IT Solutions Create Opportunities For Businesses Problems

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The last few years have been tumultuous for businesses to say the least. With the current surge in energy prices, increased living costs, a potential recession, and supply chain shortages, it seems the challenges for business leaders will continue for the foreseeable future.

Subsequently, business leaders are looking for IT solutions that will help them navigate stormy waters. But even there, you find mainstream media talking up problems.

An article published in Forbes earlier this year quizzed 15 tech leaders about the top challenges businesses are facing at the moment. The crux of the problems revolve around five key areas of IT: 

  • Remote working
  • Cybersecurity 
  • Training staff
  • Sourcing IT professionals 
  • Managing IT costs

When I first read through the Forbes list, I wasn’t really seeing challenges per se. All the problems mentioned actually present businesses with opportunities; opportunities to save money, be more profitable and get access to top talent – both in-house and externally. 

A Chinese proverb says: “In every crisis lies the seed of opportunity.” With so many crises at the moment, businesses have plenty of seeds to plant, nurture and grow. 

And in the digital age of remote working, online shopping, and technological innovation, a solid IT strategy is central to business success. 

IT Solution for Hybrid Working 

In the aftermath of the global pandemic, leaders or large enterprises have been head-slapped with the quandary of how to keep all their workforce satisfied. 

Whilst some workers find more benefit in remote working others feel they benefit more to working in the office. If remote working returned tangible rewards for your company, a hybrid work model promises to be the best solution moving forward. 

However, pivoting to a hybrid model requires short-term investment for long-term rewards. The key issue for business leaders is to ensure communication, corporate culture, team bonding, and innovation do not suffer. 

Some businesses rely on individuals being able to collaborate on projects by working side by side. If you’re rolling out a hybrid work model geared towards individual preferences, remote working could disrupt the collaborative process. 

IT Solutions Create Opportunities For Businesses Problems Micro Pro IT Support

Opinions over whether remote working disrupts innovation are split amongst thought leaders. There may have to be a period of trial and error and compromise to determine what the best solution is for your business. 

HR and team managers also have to put in place effective communication channels to ensure that remote workers do not feel isolated and disconnected. Feeling part of a team not only supports your company culture but prevents loneliness and lack of motivation. 

Whilst splitting time between home and office will prevent this, effective communication channels are essential for keeping teams connected and individuals in the loop no matter where they are. 

Cloud technologies facilitate the hybrid work model. Having said that, implementing a cloud solution that provides the tools and channels of communication that work best for your company can be another case of trial and error. 

If we can offer you some advice to reduce the risk of making the wrong choices: a cloud platform that provides a bundle of task management tools, specialist apps and various ways of communicating effectively all under one roof is a better solution than integrating a mesh of third-party tools into your IT infrastructure. 

If you have too many apps, there are more things that can go wrong which could lead to downtime and a loss of productivity. It is often the case that third-party apps are not always compatible. 

Furthermore, a mesh of apps means you will have to perform more updates. And software updates can often cause conflict with other apps or with the device. 

Whilst a single cloud platform may not be a be-all-and-all solution for your business, it does lower the risk of encountering problems moving forward. We use Microsoft 365 because it delivers the most comprehensive range of IT solutions on the market to date. 

That’s not to say that Microsoft 365 will provide you with the best tool for your business in every circumstance. You may still need to integrate a couple of third-party tools that are compatible with Microsoft 365. If that is the case, it will be advantageous if you work with IT professionals that have a good knowledge of building IT infrastructures that comprise a mixed bag of software. 

Improving Cybersecurity for Remote Workers 

Adopting a hybrid model, or deploying a remote workforce full-time can potentially create cybersecurity headaches for IT staff. Fortunately, there are several effective solutions you can implement that enable your IT team to protect your business network when your staff is working from remote locations. 

Ensuring your network is protected should start with a cybersecurity strategy that details company standards, identifies potential threats, and enforces solutions. Your staff should be made aware of a list of dos and don’ts. 

Employees represent the biggest threat to your network security. Research shows that employees are the root cause of data breaches, either through human error, clicking on links in phishing emails, or using weak passwords. 

Remote workers invite other potential vulnerabilities, namely logging on to unsecured Wi-Fi networks and using their personal devices to access business networks. 

Creating protocols that prevent employees from working in cafes or ban them from using their personal devices to visit whatever websites they wish is a contentious issue that could cause tension and conflict. 

Having said that, you should implement rules that prevent employees from downloading pdfs and files from the internet onto a personal device. Hackers use fake websites offering free pdfs, films, and music to embed malware. 

Encourage employees to purchase a cheap laptop they can use to conduct general internet activity. You may want to contribute to the purchase of such devices or at the very least provide them with anti-malware tools they can install on personal devices. 

IT Solutions Create Opportunities For Businesses Problems Micro Pro IT Support

You should also perform regular anti-virus checks on any devices they use for work-related devices. If their personal devices are compromised, their personal data and financial accounts are also at risk. 

Fortunately, there are other IT solutions that help you to protect your business network without having to impose too many restrictions on your employees. 

Our cloud specialists in London are adversaries of VPNs and virtual desktops. In both cases, entry onto your business network is shielded with encryptions that are impossible to unscramble. 

