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The New Way of Working Needs a New Approach to IT

New Approach to IT

The past year may have gifted employees with a wonderful new way of working, but it has presented business owners and executives with a series of challenges when it comes to IT and IT Support. First, there was the rush to go remote. Now, as the dust settles, business owners must ensure employees are able to work efficiently, systems can be managed remotely and the ever-increasing threat of cybersecurity is mitigated as much as possible.

As I’m sure you are well aware, cybersecurity is the biggest IT problem facing businesses right now. The vast majority of leaders are unsure what to do except throw money at the problem. But this is not the answer. 

The new way of working necessitates a new approach to IT. One that involves putting your business first, working closely with IT departments and thinking strategically about the future. This new approach won’t just save you money. It will put your business in a better position to survive and thrive in the future. 

Technology Was the Saving Grace for Businesses

IT departments and third-party experts have more than proven their value over the past 12 months. The first six to nine months were incredibly reactive. Survival was the name of the game, and it would be fair to say that many businesses wouldn’t still be here without technology. 

Research by McKinsey shows the extent to which business operations changed during the pandemic. Remote working, for instance, accelerated by a factor of 43. The use of advanced technology in operations increased by a factor of 25 and the migration of assets to the cloud increased by a factor of 24.

 

 

Businesses everywhere adopted new software and purchased new equipment. IT departments rushed to get secure VPNs, softphones and other secure lines of communication in place. There wasn’t much time, but there was a heck of a lot of work. 

But now it’s time to face facts and realise this isn’t a passing phase. It’s been over a year, and remote working looks less like a flash in the pan and more like a feature of working life. The way employees want to work has changed, and it’s unlikely to change back in the near future. 

 

More Technology is Not the Answer

What are businesses doing to prepare themselves and protect their company for the new way of working? In most cases, the answer seems to be spending more on technology. Gartner forecasts the worldwide public end-user cloud spending to grow by 18% in 2021, for instance. 

The Flexera 2021 State of Tech Spend Report found that 49% of IT executives expect IT budgets to increase in 2021. Over half (57%) of respondents said there had been a slight or significant increase in money spent on Software-as-a-Service products.

 

 

As an IT Support company, we are very aware of all the products and services out there. There are some fantastic solutions available and we are huge advocates of working with our customers to take advantage of them. 

However, we are also aware that many businesses might not be fortunate enough to have the knowledge or budget to support a raft of new technologies. That’s why we are cautioning against this kind of knee-jerk approach to technology adoption. Instead, we’re working with our clients to discover what they really need to drive their business forward in the right direction.

Create a Strategy that Works for Your Business

You can’t work out which tech products and solutions are going to benefit your business without first identifying how you want to operate your business right now and where you want to take it in the future. 

Will you be working from home for the foreseeable future or is getting back to the office a priority? Will staff levels stay consistent or is a hiring spree on the horizon? Do you actually enjoy using the tools you open every day or are employees fed up with how you operate?

We are not advocating for a seachange approach. Not all of the technology businesses adopted at haste last year will need to be thrown out. Some additions are probably much needed and welcomed. Nor will businesses need to buy a raft of new technology to supplement their new way of working. 

Instead, we urge businesses to take the time right now to assess their overarching IT strategy. Infrastructure, cybersecurity initiatives, software, put it all on the table and think about how each part of your strategy works for you. 

Most importantly, businesses need to assess how they store, protect and access data. Data is the essence of modern businesses, and without access to data most would be dead in the water. It doesn’t matter what you sell, whether it’s a product or a service, information is the lifeblood of your business whether you know it or not. 

All of these factors should be looked at from a business perspective. If the technology doesn’t help your business forward, then you don’t need to pay for it. That’s true even if it’s the latest and coolest piece of software on the market. The more moving parts in your IT strategy, the more risk of error you are inviting in.

Address the Threats Your Business Faces

As well as making your IT infrastructure work for you and contribute toward business goals, it’s important to make sure you are protecting your business and the information that powers it. 

Case in point, a lot of businesses were fortunate enough not to be exposed to the Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities, but they can’t take this laissez-faire approach in the future.   

A core trait of any successful business in the 21st century is to approach IT systems thinking getting attacked is a case of when not if. Businesses should do their utmost to mitigate against cyberattacks. While we would love to say we can protect a business completely, it’s simply unrealistic. Businesses bigger than you and smaller than you get hit by attacks every day. 

Instead, businesses must focus on minimising their attack footprint. The trouble is, the new way of working has probably made your business easier to attack than ever before. Now’s the time to fix these issues, too. At the same time, professional services businesses should make sure they are adhering to any new requests from regulatory bodies when it comes to protecting their and their client's data.

A combination of technology and human resources will be needed to tackle this problem. IT departments can make cloud-based servers more secure and make using business-owned computers mandatory, but your employees can still be a chink in your armour. 

While no business would employ malicious individuals, humans are fallible. Ongoing cybersecurity training is essential to keep good digital hygiene at the forefront of their minds, especially if they’re working from home. 
 

Build the Future of Your Business, Not Your Tech Stack

It’s fun and easy to buy new tools to help your business work better. But it’s also incredibly expensive and can complicate your IT infrastructure to the point where new tools actually inhibit productivity rather than improve it. 

So, before you buy a new tool, or cloud server, or device, take time to think about your broader business goals and whether your IT strategy actually supports them right now. New tools probably aren’t the answer. A new approach to IT is.

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