From discussions with new customers over the past 30+ years, we know that confusion over IT needs and uncertainty regarding IT requirements often lead to an inability to take action. With too many options and no clear direction, business owners can feel trapped by indecision. Growth for these businesses is then hindered as they are operating in a sub-optimized state. Worse, in many cases, the business is left open to disaster recovery and cybersecurity issues that could jeopardize its survival.
As a business owner or executive, you may have already come to the realization that your IT capabilities are going to play an increasingly important role in the ability for your business to succeed. We understand — all you really want to do is run and grow your business. But at every turn, there are costly decisions to be made about your IT infrastructure, applications, and support. And with buzzwords such as cloud, virtualization, and cybersecurity running rampant, the IT community has a way of making even the simple things complex. And the complex things……well forget it.
In this blog post I will describe the key trends in IT having the biggest impact to businesses today, the kinds of decisions that business owners need to make, and the best approach to making those decisions.
That Was Then and This is Now
There was a time when your business may have been somewhat isolated from rapid changes in technology trends. Your customer base may have been regional in nature, nurtured through personal relationships.
But now there are three key trends in IT that have changed everything for the mid-sized business owner and have had a significant impact on an earlier perspective. You need to actively determine how these trends are going to impact your business and what you are going to do about IT in these areas.
You increasingly need to focus on sophisticated internal and external threats to your business. You may believe that because you are a mid-sized business, the threat of a security breach is not high; after all, why would someone want to go after your company? You are wrong.
If there is only one thing that you take from this post, understand that cybersecurity protection is not a nice-to-have.
It is a must-have to protect your customers and your business. (Learn more in "Protecting Your Business from the WannaCry Ransomware Attack (and others like it).")
Anywhere, anytime access by customers, employees, and vendors means that your customers have access to similar products from a much broader set of competitors. What were once local businesses now compete regionally. What were once regional businesses now compete nationally. And in many cases, your customers desire an entirely different engagement model – real time, online.
"Your mobile device is no longer an accessory. It’s the first thing you reach for in the morning and it’s the last thing you touch at night." — Peter Coffee, VP Strategic Research, Salesforce
With computing power and applications available on a utility basis, the role of an internal IT department has significantly changed. The good news is that you can reduce your cost and improve your agility very, very quickly. The bad news is that your competitors are coming to the same conclusion.
How to Evaluate Your IT Infrastructure
So, what's next? You may be thinking, "security - yeah, I got that (I think)." Mobile, yes, we all have smartphones. Cloud, check. But let's dig deeper.
Many of the systems that have been brought into your IT infrastructure have been done in a vacuum without carefully considering the impact to the rest of the network. And, you probably have not evaluated the entire system in quite some time. After all, if it ain't broke, why fix it?
Chances are very high that there are vulnerabilities lurking within your network of which you are not aware. Technical issues in your network may be hampering users' productivity. Software may be out of date. Ports that are open should be closed.
You may feel that your network is not meeting demands and needs to be optimized. To analyze the current situation, you need to step back and compare your needs with your current capacity.
IT Infrastructure Assessments
The purpose of an IT assessment is to determine the “as is” IT environment and begin the process of identifying those changes that must be made to create a best practices environment. Corserva's assessment consists of an evaluation of three primary areas: the network, all assets attached to the network, and security. Between these analyses, our clients receive an in-depth view of the current state of all of their networked assets, including desktops, laptops, servers, and network equipment. This is the baseline from which we can make recommendations regarding both short and long term actions that should be taken in order to drive performance, reliability, and security into your IT infrastructure.
Of critical importance is the security audit, which includes an overall risk score. This assessment covers all major points of failure including security policies implemented on various assets. The assessment delivers a clear "current state" security profile as well as a list of recommended actions that will improve your overall security profile. The assessment is a combination of consulting resources and technology mapping tools that create extensive analysis and reports for each key assessment area. We work with you to review the current condition of your IT infrastructure, urgent changes that should be undertaken with regards to security, and longer term actions that can be taken to improve performance and reliability.
Gain a Competitive Advantage
An infrastructure assessment can be an invaluable tool for business owners and executives and provide a competitive advantage. The assessment provides an analysis of the current situation. At a minimum, an assessment can provide a sanity check or confirmation that all is good. However, typically, an assessment will bring to light exactly the types of issues that you fear may be lurking in your IT ecosystem, and more importantly, what problems exist of which you previously had no knowledge. As part of the assessment, you will gain a clear roadmap of what steps are needed to remedy the situation. Request an assessment today.