Recent years have been challenging for the business community to say the least. From the operational challenges posed by the pandemic to the efficiency savings necessitated by rising inflation, businesses big and small have sought innovative ways to remain competitive and resilient throughout the recent crises.
Organizations are increasingly turning to their use of technology – and therefore their IT providers – to find ways to overcome the challenging commercial and operational pressures they face. In 2023, we expect to see many of the last decade’s digitalization trends continue, with an increased focus on intelligent automation, IoT technologies and next-gen cyber protections to counter an increasingly hostile threat landscape.
Here at Zia Networks, we’re helping over 70 companies extract maximum benefit from their business technology. From our home in Santa Fe, we’ve made it our mission to help as many businesses as possible across the Albuquerque region and wider New Mexico discover their true potential with strategy-driven IT and class-leading technical support.
We pride ourselves on progressive IT support that always has an eye to the future, but sadly many organisations suffer under IT providers who fail to keep pace with the latest trends. To help you determine whether your IT provider has the foresight and dynamism to help you succeed in the years ahead, we’ve assembled a list of the top 6 things you should expect from your IT provider in 2023.
Next generation Cyber Security
With the global cost of cybercrime expected to rise to $10.5 trillion by 2025, compared to $3 trillion in 2015, online threats are predicted to become more prevalent and damaging in the coming years.
Today’s antivirus and threat filtering technologies use ‘signature-based’ detection techniques, and while these are effective at thwarting the majority of attacks, tomorrow’s cyber threat landscape may require more advanced tools.
“Next-gen cybersecurity” refers to security devices and platforms which leverage AI, machine learning and behavioral analytics to anticipate attacks and take preventative action before a malicious intruder can compromise network security. Next-gen security solutions such as XDR (extended detection and response) allow for environment-wide oversight, exposing threats across all platforms and infrastructure, including on-premise networks, remote endpoint devices, and both public and private cloud environments. Such systems provide real-time threat information, allowing security teams to take immediate, data-driven action, and automation can be implemented to enable autonomous threat resolution.
Consider exploring next-gen cyber security with your IT provider today in order to stay one step ahead of the online criminals.
Automation and AI
Automation and artificial intelligence are two fields of technology already transforming the way we live and work. From AI-driven grammar checkers and voice recognition technology to the automation found in smart home appliances, the technology is ubiquitous and is now increasingly influencing the workplace.
“Automation” in the context of IT means reducing or eliminating human intervention in menial, repetitive tasks. “Artificial Intelligence” refers to the ability of computers to imitate human cognitive abilities, such as the ability to draw on past experiences and learn from them.
Whether you want to automate your customer support process, create a custom web application to streamline HR workflows or take advantage of AI to extract helpful business insights from your data, your IT provider should be able to guide the deployment and ensure you achieve an outcome that aids your productivity objectives.
Internet of things (IoT) support
“The internet of things” refers to a global network of data-gathering devices and sensors which can transmit data between each other and to external devices. IoT devices often incorporate processing power, allowing them to take “smart decisions” autonomously.
IoT devices are becoming increasingly common in the workplace, a field known as “industrial IoT,” with manufacturers, retailers, healthcare providers and other organisations often integrating such devices into their infrastructure to make operational savings and increase efficiency.
Whether you’re a healthcare provider using IoT technologies for remote patient monitoring or a haulage company seeking to use IoT devices in a logistics management capacity, your IT provider should be able to configure and integrate the devices into your network. They should also be able to address the security risks posed by IoT devices with the appropriate safeguards.
According to SWZD’s annual report on IT budgets and tech trends, 45% of SMBs are currently taking action to prepare for a recession, with 43% of those listing “reducing non-essential spending” as something they are doing, or intend to do.
With many organisations expressing low confidence in the economy, the pressure is on for IT providers to find cost-optimal solutions and services for their clients. This might mean orchestrating a migration from a high-maintenance legacy program to a more affordable and scalable cloud-hosted alternative, helping to source a great value business broadband package or introducing reporting tools to allow your business to make intelligence-driven commercial decisions for revenue gains.
There are countless ways to leverage technology to reduce costs and make efficiency savings. In 2023, ensure your IT provider emphasizes return on investment (ROI), and frames proposals in the context of your business’s commercial goals and budgetary realities.
Remote/Hybrid work support
The pandemic greatly increased the proportion of employees working remotely, and while the practice has dropped somewhat from its peak in 2020, today around 62% of US workers say they work from home at least on an occasional basis.
From improved employee morale to reduced pressure on office resources, there are many benefits to allowing employees to work remotely, even on a part-time, hybrid basis. Without the right support from your IT provider however, remote working arrangements can soon descend into a business nightmare.
In 2023, ensure your provider is able to offer a range of options to grant employees remote access to data resources, including the likes of Microsoft 365, cloud-hosting, virtual desktops or virtual private networking. They should also be able to deploy and manage the security tools needed to keep your remote devices secure, including endpoint and identity management platforms, VPNs, endpoint antivirus and firewalls.
Regardless of whether your organization has embraced remote working over the past few years, your provider should possess the knowledge and skills needed to make it a viable option in the years ahead.
Proactivity as the main line of defense
A recent study suggests that a minute of downtime costs global businesses an average of $5600, with the same figure for SMBs expected to be several hundred dollars. In today’s perilous economic climate, few businesses can afford such financial penalties, and with the effects of downtime often resulting in lingering reputational damage, a severe outage could affect your business’s ability to grow and thrive.
While some IT providers focus on reactive, post-incident support, such support is no longer sufficient in today’s competitive business world where customers expect round-the-clock availability. Your IT provider should offer remote network monitoring and maintenance to allow vulnerabilities and deficiencies to be detected in their early stages, and fixes applied before they are able to escalate into business-critical issues. Helpdesk support should be viewed as an insurance policy, rather than your IT system’s only line of defense.
Get in touch today
Is your IT support provider charging a premium for sub-par service? Is non-proactive support causing excessive downtime? Is your provider failing to maintain the integrity of your digital assets, leaving you vulnerable to cyber-attacks?
If your business is suffering at the hands of poor IT support, then get in touch with Zia Networks by booking a discovery call today. Our talented, friendly and energetic team will solve your technology woes, and help you unlock your business’s true potential.
Our Zia Networks team connects with and supports our New Mexico businesses.
Let us focus on your technology, so you can focus on your business!
Call us today at (505) 428-6544, or email us at [email protected].