IT Management

Top Challenges IT Professionals Are Facing

By | 5 min read | Published

Don’t let IT challenges stall your digital transformation.

The pandemic forced companies to quickly embrace new technology to enable a remote workforce. As a result, companies now face a set of new IT challenges. Companies must now deal with securing devices in a hybrid working environment. They are also faced with dealing with mounting cybersecurity issues. All of this combined with inefficient IT operations can be disastrous if not managed properly.

In this article we’ll discuss what are the key challenges facing IT professionals. We’ll also discuss the impact of these challenges and what you can do to minimize chances of them disrupting your organization.

1

Securing data in hybrid work environments

One of the most critical IT challenges is managing security in a hybrid work environment. The hybrid workplace is a costly problem with far-reaching consequences. The 2021 IBM Global Study puts it into perspective: Data breaches now cost companies $4.24 million per incident on average. Yet, according to Gartner, only 12% of boards have a dedicated board-level cybersecurity committee (full content available to Gartner clients). Meanwhile, reliance on cloud technology and unsecured endpoints increase threat risks.

The pandemic forced companies to rely on cloud technology for remote work. This has increased a company’s attack surface. Cyberattacks on cloud services have grown more than 600%.

Another area of concern for IT professionals is unsecured personal networks and devices. These devices may not conform to corporate security standards. As a result, they are easy targets for attackers looking for weaknesses to exploit.

Another issue? Employees commingle personal and work activities on their devices. Checking email, browsing malicious sites and installing unapproved software increase security risks. This could mean that phishing, ransomware, and malware go unchecked. So, how should an SMB like yourself respond to these challenges?

The first aim is for SMBs to invest in the right IT expertise and resources to protect themselves. Extra items to put in place include:

  • Secure employee personal devices
  • Use encryption protocols
  • Enforce multi-factor authentication
  • Install more granular access control over data
2

Integrating emerging technologies with legacy systems

Those companies behind the digital transformation curve are at a disadvantage. A Gartner study cites technology immaturity as a barrier to using emerging technology (full content available to Gartner clients). Companies that don’t embrace emerging technology are missing out. A recent study says companies using emerging technologies report a 21% earnings increase. Yet SMBs are burdened with legacy systems that put them at a disadvantage.

Legacy systems, such as ERM and CRM products, go untouched for years. Thus, they lack the resources needed to leverage emerging technology to drive innovation. Companies miss opportunities for operational efficiencies and innovation. Integrating legacy systems with emerging technology has several benefits which include:

Real-time data for rapid decision-making: Recent advancements in technology focus on data integration. Combining data from many systems gives leaders well-rounded data for decision-making. Integrating data also gives companies access to data in real-time. That way they can be proactive in decision-making.

Improved customer experiences: Integrating customer information from various data sources creates a holistic customer profile. Companies can use this information to identify ways to personalize customer interactions. The information can also be used to identify new products or features. All of which are critical to increasing revenue.

How can IT professionals such as yourself address this challenge? The key is to align the technology strategy with the business strategy:

  • Decide what technology you need to meet business objectives.
  • Identify a technology roadmap that outlines the upgrades needed.
  • Plan technology projects to help align with the business strategy (ensure the corporate budget includes these resources.)
3

Inefficient IT operations hinder business growth

Reactive IT departments live in “firefighting.” Each day brings a new issue that takes staff away from focusing on value-added tasks. The consequences can be severe. Employees will be less productive and processes will be slower. These issues will cause employees to search for workarounds, which can cause a handful of problems.

For one, employees don’t understand the security implications of their actions. Their workarounds may put corporate data at risk for theft. Data inconsistency becomes an issue when employees use their own fixes.

So what does an efficient IT department look like? Effective IT departments are proactive rather than reactive. They have plans in place to mitigate risks. These plans help the team minimize unexpected outages and performance issues. A few ways to ensure maximum efficiency is to ensure IT plans are:

  • Aligned with corporate vision: Technology should evolve and expand with the company’s goals.
  • Well-documented: Write the process down in clear language.
  • Well-communicated. Make employees aware of the processes. The document should be accessible to everyone on the team.
  • Consistent: IT processes must be consistent across the organization.
  • Improved: Review the plan often. Update it to reflect new risks.

Turn IT challenges into opportunities by tackling them head-on

Tackling IT challenges can seem daunting. The number of emerging technologies increases daily which makes it hard for companies to keep up. Developing a strategy to align technology with your corporate goals is critical to remaining competitive in a digital-first environment.

Are you facing one or several of these challenges? If so, don’t wait to address them. Start implementing changes today, and you’ll come out ahead of your competitors that don’t.

If you like this, there’s more to read on our small business blog. We’re constantly researching and publishing articles that cover best practices to help SMBs.



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About the Author

Jory Byrd - Guest Contributor

Jory Byrd - Guest Contributor

Jory Boyd is a former software developer and the founder of a custom mobile app development company servicing businesses in various industries. He is a content strategist and writer for cybersecurity, software, and technology companies across the globe. Jory brings over a decade of experience helping companies expand their online presence.

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