Frequently Asked Questions

For specific answers to your questions, or for more information about pricing and availability, contact Mike Foster online or call 1-800-657-7107.

Click the text links below to read FAQs for executive professionals or IT professionals.

FAQs for Executive Professionals

As an executive, should I feel confident my IT professional has it all under control?

Some executives say, "I am already paying an IT professional to take care of IT; why should I have to pay for someone else to make sure the IT department is doing what I am already paying them to do?" They think every IT professional should know all there is to know about IT.

Think about it. That thought-process is much like saying, "I am paying my general practitioner already, why does he want me to see a specialist to perform my open heart surgery? If I hire the heart surgeon, can he repair my knee too at the same time?"

As a skilled, experienced systems engineer and enterprise security specialist, Mike understands that YOU want strategic, practical, and useful IT security information in an easy-to-understand format. Mike will provide you and your IT professionals practical insights and relevant IT security solutions that will help protect your business!

Is it worth it to pay for a review? Won't a review cost too much money?

You might be surprised at how economical a review is. Also, how expensive is it to have a security breach and/or for your team to be less productive if they are using older methods?

The good news is that often, as long as you already have modern hardware and software in place, the purchases you will make from your vendors after the review will be minimal. Mike will show you how to use what you already own. Mike will provide a third-party input on buying decisions as someone who isn't trying to sell the hardware/software. It is very easy to make the wrong choices with technology and a wrong choice can be very expensive.

Sometimes I feel some level of "technological inadequacy" when talking to my IT professional, so how can I make sure the important questions get asked and not avoided?

Mike will have those conversations with the IT professionals either in the presence of, or on behalf of, the executives. That way, the important questions get asked, and both the IT professionals and executives address the most important IT challenges companies face.

Some organizations have gone through many IT professionals, in-house or outsourced, and now their network is a jumble of what other professionals have put together. How can this situation be improved?

IT professionals are often well meaning and highly trained, but they are spread thin working on many projects. Mike can help you hold outside IT professionals/ consultants accountable if you "wouldn't know how to tell if they are doing it right or not."

My IT professionals talk about fixing the issues "first thing tomorrow" (after they fix today's burning issue), but every "tomorrow" has some new crisis to fix. How can I make sure all of the important tasks get taken care of?

Mike will show your IT professional how to resolve this problem AND help the IT professional finish projects on time and in budget.

I'm afraid to upset my IT professionals. How can I have a review when I fear the negative reactions my IT professionals might have?

After Mike's presentation, executives would charge back to their IT professionals and say "These are things you ought to know about!"

The IT professional responds, "Yes. And also these and these and these items. Yes. I know, Boss. Everybody has known since they first came out."

At which point the CEO slinks off with his tail between his legs muttering "never mind."

If the executive understood all about technology, they could ask the next important question, "Why haven't you been doing those and the other 300 things we need to do?"

It is important to have an independent third party IT best practices specialist to be there for the executive to facilitate the conversation that follows the executive's second question. Both sides will have important issues to bring up for resolution, and the answers need to be the best solutions using the hardware and software you have already invested in.

If you use a third-party vendor for IT Security & Best Practices, why do you need your security review?

Because you only call your third-party IT Vendor to come in to put out fires. Unless you've asked them to, they have likely never done a thorough analysis to see what needs to be fixed. With your IT Vital Systems review, you'll have a roadmap detailing the steps to take to improve your security and use of IT Best Practices.

If you already have qualified IT professionals on staff, why do you need your IT Vital Systems Security & Best Practices review too?

Most IT team members are very busy working on other projects for your company. They don't have the opportunity to spend their time attending security training and visiting other organizations discovering the best current security techniques. Having a specialist that focuses on keeping up-to-date on security risks just makes good sense. Most IT professionals welcome a third-party specialist assessment with suggestions to take network security to the next level.

Your IT team also appreciates the IT vital systems review because Mike can be an advocate to help them feel understood by the CFO and other executives.

What is the best way to introduce the IT Vital Systems Security and Best Practices Review to your IT team?

Use these words...

In the interest of taking our IT to the next level, I have found a specialist with 20 years of experience successfully reviewing vital IT systems. He will provide a suggested roadmap and mentoring about how we can increase our security and follow even more IT best practices. He lets you, the IT professional(s), be the hero.

Why do executives love the IT Vital Systems and Best Practices Security Review?

