Desired Business Characteristics

This policies and procedures guide has been organized to consider desired business characteristics along with business functions and the relative importance of the various policies. Desired business characteristics include:

  • Productivity/Efficiency - High efficiency and productivity to support the business functionality to its customers and stakeholders.
  • Security - Confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and services to authorized parties only.
  • Reliability - Reliable service and continued production of the business product(s).
  • Legal - Compliance with laws.
  • Quality - High quality of products and services to keep customers and stakeholders happy.

Productivity combined with efficiency and sales should produce profits since costs should be minimum. This document does not address sales and some other business aspects since it focuses on security, reliability, and quality which should help produce the other required business aspects.

Business Resources Used to Provide Characteristics

  • Users (Labor)
  • Data
  • Equipment - Network, servers, hardware tools.
  • Facilities - Building/Land
  • Money/Costs
  • Services - Internal and external
  • Tools - Software/Applications
  • Business Policies and Processes

Supporting Activities and Structure

  • Training - Keeps employees less likely to make mistakes and more efficient.
  • IT Structure, interrelationships, and communications - Keeps groups working well together.
  • Business processes - Business processes must be developed with inclusion of all groups affected. Developing processes in a vacuum causes disasters.
  • High level management - The job of high level management is:
    • Planning - Management must constantly plan and look for ways to make the organization more efficient. For example, when managing an IT group our help desk was overwhelmed and requests were overrunning the IT department. We looked for any change that would most reduce the IT workload. A network change was made which drastically reduced the number of virus infections, reducing the load on the help desk. This allowed the IT department, without increasing staff, to plan for new threats and requirements rather than attempting to catch up.
    • Setting direction - Review and approve large projects, budgets, and schedules. Establish priorities.
    • Communication and Coordination - Upper management must help coordinate activities of groups which they manage and sometimes groups outside their management chain (while keeping chain of command informed). They must be sure communication is effective.
    • Ensure processes are fixed when broken - They must use auditing and feedback from those in their groups to find broken or poorly communicated processes and remediate the situation.
    • Empower others (delegation) - If your upper management is too busy, it is likely that there is not enough delegation of authority. Managers should never micromanage.

Important:

Items of importance to keep the organization effective and efficient.

  • Inventory of systems, applications, and authorities such as administrators of systems or applications
  • Auditing to be sure processes and policies are being followed
  • Change control so help desk is aware of changes if something breaks. The business function must also be aware of changes and approve them before they are made.
  • Resource availability tracking - To ensure new projects have enough resources to complete them.
  • Determine (types of tasks) where each department is spending most of their time and take actions to increase efficiency in those areas.
  • Follow fundamental security principles before getting fancy.

A Few Fundamental Procedures:

  • Change process
  • Daily server checking
  • Account management
  • Server updates

A Few Tools:

  • For tracking training
  • For tracking system inventory (asset tracking)
  • Library system for software tracking
  • For tracking business processes
  • For tracking active problems such as networking or virus.

Implementing the policies, procedures, and business structure which ensures that communication is efficient and effective will help your organization effectively utilize resources to produce desired results in an efficient manner.