Use these key considerations to build your IT roadmap and move your business forward
In recent times, businesses of every size and in every industry have experienced major disruptions. What was once predictable became an unknown, almost overnight. The need to make dramatic shifts in the way businesses operate, serve customers and engage employees came urgently and caused many companies to adapt quickly to meet these evolving challenges.
Office buildings emptied out as companies found solutions to enable employees to work remotely. Previously in-person customer interactions transformed into touchless and virtualized delivery services. Face-to-face meetings quickly evolved into video conferences and collaboration occurred in the cloud from dispersed locations. Many of these changes hinged on some quick and decisive action from IT departments.
As restrictions begin to lift and companies look ahead, it’s clear that IT departments will need to be set up for a different kind of business-as-usual in the future. Businesses need to ensure that they’re building resiliency, redundancy and availability into their IT infrastructure to be prepared for the unexpected. They must ensure the networks and critical systems that employees, partners and customers access are consistently online, secure and performing optimally.
These four suggestions can help you reassess your operations and assist you in building your IT and telecom roadmap for the future, whatever the future brings.
1. Set your business up to scale
When times are unpredictable, it’s an added stressor to feel locked into a technology. To circumvent this, many organizations are moving systems and applications to the cloud. Not only does the cloud enable remote management and maintenance, it also gives you the ability to scale up without the need for added hardware, or down without the worry of unused, expensive infrastructure.
Beyond flexibility and scalability, applications hosted in the cloud also enable accessibility for your IT teams from almost anywhere, which makes a scenario like the COVID-19 shut-down far easier to manage.
2. Simplify maintenance and upgrades
Maintaining on-premises technology like servers and other network infrastructure can be a major draw on your IT department, especially in times of crisis. When going into the office was off-limits during the recent lockdown, these routines became even more challenging and complicated.
A future-looking technology roadmap may include moving on-premises servers and infrastructure to data centres where they can always be kept accessible and online. Data centre colocation minimizes the possibility of overheating or power outages, and facilities are securely monitored, freeing up IT departments for other essential tasks. Colocation can be a big step toward simplifying maintenance and upgrades while keeping your business agile.
Businesses seeking to further offload the responsibility of maintaining physical infrastructure are moving their systems to cloud services like public cloud, private cloud and virtual private cloud. Knowing which solution is right for your business is a first step to improve security, reduce the costs associated with on-premises infrastructure and free up IT teams to focus on moving business forward.
Public cloud is a cloud environment that’s made available to a company on a pay-as-you-go basis from a third-party provider and offered over the public internet.
Private cloud is cloud infrastructure that is solely dedicated to one organization, which means the environment is fully configured and managed to that company’s needs.
Virtual private cloud provides isolated environments that companies can use within a public cloud, which provides the customization and security of a private cloud and is easy to scale up and down like a public cloud.
3. Plan continuity into your roadmap
Whether applications and systems live in the cloud or on-premises, businesses need to know that their data is safe, secure and always accessible. To mitigate what could be a catastrophic loss and ensure business continuity, prepare your business for any type of disruption, disaster or unexpected event by implementing backup and recovery services for their systems.
Whether it’s replicating data and business applications to the cloud through disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) or using a colocation data centre to store backups, it is a smart idea to prioritize your data backup and recovery in future planning.
4. Build agility and resiliency into your business
Just about every business today requires fast, reliable access to the internet. Ensuring this access can become tricky when disaster strikes and an outage occurs. In cases like these, broadband redundancy is important. A fixed wireless access (FWA) service can nicely complement your primary service, kicking in when you need it. FWA delivers internet service over a cellular network instead of cable, providing consistent connections when a reliable backup or secondary internet connection is needed.
Not all locations have immediate access to a wired internet, however, especially temporary locations. Many health care providers during the height of the pandemic, for example, had to quickly open a secondary offsite testing facility to screen patients for the novel coronavirus.
As your business maps out a plan with agility and reliability in mind, FWA may be worth considering. Whether businesses choose this service for primary access or as a backup connection, having it in place can help eliminate internet disruptions and keep your operations running smoothly.
There’s never been a better time to go back to the drawing board and plan for the future. Starting with a clear picture of what your business needs to keep essential operations moving forward and understanding which tools are available to make it easy for your business to adapt, will be enable you to response to whatever the future brings.