IT is big business. It’s also becoming more and more critical for business on a number of levels. However, it’s also becoming more complicated.
According to research, there is an estimated skills shortage around the world. The UK, in particular, is facing a crisis. Reports reveal that around 70% of businesses do not have employees with the relevant IT skills or experience.
There are, of course, solutions that enable businesses to navigate the skills shortage. Outsourced IT services, for example, provide a cost-effective option.
This concerted interest from businesses offering IT solutions has bred innovations that have revolutionized how British companies operate. Keep up with these five IT developments if you want to stay ahead of the curve.
However, before investing in an IT infrastructure, you should have some idea of what you need to improve the efficiency of your operations.
Database Management Systems
The more a business grows, the more data you store. That also means the storage, management and protection of your data becomes more complex. This is particularly the case for businesses that are using multiple apps and plugins.
The rapid growth in data collection means businesses require systems that are capable of processing vast quantities of data, and company databases have swollen to a mind-boggling size.
Left unmanaged, it is impossible to extract value from a database. If anything, they will slow your operations down and potentially leave you exposed to cyberattacks.
Yet despite the maintenance they need, management systems are increasing in popularity thanks to improved data sharing, access and integration. A good database management system will allow you to reorganize, manipulate, and retrieve the data you need rapidly. For companies that rely on cloud computing, websites and data management, understanding how to amplify the benefits of a database will stand you in good stead.
The increased quantity of data has changed the way we interact with it and the way we store it. More businesses are picking cloud data storage over local, benefiting from reduced hardware costs, security improvements, and working with data more efficiently.
This growth of cloud computing is showing no signs of stopping – the market is expected to grow to $947 billion by 2026.
You could argue this growth was expedited by the pandemic, and whilst the forces working from home policies businesses had to deploy were undoubtedly responsible for the sudden 2023 spike, IT professionals have seen an increase in productivity and cost-savings they have been able to invest in other areas of the business.
Remote IT Management Software
Remote IT management software is critical for SMEs who do not have the resources or the need to employ an in-house IT team. However, you do need some technical nounce to understand how the software works.
Businesses must then choose between hiring an outsourced IT contractor on a retainer or on-demand. The option you choose depends on how much involvement you need from an IT support team that works in a remote location.
Most businesses choose to keep up with IT services that require some IT knowledge such as cybersecurity, data migration and implementing cloud software, but may also choose services that are essential but offer convenience, such as patch management.Technical issues either slow down productivity or bring it to a grinding halt. Because remote monitoring software identifies problems before they happen, having a team of specialists to manage the software can be advantageous – especially for SMEs with ageing infrastructure.
It’s impossible for businesses to ignore cybersecurity. Cybercrime has swelled to terrifying heights and cybercriminals are consistently finding new ways of infiltrating business networks.
This trend was noticed in 2017 when McAfee reported that cybercriminals cost the global economy $600 billion a year. In 2023, the cybercrime industry is estimated to be worth $10.5 trillion by 2025.
The growing threat and concerns about the repercussions of a data breach have prompted the business to install IT solutions that facilitate “zero trust” cybersecurity protocols.
Following a series of high-profile data breaches, cybersecurity protocols are being ramped up across every sector. It is especially recommended to provide your staff with cybersecurity training and enforce multi-factor authentication.
Many software solutions already include cybersecurity defences as standard, such as Microsoft 365. However, businesses cannot rely solely on cloud software and anti-virus tools.
If you do choose to work with an outsourced IT support team, it is important to understand that cybersecurity is a two-way agreement.
Security specialists should develop a strategy that meets compliance for your business within your budget, but businesses must also accept some responsibility to ensure cybersecurity strategies are implemented company-wide and managed accordingly.
Before agreeing to a contract that includes cybersecurity services, leading IT Support providers MicroPro recommend establishing where accountability lies for you and your service provider. It will make a massive difference if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a data breach.
The COVID-19 pandemic was the last nail in the coffin for the high street, with reports revealing that most high street retailers have lost out on a year’s worth of sales. The increasing popularity of online retail has fundamentally altered how companies must interact with their consumers, now doing most of their business online.
Businesses that sell products and services online can increase conversions by using an eCommerce platform such as Shopify to WooCommerce. These platforms give customers the opportunity to purchase offerings directly from a computer or mobile phone.
The purpose of digital technology is to make online shopping more convenient and safer. An eCommerce platform installed into the backend of your website provides a bridge between you and your customer. They also have built-in payment gateways provided by trusted partners such as PayPal.
If your business sells physical products or services that require your customers to book time with your consultants, it is vital that you leverage effective eCommerce platform services.
Whilst these platforms don’t need a great deal of maintenance, some computer skills are required if you want to leverage their power for increasing conversion and enhancing marketing.