We leave 2021 in the wake of soaring prices, the threat of potential lockdowns, and the ever growing risk of cyber attacks. It’s fair to say it’s been a pretty turbulent year. But what does this mean for businesses? And how does this impact our business technology? Through careful research and industry knowledge we’ve put together our top 6 Business Technology Challenges for 2022. We’ll be explaining what they are while recommending some solutions so that you can prepare for the year ahead.
Remote working has been a hot topic for a while now, and with good cause too! During the height of the pandemic many businesses were forced to adopt a remote working model. This left many scrambling for the best solutions. Unfortunately, it isn’t over yet!
In most of Europe, businesses, bars and other public places have been instructed to close, and school children have been told to remain at home. With a new potential more transmissible variant detected, it’s possible that the UK will follow suit.
Even if we don’t go into a full lockdown, businesses should still prepare for the challenge of employees needing to self isolate, or stay at home with children. Additionally, they need to be prepared to offer more flexibility for those caring for dependents.
The business technology challenge in 2022 will be how to prevent future scrambling. What are the right solutions for a robust at-home or remote working approach?
One of the major challenges of offering remote working is the ability to collaborate. While there are multiple applications that allow you to ‘meet’ up with colleagues and hold important conference calls, it’s easy to neglect the importance of file sharing and security. Thankfully Microsoft 365 has it all. With Home, Business and Enterprise plans Microsoft dominates the business collaboration service.
To start with, Microsoft offers a ton of Office apps like Word, Excel and Powerpoint that you essentially pay for through a subscription. It is an intelligent cloud service, again offering tools to enhance productivity and collaboration through One-Drive. Business users can take advantage of mobile-device manager Intune and Azure Information Protection.
In addition, when you work with IT consultants like Charlton Networks, the combination of expertise coupled with advanced programs like Microsoft 365 enables us to achieve world-class security and support for our clients. We also offer a number of Remote VPN solutions, such as SSL VPN, IPsec VPN, TeamViewer or SplashTop, which all keep you connected to office systems.
Cop 26 saw 120 world leaders and 197 heads of states come together to carve a new and (hopefully) binding agreement on tackling Climate Change. This seismic event witnessed the emergence of ambitious pledges that business will have to start considering.
Allowing employees to work from home will no longer be just a hangover from the Pandemic. Rather, working from home and cutting corporate omissions will be the next big challenge for many businesses in 2022. The business technology challenge includes:
The good news is, the Pandemic has sped up our realisation that remote working is a viable model. Programs like Microsoft 365, backed-up by technology partners like Charlton Networks create effective solutions to the shifts in working dynamics.
At the risk of repeating our above point, there’s a reason why Microsoft reported profits of $20.5bn (£14.89bn) in net income. Profits have grown by 48% year-on-year, as cloud sales jumped by almost $4bn (£2.91bn) from a year ago. It’s because there is a demand for remote working and Microsoft offers a fantastic solution. Work with a technology partner and we can help you implement the right subscription based on your unique business needs.
After Cop 26 many businesses are responding to societal and government pressure to do what they can to reduce carbon emissions. While Governments haven’t put the wheels in motion yet, we believe that businesses who show willingness, readiness, and take the initiative to do what they can will gain trust and loyalty from customers.
We’ve started our own Net Zero journey. We’re working with GoClimate Positive to understand our own carbon footprint and reduce, or off-set this where possible.
With so many businesses turning to cloud-based solutions in 2021, data security and cyber security remain a key challenge throughout 2022.
Recent IBM research suggests that the cost of data breaches in the UK has grown to nearly £2.7 million in the past year. In the U.S. data breaches in September alone resulted in 40 million victims. And according to Security Magazine these are primarily due to unsecured cloud databases and systems. Data breaches can have devastating consequences for businesses. Not only do they lose profits, they have to work hard to rebuild trust and reputation.
Hacking and ransomware is another growing issue with catastrophic consequences. Earlier this year a cyber attack on Colonical Pipeline brought parts of the U.S to a standstill. As a key distributor of fuel to the South East, a ransomware cyber attack left them locked-out of their systems. After ignoring vulnerabilities in their IT infrastructure, the attackers were able to infiltrate their system and effectively shut down their billing and distribution capabilities. The attackers also stole 100 gigabytes of data and threatened to release it if the ransom wasn’t paid. In the end, the hackers were paid $5million in order to restore systems.
