I need to be sure my ICT is safe and secure
In today’s digital economy, placing your organisation’s ICT at the heart of its overall strategy has never been more important.
With consumers, stakeholders and staff alike all demanding instant engagement, responsive service and on-demand access, poorly implemented ICT can have a detrimental effect on businesses and organisations of any size. In a world that’s increasingly driven by data, insufficient storage and ineffective business intelligence (BI) systems can be holding your organisation back.
Likewise, ageing or outdated hardware and out of service software and applications can also be hampering your organisation’s productivity and efficiency. And with the cyber threat continuing to grow, vulnerabilities in legacy systems are far easier to exploit by hackers and cybercriminals. This could leave your organisation counting a high financial and reputational cost.
There is also a delicate balance to strike between the resources you need to manage your ICT environment and the need to reduce your operational costs. Again, this is much harder to do with legacy infrastructure, software, applications and services,, which are often more expensive to maintain and keep up to date when compared to investing in new wave solutions. While these are all longstanding challenges faced by ICT professionals, the pace of change is more difficult to predict.
With new solutions coming into the marketplace all the time and rendering their predecessors obsolete, predicting your what your technology needs will be in 18 months, two years and five years is almost impossible. However, with the right planning and strategy in place, your organisation’s ICT can still adapt to change, both now and in the future.
How do I futureproof my organisation’s ICT?
Effective technology planning shouldn’t just be down to your organisation’s ICT team. With ICT becoming a critical part of an organisation’s operations and success, your ICT strategy should be developed in collaboration between ICT, senior leadership and individual departments to ensure it meets the overall objectives of your organisation. The aim here is not just to create a strategy to improve your ICT. It’s about creating an ICT function which serves your organisation in the best way, to help it achieve its goals. With many technology options available, here are a few things to bear in mind when it comes to developing a futureproof ICT strategy and adoption plan:
Invest in cloud
The advent of cloud technology has fundamentally transformed the way the world does business. A substantial proportion of global organisations have already migrated their applications, data and storage to the cloud, and many more are continuing to adopt cloud-based IaaS and SaaS solutions. There are many benefits to cloud migration for organisations of all sizes, but arguably the most important is the fact that cloud technology is futureproofed. Migrating your ICT to the cloud will ensure your organisation always has access to the latest versions of the technology it uses, which can be scaled up and down easily, depending on future need.
Consumerisation of ICT
There are now a variety of different ways any particular organisation can consume any specific ICT service. You could deliver it yourself from on-premise, buy it as a managed service, host it in cloud on cloud-based servers, run it on platform as a service, or run it as software as a service. You need to be able to consume your ICT services from any of these platforms and be assured of the performance of the applications and their security. To do this, you will need to ensure your connectivity is robust, that you are able to monitor application performance from a user perspective, that you know what your security requirements are for an application irrespective of how it’s delivered, and that you can manage the cost of an application and potentially cross charge for its consumption.
Understanding the current technology marketplace, what the underlying trends are and what the direction of travel might be is crucial. If you have an idea of what might be coming down the line, and how it might impact your organisation, you can build your ICT strategy accordingly. So, it’s worth investing in training and sending your ICT staff to any relevant conferences and seminars to give them a better understanding of the current and future landscapes, so they can plan for any changes.
Staffing is another key issue here – ensuring you have sufficient ICT staff, so they aren’t purely firefighting. This will enable them to work proactively to ensure your ICT serves your organisation in the best way, now and in the future.
Invest in R&D
There are many different platforms available that could help your organisation futureproof its ICT, and your organisational needs and objectives will drive the exact solution you choose. So, as part of developing your ongoing ICT strategy, you should reserve some budget for R&D activities to allow your ICT staff to research and try new solutions. Allow low-cost innovative projects with specific objectives to fail, so you can see where failure was and address it, without any real commercial impacts.
Again, the importance of a dynamic – rather than static – ICT strategy is critical here, and your R&D activities should help inform any future decisions about which technologies and solutions will deliver the best value.
Bear in mind that most hardware – and software – has a limited service life, of typically between three and five years, but up to seven to ten years. Once it reaches a certain date, it will usually fall out of vendor support. When it does, you will no longer be able to access the latest security patches, firmware upgrades and other vital updates to keep it running as it should. Without these, security flaws found and reported won’t be fixed, replacements for broken components won’t be available, and vendors either won’t help when something goes wrong, or will charge a premium to help.
The older your hardware gets, the less compatible it is likely to be with newer software applications too. So, you should invest only in solutions that have been released in the past year. Or those that vendors have committed to supporting for a more extended period. You should never buy minimum spec non-upgradable hardware and always buy with headroom, to ensure you have sufficient spare capacity to grow into if required.
Look to the future
Like we said earlier, technology evolves at a fast pace, so your ICT strategy must keep up. Your strategy, once written, won’t survive a single year without being updated, so make it a living, breathing document which changes in-line with the technology landscape, rather than something that is read once and forgotten. Consider thought leaders – such as Gartner, Forrester and others – to ensure you understand what the key technology topics are at any given time so you can adapt your strategy accordingly.
It’s also essential to understand the difference between new technology, trends and facts, and the way some trends can become facts due to their adoption. Some newer technologies can be popularised and become trends without becoming ‘business as usual’ facts, so it’s important to recognise that what’s trending now might be obsolete in a year.
Find out more
AMDH Services Ltd has a wealth of experience in ICT infrastructure design. As your trusted technology partner, we’ll work with you to deliver the best outcomes possible for your organisation. We base our advice on the whole technology marketplace, rather than the vendors we have previously sold. It’s about matching the solutions and features available with your requirements, budget and future aspirations. We can also provide you with the best technical expertise at the right price to enhance the overall value of your investment in our services. To find out more, get in touch for an informal chat and a free consultation.