Virtual desktops create an artificial environment that is accessible from the device of the end-users but runs on cloud servers. This means that work is saved on your network without employees having to log on to the network. 

With data stored in a centralised system, you can effectively reduce the risk of suffering a data breach without compromising how or where your employees want to work. 

We also recommend taking advantage of other cloud tools such as Microsoft Endpoint, access permissions, multi-factor authentication, and encrypting sensitive data. If an employee has their device stolen, your business data will remain secure.  

Making Staff Aware of Threat Actors 

Whilst employees are blamed for around 90% of data breaches, providing cybersecurity awareness training is an easy fix. If your staff is aware of the techniques and channels hackers use to infiltrate business networks, they will be alert to threats as they arise. 

According to Norton, a cyberattack happens globally every 39 seconds. It’s fair to say that anyone with an email address or a digital device has been targeted at some point. 

Yet, government statistics report that only 39% of businesses say they identified a cyber attack in 2021 and 2022. I find this statistic hard to believe. It should probably read that 39% of businesses are aware they are been the target of a cyberattack. 

Whilst business leaders are no doubt aware of external threats to their business data, it’s of critical importance that your entire workforce can identify a cyberattack and understand a set of protocols they must follow to take relevant action. 

We’ve already written a full-length feature article of how to train your staff to be aware of cybersecurity threats so won’t go into detail again here. To summarise our earlier article, however, your staff should be aware of: 

  • The various channels hackers use to plant malware 
  • How to recognise phishing, spear-phishing and spoof phishing emails 
  • Take precautions when downloading pdfs and other documents from around the web – even free advice pdfs from what appear to be authentic businesses. 
  • Understand the importance of strong passwords and multi-factor authentication 

In addition, to providing cybersecurity training, you will need to implement ongoing cybersecurity awareness that updates your staff about the latest threats. Cybercrime is an evolving industry so your cybersecurity awareness program needs to be a continuous strategy also. 

Finding IT professionals with the relevant skillset

There has been a growing skills shortage across the UK IT industry for several years. According to 71% of tech leaders, the biggest shortages are Cybersecurity (56%), BI & Data Management (41%) and Software Development (35%). 

In addition, UK companies could struggle to find specialists to fill in-house IT roles due to employment complications following Brexit. The alternative is to hire freelance specialists but remote freelancers can be costly and increase the risk of a data breach. 

Because IT networks are central to modern businesses, companies need access to reliable IT professionals that have the relevant skills to support their most crucial business needs. 

IT Solutions Create Opportunities For Businesses Problems Micro Pro IT Support

Existing tactics to source IT professionals with the competencies you need to maintain a fully-functioning network are inadequate to keep up with the fast pace at which digital innovations are evolving. 

Whilst you could nurture in-house training and send your IT team on training courses that enable them to broaden their skillset, the learning curve takes time that you may not have. There is also no guarantee they will learn skills that are relevant to your business operations. 

A practical solution is to reach out to cost-effective IT support professionals that have existing knowledge and skills, and that can customise your network by implementing immediate solutions. 

Managing IT costs 

Implementing IT solutions that help to foster your business to and support growth will always be an ongoing cost. There also has to be some budget flexibility that will allow you to react quickly to markets and threats should you need to quickly install another piece of software. 

There are three ways to effectively manage your budget. The first is to determine which IT solutions you need then make the appropriate budget available. The second is to determine your budget and build an infrastructure within the boundaries of your budget. 

Both the above strategies are perfectly plausible, but a combination of the two is the smarter approach. If you have a tight budget, you may need to sacrifice business costs in other areas such as reducing office overheads. 

Managing IT costs effectively involves cutting costs and optimising investments in the tools and technologies that help your business reach developmental goals. 

If you have an IT system in place that enables you to be more productive and increase your revenue, you can always reintroduce the things you sacrifice now. If you’re not prepared to make sacrifices, you could risk stunting growth.

IT Specialists in London 

Teaming up with IT specialists in London could enable you to achieve key performance indicators described above and more. Our knowledgeable experts have more than twenty years of experience providing IT solutions for companies in London and the surrounding areas. 

Not only do we help you to cut costs, we have the expertise and the know-how to design an IT infrastructure that helps your business to grow without overstretching your budget. 

Whether you’re planning on moving to the cloud, pivoting to a hybrid model, or just need reliable IT solutions to improve your operational performance, our IT specialist in London will design an IT infrastructure for your business needs. 

We recognise that your success is our success and take a customised approach to building IT systems that deliver. But don’t take our word for it, take a look at what our existing clients say about us on Trustist

About James Kirby

IT Solutions Create Opportunities For Businesses Problems Micro Pro IT SupportThe founder of Micro Pro. He is an experienced IT professional, who has specialised in helping professional service companies and their stakeholders overcome IT challenges and efficiently embrace technology while scaling from SME to Enterprise.

He has 20 years of IT solution design, deployment, support, consultancy and project management experience, gained in a diverse range of industry sectors, including Legal, Expert Witness, Accountancy, Managed Workspaces and Care.

His experience encompasses design, costing, implementation, project management and support. He has been relied upon for decades by key stakeholders in growing businesses as someone who can provide authentic, impartial, expert advice and strategy and then deliver on time and on budget, time after time.

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