IT has an ever-changing landscape. New technologies – including everything from virtual desktops to private clouds – increase the complexity of working in the field. Plus, seemingly small missteps can have severe and lasting consequences.
While most tech professionals focus on how to keep their skills fresh as a means of staying relevant in the field, ensuring that you aren’t making critical errors that could jeopardize your career is also essential. If you want to make sure you are secure in your position, here’s how not to get fired from your IT job.
- Prevention Beats a Cure
When it comes to IT security, prevention is worth more substantially than a cure. Even if you have a great system in place to remove malware or assist with data recovery, stopping a negative event before it starts is always the favored option.
Think about it; a single data breach costs an American company nearly $8 million on average. If you cost your employer that much because your prevention methods were noticeably inadequate, do you think you’d have your job tomorrow?
If you want to impress IT management, having a strong record of stopping cyber attacks is a way to do it. Now, this doesn’t mean you should ignore cures entirely, just that prevention should be a primary goal.
- Backup, Backup, Backup
For IT professionals, backing up is critical. It’s a simple way to limit risk, and failing to take this basic precaution can be costly.
Even the smallest change can have a massive impact on IT systems, including everything from private cloud solutions to virtual desktops to IT security mechanisms.
If you plan on making any adjustments, no matter how minute, always backup before you do. That way, if things go terribly wrong, getting back on track is a breeze. Otherwise, you could be left scrambling to solve a problem you created and, depending on the level of damage or inconvenience, that might be harmful to your career.
- Forecast, Check, Recheck
Resource allocation can be tricky. While many IT professionals forecast the company’s needs in advance, failing to check and recheck them to make sure they are accurate can have consequences.
If a forecast is made with inaccurate assumptions or if circumstances change, you could find yourself running from pillar to post while dealing with resource allocation deficiencies. Plus, someone is guaranteed to notice that something is awry.
By double checking all of the forecasts, you can make sure that the plans are reasonable before proceeding.
- Actively Manage Your Team
People are one of a company’s most expensive assets. If your team isn’t working efficiently, they may be taking more time than is necessary to handle their tasks, and that hurts the organization’s bottom line.
While you don’t have to micromanage your team, actively managing them is wise. Keep an eye on how they use their time (especially if you have contractors on board) and make sure they remain on target. This helps lower personnel costs and keep projects within budget, increasing the odds that you’ll be seen as a solid manager.
- Know the Worth of IT Systems
Understanding the realistic worth of your IT infrastructure and security is incredibly important, especially if you are considering an IT solution provider for some or all of your needs. Similarly, knowing the financial impact of a lack of connectivity, a security breach, or insufficient resources is also helpful. It allows you to determine which IT investments are worthwhile, ensuring your recommendations are benefiting the bottom line.
If you don’t have a grasp on the worth of your IT systems, making wise choices is more challenging, and damaging a company’s financial viability is a surefire way to get fired.
- Be a Prepared Pessimist
Allowing optimism to blind you to potential problems or choosing to ignore the risks can quickly get you into trouble. Having a critical system fail because of your actions and not having a plan for recovery could get you fired, especially if you lose important data or otherwise harm the business.
While you don’t want to showcase a pessimistic attitude to your colleagues and managers, being prepared for the worst-case scenario is a smart move. Often, this requires a slightly negative view of the future for the purpose of planning, ensuring you consider the potential poor outcomes and mitigate any risk.
However, once you have a plan in place, feel free to have an optimistic outward attitude regarding whether it will be necessary. After all, you’ve taken steps to protect your company from the worst-case scenario and keep your job safe, and that’s certainly worth smiling over.
Michael Abboud, CEO at TetherView