The last few years have been a difficult time for organisations across almost all sectors. From the pandemic which forced businesses to adopt new ways of working, to the effects of inflation which have seen some organisations struggle to remain viable, almost no business has found recent years a walk in the park.
Albert Einstein once said “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity,” and while none of us want a repeat of recent events, for some businesses recent years have been a period of transformative change, much of it undoubtedly for the better. Cloud computing and secure remote access technologies for example, have enabled employees to work effectively throughout the pandemic, and by adopting these technologies many businesses enjoy greater workplace agility, improved productivity and reduced costs to this day.
This year, there’s likely to be continued growth in the cloud and solutions that enable flexible working practices, but we also expect a number of other technologies to come to the fore. Automation and AI are a great example of technologies that will break into the mainstream very soon, as businesses look for new ways to gain a competitive advantage in the post-pandemic world. We’re also likely to see a rise in IoT (internet of things) solutions, particularly to help frontline workers do their jobs with greater ease and efficiency.
Cyber Security is another tech domain likely to see a shakeup, as a suite of next generation cyber security tools come online in response to an ever-growing online threat.
Here at SYSTEMSEVEN, we understand just how instrumental technology can be to the success of any business. Located in Austin and Corpus Christi, we offer a comprehensive range of managed IT, business telephony and connectivity services designed to help SMEs in southern Texas thrive. Backed by decades of IT sector experience, we help our clients develop their IT infrastructure in ways that tackle business problems and provide tangible return on investment.
In business, staying ahead of the game means continually evolving, and looking for ways to offer the same great product or service in more efficient ways. Sadly, many IT providers struggle in this regard, leaving their clients to stagnate with tech solutions that are barely fit for 2013, never mind 2023. To help you determine whether your IT provider is future-focused or stuck in the past, here are 5 things your IT provider should be offering in 2023.
Artificial intelligence and Automation
AI and automation are often tipped to be the next big things in the domain of workplace technology, and many of us are already acquainted with systems that incorporate these technologies in some form.
AI is present in many of the consumer technologies we interact with, with prominent examples including grammar checkers, voice recognition software and driving aids. Despite its growth however, many businesses have yet to fully take advantage of this often-misunderstood technology, which has commercial applications ranging from market forecasting and business data analysis to predictive security and healthcare management. When correctly utilized, AI can help employees make better, data-informed decisions and offer efficiency savings that were previously unimaginable.
Often associated with AI, automation refers to a set of technologies that allow tasks and workflows to be executed with zero, or minimal human input. From customer support and client onboarding to expense processing and HR, automation is now available to support almost every business process and department, with huge productivity benefits on offer to businesses willing to explore its potential.
This year, why not discuss options for incorporating AI and automation into your business with your IT provider.
IoT (internet of things) solutions
The ‘internet of things,’ refers to an interconnected web of computers, networks, devices and sensors which feed data between one another. Often associated with automation, some IoT devices feature processing capacity with allows the devices to initiate actions autonomously, reducing the need for human input.
Our homes now contain many examples from IoT devices, such smart doorbells, digital thermostats and smart appliances. The rise of IoT in the workplace has been particularly notable in specific industries, namely healthcare, logistics and manufacturing.
Introducing IoT devices into your network could be a great way to improve operational efficiency, and can be particularly useful for easing pressure on frontline staff.
Healthcare illustrates this very well, with remote patient monitoring systems that allow nurses and doctors to monitor the condition of patients without having to be present 24/7. In logistics, inventory tracking systems featuring handheld scanners allow warehouse operatives to fulfil orders quickly and efficiently, with automation that eliminates the opportunity for human error.
This year, if you believe that IoT solutions could provide operational benefits to your business, why not explore options for incorporating IoT devices into your network with your IT provider.
According to a recent report, around 45% of small businesses are currently taking action to prepare for a possible recession, with 43% citing “reducing non-essential spending” as something they are doing or are considering.
Now more than ever, it’s vital that your business’s IT supports your commercial ambitions and provides excellent value for money. Your IT provider has a leading role to play in ensuring the tech you’re using offers the perfect blend of value and performance, as well as in maintaining your infrastructure for maximum uptime in order to safeguard your revenue streams.
Today’s tech marketplace offers countless solutions that allow businesses to get more done while spending less money. Some of the best ways to save money include:
- Replacing legacy software programs with agile and affordable subscription-based cloud offerings.
- Switching to more affordable business broadband
- Using business insight tools to exploit corporate data for commercial gain
- Allowing staff to work from home to relieve pressure on office space
- Switching to a VoIP phone system for cheaper calls and lower maintenance costs.
This year, make sure your IT provider is framing proposals in the context of commercial value and ROI.
Proactivity in everything they do
Here in South Texas’s vibrant business community, providing a high-quality, reliable services is the key to success. Today’s customers don’t expect malfunctioning IT systems to affect service delivery, so it’s vital that your IT provider has the ability and willingness to maintain and monitor your systems for maximum uptime.
Downtime damages businesses. On average, a single minute of IT downtime costs SMEs $400, with the effects ranging from immediate loss of custom to lingering reputational damage that can cause harm long after the event. If your provider allows outages to occur frequently, your business’s growth could be affected as customers lose faith in your ability to provide a dependable service.
This year, ensure your IT provider is carrying out a program of preventative maintenance. This means securing and updating software and operating systems across your infrastructure by installing the latest upgrades as soon as they become available. Doing so seals up security vulnerabilities in software, thus maintaining the integrity of your systems and reducing the opportunities available to hackers.
They should also possess the ability to monitor and manage your network remotely. This will allow them to act to rectify faults and address performance bottlenecks to improve network traffic flow. Crucial for avoiding costly downtime episode, remote network monitoring and management is a necessity in today’s digital age and is something that your IT provider should be offering by default.
Next generation security capabilities
The Cyber Readiness Report 2022 by Hiscox discovered a 7% rise in cyber attacks perpetrated against American businesses compared to the previous year, with the number of attacks resulting in over $25,000 of financial damage rising from 34 to 40%. This is in line with global data, which widely suggests that cyber-attacks are becoming more common, sophisticated and damaging.
Many of the threat detection tools we use today employ what’s known as signature-based detection. This technique compares the characteristics of incoming traffic against a library of known threats. While these tools are effective at countering the majority of cyber breach attempts, the increasingly sophisticated methods being used by hackers demand a new generation of equally sophisticated defense tools.
Known as “next-generation” cyber security tools, today’s most cutting-edge solutions use AI and behavioral psychology to detect suspicious activity that is inconsistent with regular usage patterns. This allows breach attempts to be spotted and thwarted at the earliest opportunity, preventing the bad actors gaining a foothold in your network. Extended detection and response (XDR) platforms offer security governance and oversight across on-premise, public, private and hybrid cloud environments, with security personnel able to automate response actions to counter threats without manual input. Following breach attempts, post-incident reports draw attention to vulnerabilities giving administrators the information they need to introduce security posture improvements.
Giving consideration to the type of data your business holds, 2023 may be a good time to look into next-generation cyber security with your IT provider.
We’re SYSTEMSEVEN, the best IT company in Austin and Corpus Christi
Operating from our two bases in Austin and Corpus Christi, we offer an extensive range of Managed IT, telephony and business connectivity services to SMEs across southern Texas.
To find out how we could optimize and enhance your IT systems for maximum productivity, commercial success and cyber security excellence, why not schedule a free, no-obligation IT consultation today.