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IT Insight: Your IT roadmap to 2022 planning

While we have all been wishing for 2022, it’s now literally around the corner! The pandemic has dramatically changed the IT landscape. Digital transformation has accelerated, and the workplace has continued to shift with greater collaboration between remote and in-house workers. Client and consumer expectations have shifted from in-person to online. How does today’s external environment provide opportunities or threats to your IT infrastructure and consequently, your business?

A Managed Service Provider or VcIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer) can help with your Network Assessment. You may want to address network equipment, cloud computing, documentation, IT applications, security, and licensing. It’s important to assess the importance of each to your organization. Consider your monthly recurring bills: Internet, phones, security system, cyber insurance, cloud services such as Office 365 or Azure, business continuity backup and licensing.

Do you have a current, comprehensive Technology Plan? Complete a technology audit and asset inventory of all your IT equipment: PCs, notebooks, servers, firewalls, switches, phones, wireless, even your security systems. Confirm the age of all key components and whether they have a warranty or service agreement. Determine what may need to be upgraded or replaced. Determine any IT issues or lack of efficiency or productivity. Consider hardware as a service (HaaS). Lease tech assets affordably and pay for the services to that equipment rather purchasing it. With the intention of minimalism, more businesses are looking to own less “things”, especially those which become quickly obsolete and unsupported like servers, firewalls, phones, computers, and other devices.

You will want to do the same for your line of business applications. Review your current contracts and maintenance agreements. Are you running your applications on-premises or in the Cloud?  Is there a Cloud version or Software as a Service (SaaS) available for these applications?

Protecting your data is at an all-time high! Security needs to be separated and looked at with more scrutiny and in-depth. A Ransomware attack could wreak havoc and jeopardize your business to the point of collapse. With increasing remote workforce, it is imperative that you have policies in place of what is accepted use to protect your business.

Additionally, speak with your insurance representative to review your business insurance. Most companies are incredibly underinsured when it comes to cyber insurance. Thorough IT planning and excellent security posture results in better rates from insurance providers.

Now, what is your IT Analysis? What’s right? What’s wrong? What’s missing? What’s confusing? Engage your employees in conversation and reflect on any deficits in productivity or down-time over the last year. What inefficiencies have occurred in 2021?

Meet to review your IT issues and goal setting for next year, including a budget to work with. Utilize your VcIO and MSP to envision a future where all technology, people and processes are aligned. What new technologies have the most relevance to your business?  What new processes should be adopted?  What can be improved upon or implemented? Has your company done a risk assessment to determine your IT vulnerabilities?  Score your business applications to interpret the best possible data, reporting and productivity gains from each.  What’s your gap analysis?

Have strategic monthly meetings to review goals, budget and if your IT plan is on track.  It’s important to have all levels of your business management team engage and buy into your plan, strategy, and means to implement it. What are your goals, major IT initiatives and priority for implementation?  Each deliverable should include a summative description, timeline, and budget estimate.  Each should have its own explanation: new business applications, upgrades, infrastructure and restructuring, IT process and risk assessment. Your VcIO should meet with you quarterly to review your plan and security posture and make any adjustments necessary.

Tomorrow’s IT is more efficient, secure, and flexible than ever.  A solid, implemented IT Plan can transform your business, the services you offer and your customer and employee experience. Your 2022 IT Roadmap awaits. Make “IT” your 2022 resolution!

JoAnn Hodgdon is Vice President and Co-Founder of Portsmouth Computer Group (PCGiT) with her husband David. PCG provides comprehensive managed IT services, business continuity, security, cloud computing and Virtual CIO services to their clients.  You may reach her at joann@pcgit.com  or through www.pcgit.com.