2021 has been another year of “unprecedented times” as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued long past what many expected. With this continued level of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that organizations have their IT in order and prioritized.
Our experts here at TechMD have put together three top IT priorities for 2022 to help you be prepared for the ever-changing IT landscape.
1) IT Security For A Remote Workforce
If there’s been any lesson from 2021, it’s that remote work (whether partial or full) is here to stay, not just a temporary fix for the pandemic. Even though it’s been nearly two years, many organizations are still using stop-gap solutions for remote work that leave them vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.
Secure your remote workforce against cybercriminals with these critical tactics:
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) remains one of the best cybersecurity tools or policies in terms of return on investment: this Symantec study found that over 80% of all data breaches could have been prevented by 2FA. If you want to know more about how 2FA works, we have a quick and easy guide in our One-Minute Wednesday episode on 2FA.
- Single Sign-On (SSO) is a solution that allows users to log in once, using a master username and password, and then have those credentials provide access to all their other business apps. This is another easy solution to prevent what could be a major problem. You can learn more about SSO by reading our recent article.
- By enforcing complex password policies and requiring two-factor authentication you can better secure your VPNs. Additional policies, such as blocking geographic regions where you know your employees don’t work from accessing your VPN, are also a good idea.
In addition to security measures, building a culture that’s conducive to and compatible with remote work will be important in 2022 and onward. Work communication tools like Microsoft Teams, along with cloud storage solutions like SharePoint and Google Drive will remain relevant for years to come.
2) Plan For IT Attrition
As you’ve probably heard, one of the biggest stories of 2021 has been the shortage of workers across the U.S. economy. The IT sector is no exception to “The Great Resignation”, where workers are quitting jobs en masse, sometimes without any plans to seek new positions. And a shortage of IT talent is not a new issue: even in a normal year, hiring an IT professional who can perform the job well and fits your team culture can be difficult.
Every company should have a plan to mitigate the risks of losing critical IT team members in 2022. Here are a few important steps you can take to help retain IT employees and stay flexible in case you lose them:
- Stay interviews rather than exit interviews: at TechMD, we have been scheduling regular stay interviews with our team members, where they can provide feedback on what is going well, what isn’t, and what would cause them to leave TechMD. This process has helped us learn about underlying issues ahead of time so we can address them before they come up in an exit interview instead.
- Cross-training and documentation: losing an IT employee normally means losing most of their knowledge about your company’s infrastructure, systems, and processes. Developing a strategy for retaining that knowledge even if an IT team member leaves your company should be a big part of your 2022 IT planning, with initiatives like creating a robust documentation system to store important information and cross-training other employees on critical IT systems.
- Partner with outside support: at the risk of sounding self-serving, partnering with an outsourced IT partner to provide flexible IT resources can help organizations adapt to business changes with less headaches. This can give your in-house IT team members better work/life balance, increasing internal retention and helping ensure continuity when they are unavailable.
3) Develop Your IT Plan & Budget
Every organization should have an IT budget that is monitored and updated every year. Especially with an uncertain economy, the last thing most businesses need is to be surprised by a large IT expense in 2022. Now is a great time to take a look at the technology you’re currently using and figure out if there are better alternatives or new investments you need to make.
Any good IT budget should align with your business goals, provide a plan to respond proactively to cybersecurity risks, and ensure you can run your organization efficiently. You’ll also want to plan for potential IT expenses, such as:
- Large IT infrastructure projects
- IT support and maintenance agreements
- New hardware & licensing costs
- Telecommunication costs: ISP, VOIP, etc.
- Cybersecurity Insurance
We often hear from business leaders that creating and sticking to an IT budget is impossible, but it can be done with a good team and the right priorities. You’ll want to involve your leadership team and any other key stakeholders in the planning process, and consider engaging a fractional CIO or a company like TechMD for assistance if you don’t already have a C-Level IT employee.
We can help you prepare for the IT future
Staying proactive about IT and cybersecurity is more important than ever. Is your remote team fully secured on the cloud? Do you have a plan to mitigate IT attrition in 2022? Do you have a budget to address your IT needs over the next few years? If you are looking for help with any of these IT priorities or feel like you could use some guidance about planning out your year, please don’t hesitate to contact us!