When it comes to cyber security it is vital that you identify and understand the risks to your business. Take a quick look at our guide to effective IT risk management. Once these are established you will need to build preventative measures, and have a system in place for when things go wrong. Otherwise known as disaster avoidance and continuity planning.
The very best way to identify your existing vulnerabilities is through a comprehensive IT audit. Luckily, Charlton Networks offer IT audits as a free service, because they are so crucial to the success of all businesses. During an audit our IT specialists will examine the software, hardware (including individual devices being brought onto site), processes, and systems in place to make recommendations on essential products and solutions.
Security and Risk Reporting: SRR covers your complete set of IT infrastructure. It monitors your internet connectivity and cloud services, and monitors and reports on security flaws, vulnerabilities and mis-configurations. It provides a simple ‘risk score’ that is easy to understand. The SRR service is provided in 2-options:
1. Standard Security and Risk Reporting: Our standard security & risk reporting focuses on the Microsoft Cloud. Our automated reporting covers every area of Microsoft 365 and Azure and gives you confidence when trusting the Microsoft cloud with IT operation. We publish a full set of reports each month,. This covers both your day-to-day activity and the security of your system. Reports can be tailored to your needs and will automatically appear each month in your Halo customer portal.
2. Premium Security & Risk Reporting: Our premium security and reporting includes everything in the standard package, but also adds on-site infrastructure, servers, SQL servers and all your Internet connections. This fully automated service includes regular scanning of your Firewalls and public IP addresses. It also verifies your external security. Plus, we also scan every server and SQL servers too. This gives you regular insight into the security and risk of your IT systems. We work with all our clients to review these reports and help develop an on-going IT roadmap for improvement.
Firewall: Firewalls devices provide filtering and blocking of unwanted data and connections. They provide visibility of your network, users, and applications being used to control who can access what. Increasingly, Unified Threat Management units now provide a range of functions that include firewall stateful packet inspection.
Security Policies: Increasingly, Charlton Networks are helping companies to create a set of policies and best practices that describe how an organization manages, protects, and distributes its sensitive company information.
Sophos: Charlton Network and Sophos have a 20+ year partnership that recognises us as a Gold Partner. Sophos provides leading cyber-security solutions for business users. From Email, device & server protection, through to advance detection & 24*7 threat hunting. Sophos has a solution for every business that is easy to use and securely managed via a central on-line platform. Simple to manage & deploy, Sophos products & solutions can be supplied as part of a managed service or as separate products.
Remote Management and Monitoring (RMM): RMM tools are designed to manage the complex IT environment, including the proactive monitoring of devices and their security patching. Proactively managing devices, ensuring all applications are patched and vulnerabilities removed is a major step toward securing your business IT environment.
A business continuity plan (BCP) details how a business will continue to operate in the event of an unplanned disruption to service. It’s a survival guide! A guide that should consider every area of your business and how to maintain services should an incident occur.
More importantly, a business continuity plan should provide solutions for minimising downtown and getting back to business quickly! Because so many businesses are reliant on IT and technology one of the most fundamental parts of a business continuity plan is how to restore IT and systems, also known as a disaster recovery plan.
The ultimate protection against a cyberattack, especially something like the crypto-locker malware infection, is the backup of your systems. We recommend using Altaro for your physical / virtual servers or machines and for your Office365 backup too. Having a tried and tested disaster recovery solution, means having the ability to recover when things go wrong.
Backups should be fully encrypted and managed from anywhere on a daily basis by your IT provider. But also remember that ‘blended’ attacks involving both automated programs and real people are increasing and their sophistication growing. This means that if your backups are connected to your network they can be vulnerable. Therefore, always consider heavily restricting access, having multiple copies of backups and having off-site or cloud backup copies as the ultimate protection in the event of a malware infection.
2021 wasn’t just about the Pandemic, it was about Brexit. It has been suggested that Brexit has fuelled a skills shortage. Coupled with a rise in demand for skills many businesses are finding it harder to recruit and retain talented members.
