How You Can Future-Proof Your Business for 2019
With technology increasingly dominating the social and business landscape, it’s high time you future-proof your business before you get left behind. The business world is changing more and evolving faster today than at any other time in history. And in order to survive, businesses must start preparing for the changes that are coming their way. What follows are a few ideas of how your business can increase efficiency, reduce costs, improve collaboration and reach – all by embracing modern technology.
It doesn’t matter the size of the business, technology is an ever increasingly key aspect of daily operations. Unfortunately, when looking at the technical infrastructure that underpins their business, SME’s often lack formal budgets and as result quite often have trouble keeping pace with refresh requirements and user demand for new functionality. And while some of the larger businesses generally do have formal budgets, they too, find it difficult to budget for any technological refresh and for technologies that are on a ‘new but needed’ list. In essence, SMEs and larger businesses alike are struggling to keep pace with the emerging requirements associated with the rapid pace of today’s digital transformation, which are demanding additional IT deployments throughout their organisations.
Increasingly, businesses are now much more likely to be looking at Security, Cloud, Mobility and Managed Services, along with Analytics and some form of Unified Communication solutions to help deal with the increasing speed of technical change in today’s world. In all cases, securing a cost-effective means of meeting these sets of requirements, including the need to access any number of ‘XaaS’ or Managed Services offerings that provide near-term benefit on a pay as you go basis, without needing CAPEX allocations, is a perfect starting point.
The biggest reason cited for either doing nothing or for delaying the decision to act for another day is that oft cited phrase ‘budget constraints’. But in today’s technical world, this no longer needs to be the case – SME’s that adopt a different view toward outsourcing can help them act ‘big’ by enabling their businesses to access similar technology and expertise that large companies enjoy, giving them both the scale and security needed to survive today. Indeed, partnering with an independent MSP can give your company a distinct competitive advantage.
The table compiles data from CIO Tech, Gartner and Captera surveys, highlighting those areas that of most important to businesses and IT departments in the coming year. It’s very clear that for the business, 2019 centres around the perennial concerns of improving productivity, lowering costs and increasing revenue and profits. But, in order to make this happen, IT continues to play a crucial role – in particular around the areas of a company’s Network, the adoption of Cloud and Cloud-based applications, Data Management, Security and Compliance (Data Loss and Protection), and Big Data / Analytics.
In order to future-proof your business, focussing on just a few of the above areas will have a significant positive impact on your business moving forward.
The downside of this new digitalised world is that IT networks are under constant threat from automated and targeted attacks. We see this on a daily basis with the pro-active monitoring we do. This threat is not a reason to avoid improving productivity through technology, but it’s important for you to work with partners that take security very seriously. This is particularly so now that we have entered the GDPR age, where the financial implications of a data breach are now much more serious.
Security will ALWAYS be a top worry in any given year. Simply consider the evidence from 2018. Hacks. Trolls. Election manipulation. Leaks. Threats. Extortion. Surveillance. Website shutdowns. Stolen customer data. Infrastructure threats. It’s clear that these events will not decrease in 2019 or beyond. And the issue of cybersecurity is not simply reserved for big-name businesses.
Research in the US shows that cyberattacks can cost small businesses from $84,000 to $148,000 per incident and that 60% of SMBs that are hacked go out of business within six months of a serious breach.
It is important for management to have a firm understanding of the technology and processes that can leave them vulnerable and how best to protect their business. Ultimately there are three major reasons you need to ensure cybersecurity is built into your IT infrastructure and software as standard: to protect corporate assets; to protect the company’s reputation; and to meet legal obligations. Ignoring cybersecurity is no longer an option, as any failure, no matter how small, has the potential to put you out of business.
Thanks to widespread heavy social media use (and misuse!) of this data, continuous data breaches, demands for account passwords from travellers, concerns about secretive state-run surveillance, some high profile EU court cases and a consequent acceleration in popular awareness, the general public and the business world have never been as aware of privacy issues as they are now.
Privacy in 2019 will therefore be big. Despite its importance, data protection and recovery are often overlooked and unfortunately, poorly invested in. But as we move through 2019 business leaders need to start thinking seriously about data protection – it may not be the most exciting of IT conversations, but it is an essential business-saving one, nonetheless.
Cloud will become the de facto standard to run the digital enterprise. Except in some highly regulated sectors, there is no strong compelling argument not to move to Cloud-based services and benefit from scale, agility, and speed that this brings. The rise of Cloud service adoption is encouraging businesses to move to a secure digital workspace platform, swapping desktops for internet browsers. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications have created today’s work-from-anywhere culture, giving your employees the ability to securely access work from any device.
The Cloud can deliver a consistent, near-native experience no matter what application is being paired with which device. This enables better collaboration, increased productivity and satisfied users who are not chained to a particular location or device.
IT Management is also much easier in the Cloud – applications are much faster to deploy, and maintenance is taken care of. Your Cloud provider manages the software updates, patches, upgrades, licencing, etc…. practically future-proofing your investment. The Cloud lets you get out of the low value parts of IT in your business, so you can focus on those things that really drive the organisation forward.
While new technologies present powerful opportunities for businesses, they also introduce challenges. The pace of change in IT is unprecedented. No longer can IT departments standardise on one or two computer models, a single operating system, or a short list of approved applications. The mobile devices and Cloud-based technologies that have brought so much possibility have also introduced a hodgepodge of devices, platforms and apps for IT departments to manage and secure.
For many organisations, those challenges add up to significant expenses: the cost of hiring and training qualified workers, purchasing the infrastructure to support emerging technologies, and keeping systems up to date and secure. Rather than struggle to keep pace with technology, many organisations turn to Managed Services providers for help. By trusting a third party to handle Cloud deployments, data centre solutions, mobile initiatives, collaboration tools and security, etc., organisations can focus their time and resources on core business objectives rather than routine (and often mind-numbing) activities such as system maintenance, repairs, patching and upgrades. The speed of disruption across all industries over the next five years is going to require every business to digitally transform and find ways to better deliver products and solutions to their own clients. Understanding how your underlying IT infrastructure can help deliver this are the conversations you should be having with your IT team or Managed Service Provider.
Managed Services Providers have at the core of their business model service delivery excellence and invest heavily in achieving and nurturing that capability. By partnering with a quality Managed Services Provider, business and IT teams are freed to focus on how to utilise technology to add value to their organisations, secure in the knowledge that effective and efficient execution is under contract.
The technology landscape is constantly changing – ensuring that the work your IT department does today will not require a complete overhaul a year from now is a more complex task than ever before. Technology has literally changed every aspect of the way any business operates and never before in history has that change occurred so fast. New trends in technology do not just do away with routine work, they also radically redesign the way businesses operate. Online, seamless, integrated, flexible, simple and intuitive collaboration tools play a dominant role in workplaces by enabling business flexibility, new product/service deliveries, and innovative capabilities.
Due to this inevitable disruption, it is imperative that business adopt management systems to standardise core business operations, creating superior competitive advantages and opportunities for uniquely-created customer experiences. Not to do so will significantly increase the chances of your business becoming a casualty in today’s new IT revolution.
Talk to us to learn how business management solutions can help future proof your business by standardising your core IT operations, allowing you to focus on what really matters – managing your business!
Syscomm is a Managed IT Services provider with a difference, offering a range of Cloud, Data Security, Network provision and fully Managed IT Services to help your business compete, collaborate and grow.
Find out what we can do for your business.
Visit www.syscomm.co.uk or call 0247 771 2000