The executives feel they have a better grasp on the whole IT situation. Normally, IT can be a very frustrating area for CEO's since they know how much the organization depends upon IT yet IT is often something they don't understand well. With the IT Vital Systems and Best Practices Security review, even the CEO's and other executives who already have 100% confidence and trust in their IT professionals, be they in-house and/or outsourced, get to have a greater understanding of the IT situation, provide input into the priorities for existing projects and remediation of opportunities discovered during the review, and see what the next steps are.

Some executives find it uncomfortable to talk with their IT professionals since the material is so complicated. After the review, all executives report that they feel a higher level of comfort and trust towards IT. Even the executives that already enjoyed a comfort level in this communication see a notable increase! The IT professionals appreciate this too.

The executives gain an unbiased resource to answer their questions about IT issues without having to put their own IT professional on the spot. Sometimes it is nice to have an independent third party (Mike) review proposals and price estimates from your own IT vendors.

Often times Mike can help organizations avoid some of the "we didn't think of that" pitfalls other organizations have suffered. Same with the "someone who worked here before me set that up" problems.

Executives sometimes learn new ways to support their IT teams and allow them to get more done in less time without spending any more money.

See the multiple testimonials from other executives for more benefits. After you experience it once, you'll want Mike's valuable input from now on!

FAQS for IT Professionals

Why do IT Professionals love the security review?

Most IT team members are very busy working on other projects for your company. They don't have the opportunity to spend their time attending security training and visiting other organizations discovering the best current security techniques and other IT Best Practices. Mike does this, brings the best knowledge directly to IT professionals, and delivers it in a fast and targeted method, tailored just to their network.

This allows IT teams to gain a large amount of specific knowledge in a short period of time, described in Mike's fun and easy to understand manner. Mike is able to answer questions for them that apply to their network & systems. This ultimately allows the technical team to sleep better at night, feeling more confident about the security of the network. Listen to Mike's message to IT professionals.

Should the IT professionals fear they will lose their job after the security review?

Absolutely not. Mike's mission is to stop the hackers of the world and help companies get the most from their IT investment. In order to do that effectively, companies need strong IT professionals on their team. Mike's mission is to empower IT Professional(s) to start recognizing and correcting even more security vulnerabilities, and benefit from following IT best practices.

During the review Mike will provide volumes of information and resources for the IT professional(s). The review has nothing to do with "who" is right, and everything to do with "what" is right.

Can your users keep working during the review?

Yes, your servers will be left "up" during the review. We may "spot check" some machines, so some of your users might not have the use of their workstation for half an hour or so, but other than that, you will be functioning in a "business as usual" mode. Some of the research may be done ahead of time by your own IT professionals.

Is your network too small to need a review?

Mike has reviewed networks with less than 10 users and with more than 3000 users and the clients are always very pleased with the measured benefits after the review. So much so, that many organizations repeat the review yearly or even more often.

Will your IT team need to defend themselves and give reasons for what they are doing now?

Absolutely no defense needed; the review is all about cooperation.

The purpose of the review is for Mike to be a helper / assistant / mentor / ally who is there to help. He has the benefit of working with other excellent companies on security issues and best practices, and then brings in those ideas so you can put them to work too.

The IT Vital System Security and Best Practices Review is designed to empower your existing IT team to take care of the issues themselves. Listen to Mike's message to your IT team about outside IT contractors.

Who should be participate in the security review?

The IT Vital Systems Review includes research and communication with Mike and your IT Professionals followed by an on-site visit. After the on-site visit, you will receive a report of findings with a prioritized list of instructions to take your IT to the next level. In addition, you and your IT Professionals (in-house and out-sourced) will have access to Mike for a full year. Mike can review proposals and answer other questions for your IT professionals related to the review.

Professionals who should participate in the on-site visit include:

  • Kick-off portion: Your IT Professionals (in-house and/or outsourced) and any executives who wish to be present, including the CEO, CFO, COO, mangers, etc for the first 15 minutes or so. Sometimes CEO/Owners who outsource their IT work do not want the outsourced people at the meeting, and that is okay.
  • Review portion: Then Mike can work with the IT Professional(s) as needed. The executives are welcome to be present the entire time, or "pop in and out" of the meeting as their time allows.
  • Debriefing: At the end of the review, we should all meet together again, the IT Professionals and the CEO/CFO/COO/etc for the debriefing.
If you have any questions, please contact The Foster Institute or call 1-800- 657-7107.