Keeping a company’s IT in working order requires reviewing it periodically. An audit of all current and planned practices keeps managers informed of all relevant business IT considerations when asking outside companies for quotes on management, support, and consultation. It lets the companies give answers that will be useful to the business. Here are 8 Key Business IT Considerations for Your Next Technology Review.
The review needs to cover several key areas with an eye to their current status and changing requirements.
8 Key Business IT Considerations
1. Hardware inventory
It’s necessary to replace or upgrade all hardware over time. Desktop machines, servers, printers, and networking devices have a limited useful life. An audit should determine what existing hardware needs upgrading and what new equipment will be needed. If the budget is limited, it needs to prioritise the requirements.
2. Software assets
Software also needs upgrading at times. Out-of-date software can have dangerous security holes. Existing licenses may include upgrades, or it may be necessary to buy them separately. The number of licenses may have to increase if the workforce is growing.
If existing software is no longer satisfactory, or if there are new kinds of work to do, new software will be necessary. Free, open-source software may serve the purpose just as well as commercial software, but it will still require support. The budget needs to cover whatever is needed to keep productivity high.
3. Data assets
Data storage requirements can grow, and data may need to be managed in new ways. Storage systems need to keep up with growth, and backups need to keep it all safe. Migrating data storage to a cloud service may be more cost-effective than expanding on-premises storage, provided contractual and regulatory requirements allow it.
4. Risk management
Security and risk management are a huge and rapidly growing concern. Ransomware and data theft can inflict serious harm on a business. Last year’s security measures won’t be adequate.
Risk assessment and protection need to operate both at the level of individual systems and the network as a whole. The weakest device can compromise the entire network. As already mentioned, keeping software updated and data backed up are important parts of the security strategy.
A risk audit needs to identify the most serious weaknesses in the network and determine what mitigation is necessary. It should assess the benefits of possible safety improvements, such as network monitoring.
Access control can greatly improve security. If systems don’t have unnecessary access privileges, they can’t do as much damage if they’re breached. If past policy has been to assume that everything inside the network can be trusted, the policy seriously needs revision.
5. Disaster recovery and business continuity
Events such as floods and fires can destroy a business’s on-premises IT systems. Without a recovery plan, they’re likely to destroy the business itself. A disaster recovery plan is necessary to survive such eventualities.
It requires more than just backup. The plan needs to consider how much downtime is acceptable, and whether it will be possible to get systems running again in that time frame. A cloud-based failover can greatly reduce the worst-case downtime.
6. Cloud strategy
Cloud issues have already come up in the previous points, but a cloud strategy needs to be an item of its own in the review of business IT considerations. Many businesses are moving large parts of their IT operations to cloud services. That approach eases the need for hardware, makes it easy to increase users or usage, and requires less ongoing management.
Cloud services vary in their reliability, security, and support. It’s important to select a trustworthy provider and make sure that information will be at least as secure as it was on the premises.
7. Mobile strategy
It’s easy to forget about phones and tablets as part of the IT infrastructure, but they play a growing part in most businesses. They require their own software strategy and risk assessment. Many companies wrestle with whether to allow a “BYOD” policy and what restrictions to place on user-owned devices. Neglecting this area can seriously compromise network security.
8. Reviewing all Business IT considerations
A detailed review of all of these areas will provide a good basis for future IT plans. Neglecting any of them can leave a business operating with inadequate hardware and software or expose it to a serious breach. It takes some time to conduct a proper review, but it’s time worth spending. Contact us at Stanfield IT to learn how we can help you to cover all your IT issues.
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