It’s been more than a year since the pandemic drastically upended small business IT plans, forcing organizations to improvise as they tried to remain operational under uncertain conditions. And while some parts of the world are finally returning back to normal after months of strict lockdowns and social distancing measures, some of the last year’s biggest IT management challenges are still very relevant today. On top of that, business owners and IT managers now have to support a new workplace environment, one that’s ready for any future pandemic-scale event and secure enough to withstand current cybersecurity threats.
That’s not an easy task, especially if you’re not familiar with the main challenges that you’re guaranteed to face this year. No matter how small your company is, this last year pointed out that no organization is too small to be greatly affected by circumstances out of their control—many of which can be caused and solved by technology.
Challenge #1: Transitioning into Post-Pandemic Mode
Before the coronavirus turned offices into eerily quiet ghost towns, only 17 percent of U.S. employees worked from home for five days or more per week. The number increased to 44 percent during the pandemic and has only recently started to fall.
But just because employees finally have a reason to return to their offices and wear anything other than sweatpants when writing emails, filling in Excel spreadsheets, and participating in meetings, that doesn’t mean that their old work routines must necessarily return with them.
During the last year, a wealth of research has come out, supporting what many employees have instinctively known for a long time: productivity isn’t negatively affected by the shift to remote work. In fact, remote workers are sometimes more productive than their office-bound counterparts, so it’s in the best interest of every organization to consider a hybrid model—even if it means overcoming additional cybersecurity challenges. Particularly as they hunt the best talent and work toward keeping employees longer.
Challenge #2: Making Smart Digital Transformation Investments
It’s a hard fact that some organizations were significantly better prepared for the pandemic than others. More specifically, organizations that previously invested in digital transformation were able to adapt to the changing market conditions swiftly and relatively painlessly. On the other side of the coin, those who predominantly relied on outdated manual processes and did not embrace the reality of a digital work environment are no longer in business.
Digital transformation is especially important for SMBs, which are waging a digital war for customers with large enterprises and must do everything they can to increase their competitive edge. By making smart digital transformation decisions, SMBs can, for example:
- Better support flexible workforce
- Enable data-driven decision making
- Gain access to ‘scale-up/scale-down’ infrastructure
These and other perks are guaranteed to play an even more important role in the post-COVID-19 world, which will be dominated by the demand for seamless, multichannel customer experiences.
Challenge #3: Maintaining Sharp Focus on Cybersecurity
The pandemic also caused new and more expansive outbreaks of cyber threats. Determined to take advantage of the desperate situation, cybercriminals didn’t hesitate before launching COVID-19-themed phishing attacks, creating fake websites that extracted sensitive information from worried visitors seeking useful information, and crippling critical infrastructure with ransomware.
To protect their employees, systems, and data, organizations had to quickly implement new cybersecurity tools, update their dusty policies, and accelerate their cybersecurity awareness training programs. Many are still in the midst of reacting even at this very moment. But the challenge now is to maintain the same sharp focus on cybersecurity because most cyber threats that boomed last year are here to stay (and will likely evolve into even more sophisticated approaches).
Challenge #4: Moving from On-Premise to Cloud Computing
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have experienced firsthand just how limited on-premises infrastructure can be. It doesn’t matter how powerful your servers are or how optimized the software running on them is if you can’t access them because you were forced to suddenly leave your office and work from a remote location.
Cloud computing solves this problem and offers many additional benefits, including:
- Improved security
- Increased agility
- Access to new technologies
- Reduced IT costs
- Simplified budgeting
Even if pouring money and time into an on-premises infrastructure could offer all of the above, small businesses typically do not have the resources to build a robust network, maintenance plan, and security processes from scratch. So it’s easy to see why the cloud computing market is estimated to reach $287.03 billion by 2025.
The biggest challenge for every organization that decides to move from on-premises to cloud computing is to figure out which of the infinite potential paths to the cloud is the best. On top of that, cloud computing isn’t without its fair share of cybersecurity and compliance challenges which need to be tailored for the industry, size, and type of data that is being stored. The good news is that as this market grows, so do standardized processes which can make these decisions much easier as you go.
Challenge #5: Finding Specialized IT Talent
The global IT talent shortage has been getting progressively worse for years, with cybersecurity professionals being in particularly short supply. For anyone but the largest enterprises with the deepest pockets, it has become extremely difficult to hire talented IT employees, whose expertise is essential for the successful implementation of digital transformation initiatives, cloud migration, and other high-priority items on the IT roadmaps of most organizations in 2021.
To overcome this challenge, organizations of all sizes are increasingly interested in IT outsourcing. By partnering with a reputable IT services provider, any organization can instantly gain the insight and expertise that the largest enterprises have, all without going through a lengthy hiring process and dealing with the financial burden of employing in-house IT staff.
How to Overcome These IT Management Challenges in 2021
HDCav understands that 2020 was an unprecedented difficult year for small business, and we’re determined to help you make 2021 much better by providing the power and security of a full-scale IT department for less than a single salary.
With our managed IT services, overcoming all IT management challenges that you may possibly encounter on your way to success will be as easy as getting in touch with us. A quick chat can illustrate exactly what you have to gain, and what it will take to get you fully prepared for 2022 and beyond.