Now is the perfect time to reset and start planning for the rest of the year. What better time to look at business as usual and see where improvements can be made? Technology is no exception to this rule. With the speed of technology changes, it is important to set some goals for the rest of 2021.

We have recommended the following goals consistently for the past few years.  The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns, however, have only served to elevate the importance of pursuing them. The sudden, massive transition in Q1 2020 to remote environments for most companies’ employees has accelerated the move of infrastructure and services to the cloud and the need for a better trained workforce.

We recommend these top 3 IT goals for 2021 on your tech to-do list

Create Your Technology ROADmap
The best way to start a new year is to set goals. The best way to do that in the IT world is to develop a strategic, technology ROADmap. Studies suggest that on average only 28% of the IT budget is spent on new initiatives or projects, whereas 72% is allocated to simply “keeping the lights on” like maintaining patches and attending to your users’ daily needs.

What if you could reverse this trend?

This is where your ROADmap comes into play. A ROADmap allows you to strategically plan for your business’ technology needs, now and in the future.

A ROADmap helps you identify:

  • Technology gaps where hardware and software are impeding your organization’s productivity or increasing your downtime risk
  • Technology requirements and business processes that are needed to achieve critical business initiatives
  • Security risks to help you better protect your customer and company data, along with your company’s reputation

Your ROADmap will not only highlight where gaps exist. It also informs how to best fill those gaps and the best time to do so based on your business plan and budget availability. Using this tool will allow you to transform an IT expense into a critical business investment.

Next Step: Create your ROADmap with an Applied Tech strategic advisor

Get Serious About Security
If 2020 taught you nothing else, you need to take security seriously no matter how big or small your company is. With security breaches and cyberattacks at an all-time high, you need to be taking the appropriate precautions, so your business is not the next victim.

One immediate set of steps you can take is to protect your business by doing these 3 things to avoid compromised user accounts.

Next Step: You know about your personal credit score. Have you thought about your business’ security score? It’s just as important. Conducting an  Security Risk Assessment is crucial to identifying and managing risk within your organization. The benefits of performing security risk assessments are:

  • Identifying risks that exist regarding information security and prioritizing them.
  • Meeting compliance requirements of government, industry or corporate-mandated security programs like HIPAA, NIST, CMMC, PCI or GDPR.
  • Easy-to-understand results, a scoring system that you can interpret and action items that can be easily integrated into your technology ROADmap

We recommend completing a security risk assessment annually. This will allow you to track your progress and, if necessary, demonstrate to compliance auditors your company takes cybersecurity seriously. Take our free S2Score Security Risk Estimator to get an initial sense of how your company stacks up.

Make Tech Training a Priority
This one goes hand in hand with security and productivity. In cybersecurity, your employees can be your best defense against cyberattacks. If not trained properly, however, they can also be your company’s biggest threat. Security is a shared responsibility for everyone in your business.

Training on how to spot phishing emails as well as best practices for sharing documents can greatly reduce the effective threat of cyberattacks. Moreover, training your employees on how to effectively use technology increases productivity in everyday work and increases adoption of new technology implementation.

Next Step: Look into cost effective technology training. Our customers consistently ask us, “How do I keep my team educated on the capabilities of our Microsoft 365 software without breaking the bank?”

We have collaborated with BrainStorm Inc., a company that specializes in Microsoft applications training. QuickHelp™ is their on-demand learning management system that allows you to customize learning paths with hundreds of short, easily consumable videos for specific people or teams within your organization and track their progress. This training can range from using applications like Outlook and Teams to overall Security Awareness Training. All of this comes at a very low cost per user.

Start now
Approaching the end of the year is always a good time to formally review your current IT situation. Yet, it may be more critical than ever with the year in 2020 we are experiencing. With an uncertain return to the workplace in 2021, investing in an agile infrastructure, secure environment and tech-enabled workforce may be as much a matter of survival for some as it is a competitive advantage for others.

If you aren’t receiving the strategic advice you need or are struggling to “keep those lights on,” it may be a sign you need to reevaluate your technology partner relationship.

Hire a strategic managed service partner to help you complete your 2021 ROADmap.

Call us at (855) 729-1300 or leave us your contact info below and we’ll be in touch.

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