There's no doubt about it: 2021 has been a crazy year. In some cases things have been a continuation of 2020 while in others there has been new chances for increased production and growth. Hopefully, if you're reading this, your case has been the latter. But in either case, as the final few weeks of 2021 tick away, it's time to start planning for the future.
For many business owners, the fiscal year aligns with the calendar year which means it's time to start working on your 2022 business plan and goals. With that in mind, today we're going to look at 3 key IT areas which any business plan should include.
The IT security landscape over the past two years has changed dramatically for even the smallest businesses. Simply slapping an anti-virus on your endpoints and putting a password on the WiFi isn't enough any longer. Attackers are much more sophisticated and are targeting much smaller businesses than a few years ago because their security is so lax.
Add to this the new remote-work element for many businesses in the wake of COVID-19 last year and this adds another layer of complexity and risk. Many businesses were sent scrambling for a temporary, "just works" solution but some are coming to the realization that temporary solution may be permanent.
As a result, it is hugely important to take a very close look at the security landscape of your business while working on your plan. Layering in plans for a self-review or audit of any new technologies you've adopted within the last year or existing technologies you've had around for a while should become a yearly task just like preparing for taxes or reviewing your legal terms.
Continuity and security are like peanut butter and jelly. They're both better together as part of a comprehensive sandwich. In addition to reviewing your security posture, it's also important to review just where you stand when it comes to avoiding or managing downtime.
It's no secret most businesses today are more reliant on the technology that supports them than ever. So what happens when that technology fails? Can you comfortably say you know it can be restored within an acceptable timeframe? Before it becomes detrimental to your business?
As businesses grow, the tolerances for unexpected downtime become smaller. At the same time, various technologies may become more or less important. As such, you should review the technologies and services your business relies on and determine how critical they are to your business and ensure proper redundancies are planned and budgeted for in the upcoming year.
Last but certainly not least, the primary reason people adopt technologies into business in the first place: increased productivity! Technology is constantly evolving and newer, more efficient ways of completing tasks are always presenting themselves. Business planning season is always a good time to review the major issues you've noticed in your business and see what ways can be used to address them.
When considering new technologies, the biggest mistake we see business owners make is diving head-first into a new application or platform and calling it a day. Instead, make new technologies consideration a part of your yearly business planning. This will allow you to consider the full scope of adopting a new solution or software including any potential security risks or additional continuity spend you may also have to incur in addition to whatever the solution costs.
This more wholistic approach will give you a much better overall look at how the costs and risks of adopting a new technology stack up with the expected return on investment.
Wrapping it all up
It's been safe to say for many years now that technology isn't going away and instead is likely to become more and more tightly integrated with how businesses exist and operate. Gone are the days when a line of business app was just a way to save some time or do some tasks a little faster. Today it's core to how you run your business and, as a result, should be treated as such. The first step in doing this is to make it a regular part of your yearly business planning process if you haven't already.
Your IT vendor should be a part of these conversations as well as they will likely be the ones helping with and managing it. Any vendor worth their salt will also be able to assist you in scoping out the security and budget implications of where you're business is currently and where you expect to be in the future. If you don't have an IT vendor, contact us below and we'd be happy to talk with you about planning for the future of your business.