For over a decade of navigating through the sales process with countless executives, I’ve noticed a similar, large disconnect throughout the layers of organizations.
Yes, we can all probably agree that a successful CEO is one who surrounds his or herself with an experienced staff that can be trusted to handle their respective department(s). But what happens when an executive hires their trusted staff and simply walks away as a result of that confidence & trust?
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve ever heard an executive make the statement, “My IT guys has it covered”, I could close the doors of my business today and retire in Cabo. Conversely, when I speak with the IT person, he/she is expressing to me that they could be doing a much better job and often times don’t have everything handled. When I go back and ask the CEO what would happen if things weren’t so great, who would be responsible for the loss, often times it’s the IT person who earns a permanent vacation which still doesn’t fix the real issue or recover the costs associated with a huge data loss or a significant span of downtime.
Let’s look a little closer and ask ourselves why wouldn’t the IT person in charge have it covered? A couple of reasons come to mind. Maybe the IT manager didn’t know what the loss would cost in terms of dollars or perhaps they asked for the budget and purchased what they were told they could afford but didn’t purchase what they really needed. The pattern of C-level / IT disconnect is starting to form, do you see it?
So, IT needs to step up? Well maybe. But many times, for one reason or another IT can’t get the subject out into the open because they’ve been told to “handle it, I trust you” then we’re back to where we started. The IT director, or manager should feel comfortable approaching corporate leaders and have reasonable access or a process to keep them informed on the risk status for the company. Business continuity, backup & disaster recovery may seem like IT issues but they are real business issues and should be treated as such. Protecting critical data and the ability to recover and continue operating smoothly directly affects the bottom line. You cannot stress this to your IT department enough. They don’t look at the books but you do! Once both segments of the business come to an understanding, a solution can be developed that repairs the C-level/IT disconnect.
Executives often trust because they don’t realize that backing up their data is not good enough, they need a system that is tested and certified that proves the data can be recovered and only then can they really hold the IT department responsible. Developing strong full-proof systems starts at the top.
Executives must open up the budget to protect the most critical asset of their business. Technology manages, records, creates or transacts nearly everything inside of your business. You can start the conversation by comparing the cost of protection to the cost of loss.
The CEO who’s totally hands off, could be one-delete-key away from his company taking a huge financial hit just from a data loss event. Don’t get me wrong, a CEO needs to trust who they hire, but also needs to check-in (not check-on) with their staff to make sure they understand the how critical it is protect the company’s data.
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Paul Franks is CEO and Co-founder of ThinkGard. He has over 20 years of Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Services experience.