As a tumultuous 2020 winds down, we have all learned much about the strength and determination of our businesses and the communities they serve. We should be proud of our 2020 accomplishments. We have done what all good businesses do… we adapted, we innovated, and we kept moving forward.
The business environment in most markets has changed permanently. I’d like to bring up some things that should be on your mind for 2021.
Keep Up with the Accelerated Pace of Software Development
Think about how you’ve managed your company since March. Does it feel like you’ve made five years’ worth of critical business decisions since then? You may have. Some tech industry experts estimate that video conferencing and cybersecurity technology alone has progressed to the level we would have nominally reached in 2025. The reason is simple, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the pace of software development to accommodate work-at-home needs.
To keep pace with these changes, many businesses found they had to move time and money away from their day-to-day operations and toward financing their IT departments. However, this can only be a short-term fix. The real solution is to either invest heavily in more IT staff and training or partner with an IT service provider whose sole job it is to keep up on quickly changing technology.
The Cloud Will Be Even More Important in 2021
Here is a question for you. If 70%, 80%, or even 90% of your staff is mobile or at home, does a physical on-premise server make sense? This question was answered by businesses throughout 2020. To help you find your answer, here are a few statistics from Forbes:
- 32% of IT budgets will be dedicated to the cloud in 2021
- 92% of businesses say their IT environment relies on the cloud
- 54% of enterprises’ cloud-based applications moved from an on-premises environment to the cloud
There you have it; a shift from on-prem infrastructure to the cloud is happening rapidly. Migration can be complicated. It takes professionals to analyze your current environment and implement changes without data loss or disruption to your critical business systems. And it’s more than just analyzing your local network and applications, it’s also knowing the limitations of the “pipes” bringing connectivity to your building.
We strongly recommend Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) and Amazon’s WorkSpaces as more secure and fast alternatives to conventional VPNs.
2021 is National Cybersecurity Year
Moving into year two of work-at-home America, phishers and cybercriminals will make extra efforts to take advantage of security lapses in business networks. Unfortunately, changing work environments, unpatched legacy systems such as VPNs, and inadequate staff training may be weak links in your network security. Smart businesses will be investing in training and preparing their staff to be your first line of defense.
While last October was National Cybersecurity Month, you should consider 2021 National Cybersecurity Year.
Roadmap Your New 2020 Technologies into 2021
During 2020 you undoubtedly had to find and implement in a pinch new technology to maintain business continuity and competitiveness. If you were successful, you found a cost-efficient business model and you would like to keep it in place into 2021. If not, you’re still struggling with this. In either case, it is time to evaluate your technologies’ performance (or lack thereof) to decide whether they should see continued use.
As I said earlier, software development accelerated rapidly in 2020, 2021 will be no different. With the licensing, integration, and compatibility variables involved, this can be a time-consuming and costly process. A deep dive consultation with IT professionals is highly recommended.
Across the country businesses have formed a community of home-based and on-premise staff reliant on new communication, collaboration and cybersecurity infrastructures. This infrastructure is advancing so rapidly that many small- and medium-sized businesses find they lack the financial and technological resources to support it while adapting to an ever-changing market.
What many have discovered is that IT support from managed service partner is a cost-effective way to maintain a technological edge on the competition while still focusing on their business. IT service provider whose sole purpose is to stay focused on new and emerging networking, cybersecurity, and cloud technologies is the key to success in 2021.