We’ve just entered a new year—2021! Everyone is hopeful this year will be much better than the last year. 2020 was filled with all types of problems, with the pandemic featuring predominantly in our lives each day. In fact, it’s quite literally changed our lives most levels.
Not only were our lives affected, but our work has also been drastically affected by the pandemic. Many of us were thrown into chaos driven by lockdowns, the need to work remotely, and more. All types of business decisions were also affected, with many not knowing what the new rules would be the next day.
We bring this up to remind you that now is the best time to reassess your IT infrastructure, applications, and more. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the more common IT issues, and what you can do to be ready for whatever this new year happens to bring.
Two Main Challenges Many Businesses are Facing
As a result of the pandemic, most businesses are facing two main challenges. They are:
- Reduce risk: by increasing security, and staying compliant
- Increase profit: by being more productive
These are issues that are extremely important and need to be addressed quickly. Otherwise, your business could face certain extraordinary problems. For instance, by not addressing point #1, your business may experience loss of:
What do these issues ultimately cause? Loss of revenue. This is a time when most businesses have been hit by loss of revenue—can you afford to suffer an even greater loss of revenue?
What Risks are Leading to These Challenges?
There are four main risks that are causing these issues:
1). Ineffective use of resources: almost all businesses have felt the impact of the pandemic on their resources. For instance, many businesses have had to downsize their workforce, which has led to production and other issues with operations.
2). Industry regulation & legislation: legal compliance is still necessary, even during a pandemic. Not staying in compliance can lead to some large fines that take a hefty portion of a company’s earnings. By not being compliant, your company also faces potential legal prosecution, and more. Compliance is a requirement, even in hard times.
3). Cyber threats: are increasing and have become worse during the pandemic. The result is loss of sensitive data, network failure, and more. The threats have also become more varied. While criminals are still using phishing, malware, and ransomware, they’re also busy coming up with new ways to steal valuable data. And the attacks are becoming more sophisticated.
Cyber attacks and theft of data not only make it more difficult to run your business. The business also suffers from loss of reputation and trust, which could further lead to loss of customers, and revenue.
4). Not staying relevant: when your company falls behind and becomes stagnant, the result can be a loss of productivity, as well as loss of revenue. When a business doesn’t stay up to date with technology and modern methods, the result is a decrease in productivity, customers, and more.
In fact, by not staying relevant, a company runs the danger of customers leaving for the competition. Who wants to stay behind with a business that runs in a time bubble from the past?
But how can you fix these issues as we start the new year?
How to Solve the Issues from 2020?
Technology is the main way to move forward and tackle the challenges outlined above. In fact, your business can become more flexible with a mix of on-site and remote working. Not only that, but technology also keeps the business more relevant and competitive. The key is finding what works best for your company.
For instance, to reduce risk and stay compliant, these are the steps you can take to move into the new year:
Implement technical controls: this involves increasing your company’s cybersecurity. This can be done through the use of two-step authentication (also called multi-factor authentication). Using two or more types of identification makes your system more secure.
Additional technical controls include the use of firewalls, encryption of mobile devices, the use of anti-malware software, and more.
Check current IT infrastructure: this is also important to keeping a business more secure and productive. Now’s the best time to check your network. This includes checking the age, lifespan and support for current systems. Devices should be checked to ensure they are secure. It’s also a good idea to see if the company or the employee owns specific devices. If employees are using unauthorized devices to connect to the network, then this must be fixed now.
Data: knowing where and how data is stored is essential. The reason is that you may not be in compliance if data is stored outside the UK, for instance. It’s also imperative to check who has access to the data and why they have access.
And we can’t forget that backup and recovery are also essential. Depending on your industry, this may be governed by specific regulations. Plus, having a backup is also key in case the company is hit by a cyberattack.
Employee training: this is another key to keeping the company more secure in uncertain times. Training employees about the system, how to access & use it, and how to avoid cyberattacks makes the company stronger and more secure.
Use of cloud technology: is also beneficial when conducting business partially on-site and remotely. For instance, Microsoft 365 offers a wide range of tools to help companies work more efficiently. Not only that, but this type of technology also keeps your company more secure.
Everything needed for daily tasks can be handled in the cloud. This includes collaboration, communication, and more. Plus, certain tasks can even be automated, which helps increase productivity.
These are some of the steps your company can take to increase security, efficiency, and even revenue. Now’s the perfect time to reassess where the business stands now, at the beginning of a new year. Look to see what can be improved or corrected, get this done quickly, and move successfully into this brand new year.
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