People don’t usually get too excited about the basics where technology is concerned. It’s not surprising. People are interested in what’s new, and technology is all about what’s new, what’s next, what’s going to change the world – new apps, new phones, and new services are where all the action is.
That mindset extends beyond people to companies. When considering what to spend IT resources on, there can be a great temptation to be dazzled by the novelty of that supposedly world-changing new application, that lightning-fast machine or that must-have accessory. And sure – some of them are must-haves or at least extremely-good-to-haves. If they come at the cost of taking care of fundamentals, though, that’s a problem.
A lot of companies I work with are starting to think about budgets for the next fiscal year. Almost everyone I talk to would probably describe their IT budgets as “tight” – that seems to be the case almost every year – and that means there will probably have to be some hard choices made when it comes to where resources are directed. I’d like to suggest that at least some thought should be given to shoring up your IT foundation, even as you consider other more enticing purchases.
A while back, I wrote a blog post about building the right IT foundation for your business. If there’s ever a good time to consider some of the steps I advocated there, it’s while you’ve got access to the resources, or at least the people who can provide them. So I’d like to address some of those issues again now: Does your company have…
- Strong branding – a web and email presence that clearly defines who you are and what you do
- Reliable and redundant internet connectivity
- A secure information environment, complete with appropriate – and up-to-date – firewall, anti-spam, anti-virus, and anti-malware protection
- A truly secure wireless network
- Established standards for computers, software, and systems usage
- A reliable, comprehensive backup process – preferably off-premise – for key data and systems
- A quality structured cable or solid wireless infrastructure
- A strategy for leveraging cloud services – hosted applications, hosted infrastructure, backup/disaster recovery, etc. – to ensure that your company stays secure, competitive, and technologically up-to-date
None of these are necessarily the most exciting subjects, but I think you would have a hard time arguing that they aren’t necessary. It’s a rare company these days that can afford to rest on its laurels for too long, limping along with outmoded software, hardware, processes, or practices – the risks to the business, both from a security standpoint and the threat to competitiveness, are just too great. It’s a competitive, predatory environment out there, and companies need to leverage every tool at their disposal to protect their market positions, competitive standing, business data, and bottom lines.
If there’s any doubt, the news is always there to remind you: Recently we’ve learned that thanks to the “Krack” wi-fi breach, virtually every wireless network currently in existence is subject to infiltration and attack – along with the data passing through it and every device attached to it. Needless to say, a lot of companies who have been chugging along with outmoded wireless networks are starting to sit up and take notice.
As always, the future’s on its way, and it’s getting here faster than we think. 2018 is right around the corner, hard as that may be to believe. As you get ready for it strategically and fiscally, spare a thought for what you can do to shore up your IT foundation. It’ll go a long way towards making it a better year for your business.