Technology is rapidly changing with new trends popping up every year. Our team sat down to discuss what topics we believe are the hottest in 2019. Any questions or additional hot topics you’d like to learn more about? Tag us on Twitter or message us on Facebook!
IT Security should have the attention of all business owners. The increase in security breaches since 2004 is staggering, with 2,200 data breaches reported in Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report alone. Our customers tell us stories daily about how they were targeted or attacked via email:
- Urgent emails which appear to be from a company executive asking for financial or other confidential information.
- Emails that request the recipient to buy Amazon gift cards and send them the gift card details via email.
- “Confidential” emails from an “employee” to the HR department asking that his or her bank account routing information be changed before the next direct deposit occurs.
The good news? The attacks are becoming less technical and more recognizable as scams. This means that with the right training and ongoing reminders to your employees, these types of threats are easily avoided.
Collaboration and File Storage
What tool works best for my business? Which documents should be stored where? What options do I have?
Collaborating effectively in your organization requires a company-wide commitment to selecting a tool and standardizing with it. We usually tell people to think of who needs access to the files and how they want to collaborate with these files and with each other.
- Use OneDrive for personal and business documents that you do not need to share with others.
- Use Sharepoint for department-wide sharing of Excel workbooks or Word documents and other common files.
- For group projects requiring shared resources, consider File Sharing with Microsoft Teams for easy sharing and communication between members of the group.
If your company doesn’t currently use Microsoft Office 365, we recommend seriously considering it today. The latest features and enhancements across Teams, SharePoint and Microsoft’s entire suite of applications are designed to save time, enable collaboration, and streamline IT management.
Upgrading Your Business Apps
Industry specific software applications are widely available for every kind of business and 2019 is a great year to take a look at your current business system and determine whether it is sophisticated enough to grow with you into the next decade. Whether you are a professional services organization looking for a new PSA or a company seeking to upgrade your ERP business system, it is important to select the system that meets your company’s unique requirements.
A few guidelines as you dive into your evaluation and selection process:
- Thoroughly document all of your business processes.
- Customizable Technology: Important if your company continually modifies your business processes. Define your business goals and the KPIs that you will use to measure those. Your software solution must be able to help you track those.
- Focus on your people and your processes, not on the technology. Interview key team members about their day-to-day tasks and the processes that could be more efficient. Make a wish list of the features in a new system which will help you streamline and automate your processes.
- Partner with a technology expert who is experienced in system selection, knows your industry and is well versed on the options available in the marketplace.
Implement Compliant, Audited Business Practices
Staying compliant with the many business requirements and regulations is not a new issue this year, but it is an area that will continue to be more important and challenging. Your customers, partners, and vendors will increasingly require that you have certain certifications in place either to prove that your business processes are well documented or to shift the risk of a financial loss from their company to yours. This is particularly important in the proper handling of customers’ data (especially personally identifiable information) – ensuring that it is encrypted and secure and that only the appropriate people have access. Companies in the Healthcare industry subject to HIPAA compliance are already requiring their business partner companies to provide Business Associate Agreement (BAA) documentation stating they are following proper information handling procedures of data. The Healthcare industry companies have been implementing and refining these regulations for many years, but other industries are following suit with other compliance standards that are applicable broadly across industries. Many are starting to require similar compliance using common SOC1 & SOC2 standards that document and test that proper business processes are being followed. It is important for all companies to review these standards and to move to implement them on their own schedule before they are required to implement them for a customer or trading partner.
Moving to the Cloud
It wasn’t long ago that cloud was a buzz word you heard in the IT industry. Now it is a frequent discussion even with non-technical employees. There will be a day — sooner than you think — that an on-site server will be an oddity. Email solutions have already migrated to the cloud using Microsoft Office 365 or Google Gmail.
As you evaluate your current software and applications that are on an in-house server, you should be asking yourself if there is a cloud version available.
The reasons are many:
- Cost — Software as a service is a predictable cost for your business that enables you to pay monthly for access to the software and hardware and is managed by the software company – freeing you from purchasing expensive server hardware.
- Security — The security benefits of not having your data stored on your server are numerous: easier disaster recovery, better data encryption between devices, minimized risk for cyber attacks and more.
- Availability — If your location is not available from loss of power or an internet disruption, your employees in the field or at remote offices can still work.
These five topics are essential areas of concern and are opportunities to improve your company uses technology today – making you more productive and more secure.
At Revolution Group, we focus on helping our customers understand these topics as a normal part of our monthly managed IT services. Contact us today to and ask us how we can help you implement the ideas discussed here or answer any questions you may have.