This blog is the second in a series that will help you create a roadmap for your journey to build a better IT system. The first blog in this series can be found here.
The Need for an IT Journey
Last week’s blog looked at how embarking on an IT Journey can provide your business with the opportunity to create an IT system that is capable of handling any future changes. Your businesses’ IT Journey can be broken down into three phases: initial set-up, improvements to existing IT, and lifetime enhancement. Today’s blog will outline the initial set-up phase, which covers the standardization, security, and support milestones.
“There can be no improvements where there are no standards” – Masaaki Imai, founder of the Kaizan Institute
Incorporating standard, shared, and common features into your business operations improves company efficiency. Increased efficiency contributes to innovation, which in turn improves productivity and prepares your business for further advancement. Moving employees to standard hardware and software platforms, similar user interfaces, and common features improves company-wide functionality and fosters a better customer experience.
By simply standardizing your IT software, platforms, and infrastructure, you can achieve huge improvements in everything from user-experience and training to support and cost control. Examples of standardization that can be incorporated into your business include:
- Personal Hardware – mobile and internet protocol (IP) phones, tablets, laptops;
- Operating Systems – uniform version, desktop image;
- Network Hardware – switches, routers, servers, printers, multi-function printers (MFPs);
- Software Application – email, e-content management, file sharing;
- Security Policies – active directory management, password rules, access.
Incorporating IT standardization as a milestone on your IT Journey will give your company greater scalability, flexibility, and predictability.
Over 61% of CEOs polled by Fortune 500 say that cybersecurity is one of their top concerns. Although most companies have a basic IT security policy in place, many lack the resources or expertise to ensure effective data security. Increasing risk of cyber-attacks and complex legal and regulatory requirements mean the business of IT security has never been more serious. Often, companies only realize that their security is insufficient after it has been compromised.
Legacy security systems, which many companies incorporate, can quickly burden an organization with constant updates and maintenance requirements. Switching to an open security architecture effectively spreads this burden across data centres, cloud environments, and borderless networks, resulting in a future-proof security strategy for your business.
Before you can improve your IT security system, you must first understand where improvement should occur. There are many simple and inexpensive tests, assessments, and audits you can use to better understand your existing strategy, including:
- Penetration testing;
- Vulnerability assessments;
- Web, spam, anti-virus, and content filtering assessments;
- Security posture assessments;
- Network design, device, and configuration audits;
- Policy and procedure audits.
Once you understand your current IT security status, you can work to fill in any gaps. An advanced security strategy will include all the following aspects:
- Security Information & Event Management (SIEM);
- Security Operations Centre (SOC);
- Active Directory Security Event Management;
- Unified Threat Management;
- Endpoint Protection & Encryption;
- Mobile Device Management.
Give your company peace-of-mind by equipping your IT system to quickly respond to and defend against security and privacy threats. Keep your day-to-day operations running without worrying about security threats by partnering with a security solutions provider to manage your system.
A recent Accenture study found that companies spend as much as 80% of their IT budget on maintaining their existing IT footprint. More forward-thinking companies have been found to see 64% greater profit margins, yet despite this over 70% of C-suite executives still favour retaining existing core systems. Managing back-end IT should not be a core focus of your business. Migrating support-focused IT services to an external service provider frees up internal staff to focus on increasing business productivity rather than maintaining servers and applications.
Virtualizing your IT maintenance increases the agility of your systems, making your office more efficient for mobile workers while improving service desk responsiveness and support. Avoid disruption to your workers by allowing always-on remote monitoring services to seamlessly connect to your infrastructure to detect events and proactively resolve problems. These solutions can provide you with detailed metrics and reporting, continuously measuring your uptime, performance, and return on investment.
Where to Next?
The next blog in our series will discuss the next phase in your IT Journey: how to manage improvements to your existing IT systems.