As we get to the end of the year, it’s the best time to plan for the future. Most businesses start the year off with the intention to grow and improve operations. A business’s operations are heavily reliant on technology. So, in order to find areas for improvement, it makes sense to look at your IT. To help figure that out, we break down what to put into a year-end technology infrastructure review.
A year-end technology review offers the chance to look at many aspects of your IT. The idea is to set aside some time to focus on changes you can make to improve your bottom line. Moreover, what steps you should take to reduce the risk of an expensive cyberattack.
A recent study by Deloitte focused in on small businesses with advanced digital technologies. Small businesses who use technology to their advantage are miles ahead of their competitors. Here are some areas where they shine:
- Employees earn x2 more revenue
- Experience x4 higher year-over-year revenue growth
- Had x6 average employee growth rate
The truth of the matter is that the companies who use technology well, do better. They are also more secure. Businesses that have an incident response plan cut the cost of a data breach by 61%, according to IBM. Automation and AI in security can further reduce expenses by 70%.
This year-end, take some time to do a technology review with your managed IT provider or IT team. Having one will set you up for a year of security and success.
Things to Consider When Reviewing Your Technology at Year-End
The objective for a year-end technology review is to examine every area of your IT infrastructure. Security, efficiency and financial concerns will drive your future initiatives.
If you let your technology policies become outdated, people will stop adhering to them. Review all of your policies to see if any need any updating to reflect new conditions. If some of your employees are now working from home, this is something you want to reflect in your device use policy.
When you do decide to update your policies, make sure to inform your staff. This gives them a refresher on important information. They might forget certain details since onboarding.
Planning for Disaster Recovery
When was the last time your business practiced an incident response drill? Do you you have a plan that staff can follow in the event of a disaster or cyberattack?
Spend some time researching and creating a disaster recovery plan for the coming year. Doing so now, will give you ample amount of time to schedule drills and training for the upcoming months.
Pain Points and IT Issues
You want to hold off on any massive IT upgrades without taking employee pain points into an account. Otherwise, you risk missing an opportunity to improve team morale and productivity.
Be sure to ask your staff about their technology use. Ask them what apps they love to use, and apps they hate. Talk to them about what they’re struggling with. Give them the chance to tell you how they think the technology can improve their jobs. Your business will benefit as a result. You can focus on making the changes that will have the most impact on your business.
Privileged Access & Abandoned Accounts
As part of your year-end assessment, conduct an audit of your privileged accounts. Permissions can sometimes get misused over time. This can leave your network vulnerable and at risk of a major attack.
Make sure only people who require administrator permissions have them. The fewer accounts with this kind of access to your business tools, the lower your risk. Passwords for privileged accounts that are compromised tend to cause a lot of damage.
While going through your privileged accounts, also search for those accounts that are abandoned. If they are no longer in use, they need to be closed. Keeping them running poses a security risk.
Plans for IT Modernization & Transformation in the New Year
Making important IT upgrade decisions “on the fly” can have a negative effect on your business. It’s best to prepare a strategy in advance so that you can update and upgrade in an organized manner.
Perform a vulnerability assessment. This will list out the probable issues that your business should address. By removing the weaknesses, cybersecurity improves. When you budget in advance, you can pay for upgrades and prevent unseen costs.
Cloud Use & Shadow IT
Assess the use of your cloud applications. How do you use this software? Are some apps barely used? Does your cloud environment have redundancies? You can cut waste and save money by asking these questions.
Additionally, watch out for any uses of shadow IT by employees. These are cloud apps that are not being used for work and did not go through approval. These apps might not even be known to management. By either shutting the accounts or formally approving them, you can eliminate this security risk.
When considering the technology in your business, don’t forget to consider how your IT infrastructure affects your customers. Go through your website and contact process the same way a customer would.
If you become frustrated by navigating your site, so will your leads and customers. Your new year’s plan should include improvements to your consumer-facing technologies.
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