Moving Beyond 2020: Intentional IT Solutions to Start Today

Moving Beyond 2020: Intentional IT Solutions to Start Today

We’re all painfully aware of the challenges and uncertainty 2020 provided. If you’ve kept your company afloat, you’ve done a remarkable job.

COVID-19 has been a major catalyst for business transformation, with more than 75% of respondents in a recent SWZD survey saying their business has resolved to make long-term IT changes as a result. These changes will shape the future of how we work, and our companies will require proactive IT solutions that can move and grow with the business.

Before you flip the calendar to 2021, take these last moments of 2020 to reflect on everything you’ve learned so far, and plan the first steps towards a proactive, resilient IT strategy.

Network Tech has helped many small- and medium-sized businesses throughout Kansas and Missouri meet the challenges of the last year head-on. Today, we want to share the items at the very top of our 2021 to-do list. Write these down, meet with your IT team to talk them over, and then call us if you need any assistance. We’re always here to help.

Cyber

For many area organizations, COVID-19 opened up unprecedented cybersecurity gaps. As most of us transitioned from secured office networks to insecure home WiFi, the sudden change exposed vulnerabilities in our security that left space for bad actors to gain access to critical data and assets.

Moving forward into 2021, IT departments should be focusing on a secure IT plan that closes these gaps and makes it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your system. This type of plan often starts with something as simple as a security audit, but ultimately companies need to work holistically to ensure that all staff are educated on the potential dangers they may face, from an email phishing scam to compromised WiFi. If your business has not taken a close look at acquiring cyber liability insurance, it’s time to do so.

For more information on cybersecurity, read our latest resource: Advanced Tools for Network Security and Compliance. Investing in an intentional IT cybersecurity plan with us will help keep you safe from ever-evolving threats.

Cloud

Another way that remote work has changed our workplaces is through our heavier reliance on cloud-based tools. Back in Q1, many organizations still relied heavily on on-prem servers and were too distracted on short-term strategies to focus on cloud migration.

Cloud-native technologies will continue to have a huge impact on our work and, as a result, global trends are moving away from hardware investments and toward investments in serverless, cloud-based platforms and tools. The cloud wasn’t new to 2020, but this year truly cemented its importance.

If you’re still on the fence about the cloud in 2021, it’s time to have a strategic conversation with a managed service provider about how you can implement cloud computing for your business.

Business Continuity

If you’re like us, the last thing you want to think about after a year of dealing with COVID-19 is a natural disaster. Although Kansas and Missouri are typically spared from ongoing natural disaster concerns like wildfires and hurricanes, the unthinkable can happen at any time. A burst pipe in your server room can wipe out your backup or a social engineering attack can shut down your system, with no access until everything has been cleaned up.

These events disrupt not just your IT, but also your business as a whole. A resilient IT plan takes a variety of business continuity situations into account. It’s the only way to ensure that, despite any type of physical and technical disruption, your business will stay on track.

Regardless of where your business continuity plan stands now, partner with Network Tech to create, test or adjust the most resilient plan possible.

Remote Workforce Productivity and Efficiency

As most of us learned in 2020, working remotely is neither productive nor efficient overnight. It takes time to evaluate the tools you were using for in-office work and find suitable programs to facilitate communication and teamwork remotely.

Prepare yourself well for 2021 by doing a detailed IT audit to see what’s working and where your team could use a bit more support. Even if you were already using great tools like Microsoft 365 for your in-office team, your needs will change when your entire staff switches to remote work. You may be able to leverage the same tools, but you should schedule an IT consultation with a strategic IT expert to make sure.

Getting your tools evaluated will help ensure your team is working as efficiently as possible. An IT expert can also make recommendations to fill all necessary gaps, keeping your team productive even when they’re spread out.

Compliance

Despite the challenges that 2020 has brought, compliance requirements have stayed rigorous. Only now, companies are being forced to adhere to core compliance processes with fewer staff and resources in a heightened risk environment.

Before the end of 2020, sit down with compliance officers at your company and talk about how IT can support their work. Moving into 2021, staying in compliance with industry standards and laws remains a key requirement for many businesses to stay in operation. Whether you’re running a financial institution, a healthcare facility or dealing with customers’ personal information, the pandemic has accelerated risks and made it harder for anyone working in compliance to do their job.

Fortunately, we know compliance. Let us help you build a compliant IT plan that keeps your organization protected.

How Network Tech Can Provide Proactive IT Solutions

This year has shown us that it’s almost impossible to predict the future. Before the end of the year, companies across Kansas and Missouri should have a plan to ensure they can tackle the challenges of 2021 head-on. Outsourcing IT can help by taking pressure off your existing IT department, leaving them available to handle the day-to-day challenges that only they can solve.

