What Has Your IT Accomplished This Year? (2019 Edition)

With half of 2019 behind us, it is a good time to review your IT plans and industry developments. Below is a quick look at three popular technologies shaping the business world. See how you measure up and what you need to readjust going forward to claim victory for the year.

Cloud Computing

Cloud is an integral part of the IT fabric for most companies today. According to Forrester Research, 60% of North American businesses are harnessing a public cloud environment. This comfort with cloud services has enabled the big three, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to locked in their position as top infrastructure-as-a-services (IaaS) providers and set their sights on expansion.

One of the exciting new areas of developments in technology relates to machine learning and artificial intelligence. Companies are using these advancements to deepen their relationship with customers and improve productivity. The major public cloud providers are working to support innovation here as well. This year, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services launched new deep learning containers.

The future of the modern enterprise will likely be built on cloud. If your 2019 IT plans don’t include cloud, there is still time to reconsider. Read our blog, Unexpected Benefits to a Cloud Environment, to learn more about how cloud could help your business.

Cyber Security

There is no shortage in headlines on cybercrime. This year, we’ve seen municipalities take a hit with ransomware demands. The City of Baltimore was offline for weeks trying to recover from an attack. Lake City, Florida and Riviera Beach city also in Florida were victims of ransomware attacks. For these municipalities, 2019 has been solely focused on putting out cyber-fires and salvaging what's left of their organization’s data.

Unfortunately, as cybercriminals continue to expand their reach opportunistically, the danger grows for organizations across the United States. It is no longer a question of if, but when a cyber-attack will hit for most businesses. For more information about how to survive a cyber attack, read our blog, An Insider’s Look at Surviving Ransomware with Solid Disaster Recovery

Internet of Things (IoT)

Another major trend that continues to capture headlines is IoT. Many businesses initially thought of connected devices as applicable to consumers only, but in 2019, we have seen companies take hold of this technology. By integrating connected devices with their business processes, organizations can increase productivity and garner more in-depth insights from their operations. Our blog, Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT): The Union Of Manufacturing And Technology, examines how automation and AI are enabling businesses to maximize the skills of their employees and allow machines to take on more work. 

Arriving the Halfway Point

Here are some essential questions to consider as you evaluate your first half of 2019 and reflect on the popular technology trends.

  • Did your IT complete all of the projects proposed for the first part of the year?
  • Did those projects end up under budget and within the agreed-upon time frame?
  • For the projects currently underway, are you receiving status updates and performance reports throughout the project? 

If you are feeling frustrated, you aren’t alone. You might be surprised how often IT projects are mishandled and left incomplete. We've also seen cases where IT projects were completed but did not align with the company's high-level strategic goals and therefore were not as valuable as initially calculated. Before moving ahead, here are some tips to get your projects back on track.

  1. Develop a clear understanding and hold reviews of your IT budget.
  • What did your organization spend on IT so far this year and does it align with your budget? 
  • Do those expenditures make sense based on your organization’s strategic priorities?
  • Are there any aspects of your organization’s IT that should be reassessed? 

It is critical that your IT department or managed services provider delivers regular reports on the status of projects and their ROI. You should also be receiving reports on proposed IT investments for the year ahead. It is never too early to plan for the future.

  1. Reassess your security strategy regularly. 
  • Do you have a truly secure, multi-layered, cross-organizational comprehensive cybersecurity strategy along with a backup and disaster recovery plan? 

The importance of cybersecurity can't be overstated. When we think about a comprehensive security strategy, we mean more than the cybersecurity hardware and backup technology. It is critical to have robust policies and procedures that create a culture of security. There is no escaping the cybersecurity conversation. It's just a matter of whether you are going to have a proactive cybersecurity conversation or a reactive one after a cyber-attack hits your company and your shareholders are looking for answers. 

  1. You completed at least one security and network assessment.
  • Did you procure a third-party evaluation of your security and your network? 
  • Did you receive an extensive report of their findings? 

Think of an assessment like a doctor's checkup. While there might not be any visible symptoms present, you always want to have a medical professional confirm that nothing is lurking beneath the surface. Additionally, many federal and local agencies now require that companies go through a security assessment at least once a year.

It has been a busy start in 2019, and we are only at the halfway point. Now is the time to evaluate the progress you've made, the changes in the industry, and how your plans are shaping up. Keeping up with ever-advancing technology is critical to any organization's growth and success.

As always, we are always here to give a free consultation. You can schedule an appointment or call (866) 575-9512. 

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