The other problem is that many businesses are demanding more complex capabilities from their business technology. With a requirement for more automation, higher security and systems to manage entire teams of remote workers there is a huge responsibility being placed on internal IT teams that simply cannot cope. This is a really big business technology challenge for many.
Managed IT Support can really help businesses succeed. Instead of employing and managing a busy IT department we provide in-depth support and IT solutions for your organisation. Leaving you free to concentrate on the commercial success. From managing your entire network to essential remote support, basically, we’ve got you covered.
Our Flexible IT Support compliments your existing IT teams. Whether you’re looking for a specialist solution or additional short-term support, we have a range of products and services designed to help businesses achieve more. We integrate seamlessly with IT teams, providing essential support when you need it most.
Many businesses were forced online during the height of the Pandemic. We like to think that this period will become known as the ‘Indigital Revolution’.
Traditional in-person services like Property management and Estate agents began offering online viewing. Wills & Probate providers began taking instructions online which were also ‘witnessed’ online. There has also been a massive rise in the number of Technological businesses established. Uk Startup Locumotive established a mobile app to offer locum opportunities. The app offers built-in communications channels with stores and streamlined management of user invoices, expenses and payments.
We know that ecommerce (online sales) has been growing steadily since 2006. In 2019 online sales made up 19.1% of total retail sales in the UK. However, according to the Office Of National Statistics this leapt to a staggering 37.6% in January 2021 which leveled off at around 27% in October 2021.
However, being online is no longer enough. Thanks to the ‘Amazon effect’, consumers now expect exceptional online services. They want speed, efficiency, fast delivery and instant help when it’s needed. For many businesses the challenge will be to perfect their online service. No matter what you offer, businesses – now more than ever – need to ensure that they have a great online presence and have the technological infrastructure to deliver it. This is a trend and opportunity that businesses should be considering as a challenge to be met.
At Charlton Networks we have a team of digital experts that work solely on optimising the user experience. We also develop websites and create custom software like CRMs, databases or stock management systems. These solutions help businesses to automate laborious processes, communications, stock and supply management.
These time consuming tasks for many businesses stop them from reaching their full potential. But technological solutions designed specifically for your business become a vital, life changing asset that should be invested in. Especially during the era of the ‘Indigital Revolution’.
It feels as though the cost of EVERYTHING is rising. Inflation rose by 3.2 percent in the 12 months to August 2021 – the biggest leap on record. While we’re all hoping that this is a temporary glitch during the pandemic, it doesn’t seem that costs will stabilize anytime soon.
One of the key drivers of this inflation is the rising costs of fuel, driven by a fuel shortage. This has increased utility costs which have been passed from suppliers to businesses and consumers. In addition to this the UK Government has increased NI to meet NHS demand and we’re currently suffering from a HGV driver shortage after Brexit, which is again driving up costs.
The challenge for businesses will be their ability to invest in IT technology services and products. With everything you’ve read so far we hope that businesses will realise the vital role that IT technology plays.
Working with a flexible IT Consultancy company like Charlton Networks allows you to look at more flexible solutions and costs. For all of the clients we work with we build bespoke solutions based on a number of factors, including budget. We look at the most important aspects that are having the biggest impact on your business and look to resolve these first. We then create a longer term plan to ensure that IT infrastructure grows in line with the business.
It is really important that businesses find a reliable IT partner. Services and packages should be tailored to businesses.
As 2021 comes to a close we’re all feeling the effects of the Pandemic.
If the past year has taught us anything, it should be that businesses need to be agile and ready to adapt. Recently, we’ve had to learn how to operate through a pandemic, battle rising costs, while assessing how ‘green’ we can be. We’ve also had to adapt to supply shortages, major shipping problems, a loss of teams or key players and political shifts that threaten to change the way we do things forever.
Unfortunately, we think that 2022 will be just as turbulent. Now is not the time to give up and close shop. Get prepared for the ride ahead. With our help our clients have been able to put a plan in place. We’ve helped them to assess their situation and make important decisions about their Business IT. The only real challenge is failing to adapt. To talk to us today and find out how we can help plan for these 6 Business Technology Challenges for 2022.
What’s your biggest challenge for the year head? Let us know by getting in touch.
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