Call us today for an end-of-year checkup. Armed with knowledge from your checkup, our experts can offer support where you need it most.

Tech Takeaways from the 2020 Election

Tech Takeaways from the 2020 Election

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If the Chiefs winning their first Super Bowl in 50 years didn’t make 2020 a landmark for you, the rest of the year cemented its status as a game-changer. The pandemic and election-year shenanigans have added a layer of uncertainty to your 2021 plans and budgets. Regardless of your political leanings – or your joy for the Chiefs’ win – 2020 taught us to prepare for uncontrollable external factors.

Consulting with a professional IT managed service provider (MSP) is necessary for Kansas City metro-area businesses in 2021 to ensure cybersecurity and compliance functions are correctly in place. Without a managed service provider, your data will be at risk.

Managed IT

Today’s data collection tools use up to 2,500 data points per person to identify your details and even your physical location. 2020 election strategies employed advanced data collection tactics to form opinions and influence the vote. From AI-powered predictions to gathering voters’ personal data, political campaigns have crossed over into microtargeting and influencing voters via social media and data-gathering direct response ads.

You’re probably wondering what election results have to do with your business. It’s all about data. Just as data is valuable to political campaigns, it is one of the most important resources your company has. Every bit of data you’ve collected over the years is up for grabs if a cybercriminal attacks your network. So, acquiring, using, and protecting your company data across your entire infrastructure is a must.

Outsourcing IT to a managed service provider gives you the protection you need and the confidence your data is safe by taking complex IT functions off your plate. With Network Tech, you’ll get innovative services, improved business performance, and 24/7/365 monitoring for your network, your computers, and every managed device your team uses.

Secure IT

During the 2020 presidential election, Microsoft detected successful and unsuccessful cyberattacks targeting voters and political organizations. Microsoft confirmed that foreign groups stepped up efforts to influence the U.S. elections. A majority of these attacks were detected and stopped by Microsoft security tools.

While the stakes in U.S. national elections are very high, foreign cybercriminals don’t stop there. Hackers are also after data that small and medium-sized Kansas City businesses store.

By outsourcing IT to Network Tech, you can achieve enterprise-level cybersecurity at a small-business price. As Kansas City’s most trusted managed service provider, we manage your cybersecurity risk with Cybersecurity Awareness training and vendor assessments that ensure your third-party vendors are keeping your information secure under their watch as well.

Resilient IT

Since the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, ransomware attacks have exploded. Because critical infrastructure and digital systems are profoundly susceptible to breaches, global cybercriminals are ever-vigilant, looking for ways to attack your data and hold it for ransom.

U.S. military, Microsoft and state election officials have shored up cybersecurity, protecting voting systems and hindering misinformation from foreign attackers. Take a page from election officials and prepare for potential disasters like ransomware and phishing. Ensuring that your business can recover quickly and continue operations after a disaster is an essential part of any business plan in 2021.

Data recovery and business continuity plans make your IT resilient by protecting servers, networks, storage systems and entire data centers. Without these best practices, about 60% of businesses close their doors within 6 months of a disaster. Imagine losing all of your data. Could your business recover?

Strategic IT

As the 2020 elections ramped up early in the year, officials feared Russians would hack the vote during Super Tuesday primaries. Although this didn’t come to pass, a host of technical malfunctions frustrated voters across the country. California’s voting machine shutdowns, Minnesota’s and Texas’ web traffic troubles to provide polling locations and even national robocalls spreading disinformation made all voters leery of the next election cycle.

Technical difficulties also can wreak havoc on your business operations and customers’ confidence in your ability to meet their needs. When you need high-level assessments of your IT architecture plan, you need a managed service provider like Network Tech. We will help you make informed IT decisions to improve workflow and keep your costs down.

Properly tested and correctly executed, implementation stops technology issues from the start. Giving you – and your customers – the confidence in your systems necessary to provide best-in-class service.

Compliant IT

Regardless of your business’ size, it must comply with PPI and privacy laws as well. As your regulatory compliance partner, Network Tech will reduce your company’s threat penetration risk and ensure your vendors are performing privacy due diligence as well.

Don’t go through your next compliance audit alone. Our team of exam- and audit-tested IT professionals will stand by your side and ensure you meet regulatory guidelines and audit recommendations.

Make IT Work for You

Whether you believe your current IT strategies are working or not, a cybersecurity and compliance IT consultation will pay off in 2021. Call us to talk through a strategy or schedule a complimentary IT assessment so you’ll start 2021 off right, no matter what the new year brings.