables came later in life. I’m no expert in good nutrition, but I’m sure that eating some fruits and veggies, drinking water, and watching the empty calories are all part of a healthy diet. These nutritional basics aren’t as exciting as bacon-wrapped bacon, and they can be easy to forget.

Zweig Group cares about nutrition, so consider this a reminder to “eat your spinach.”

Threats to the continuity of your firm’s operations are all around you. Hackers and assorted bad actors want to deny you access to your networks and use them for their own purposes. They want to hold files hostage and extract ransom. You don’t have time for that! Your clients won’t have the patience to deal with your downtime, and your employees want to do their work without these interruptions.

You are probably entrusting your technology infrastructure to skilled professionals, and that’s smart. But you are still responsible for the hardware, software, and networks that your staff depend on. If you haven’t talked to your professionals lately about the IT basics at your firm, please get something on the calendar today. Here are 10 questions to get the conversation flowing, those basics covered, and the threats mitigated.

Hardware and software:

  1. Are your systems (servers, laptops, firewalls, switches, Wi-Fi access points) up to date with the latest OS and manufacturers’ updates and are you keeping up with security bulletins?
  2. What is your hardware replacement policy, and are you executing on that? (Hint: Your staff love getting new laptops! Consider a three-year replacement cycle.)
  3. Are your staff all using the same, up-to-date versions of your productivity tools and professional software?


  1. Are your internet services up to the task of serving in-office and remote users?
  2. How many employees have complained about poor internet at home? (Another hint: Figure out how to help!)


  1. How is your critical data getting backed up? Do you have onsite and offsite backups? (Your facilities are still subject to disasters like fire, flooding, and power problems.)
  2. How often are you conducting test restore operations? A backup isn’t a backup unless it can be used when needed.
  3. Do you have anti-malware/virus protection installed on every system, is the protection up-to-date, and do you run scheduled scans frequently?
  4. What are your password and two-factor authentication policies and are they being enforced?
  5. How often do you remind your staff about the elements of good computer security hygiene?

There are a billion issues competing for the attention of AEC leaders and their IT professionals. Occasionally – and maybe more often than that – you should go back to the basics. Grab some carrot and celery sticks and review fundamental technology status and policy with your team – today.

Tom Godin is a strategic planning advisor with Zweig Group. Contact him at

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.