What is Technology Assessment and Why Your Business Needs One?
Do you ever feel that you and your IT staff are continuously putting out fires instead of focusing on projects that can help your company increase production, improve efficiency, and generate more income?
From simple user issues to glitches and bugs that derail your whole business operations, it seems like there is always an IT problem waiting to be solved. As a result, you never get to the things you have to do for your business.
You are probably in a crossroads. Do you continue with your current set of business technology or maybe it is time to replace some of its parts or possibly, replace the whole thing? If you feel that this situation is speaking to you, then maybe it is time for a change.
However, what kind of changes does your company need? How do you identify the changes that will improve the situation of your business technology-wise?
What you probably need is a full technology assessment. It refers to the process of thoroughly reviewing your organization’s IT infrastructure, security measures, network and system management, and overall performance.
Through this proactive approach, you will be able to objectively identify areas of improvement that will help you make sound strategic business decisions.
What Elements Are Evaluated?
One of the most critical aspects of your whole IT infrastructure is your company network. If your business is a person, the network is the circulatory system. It connects users to each other, to the files they need, and the access to apps and software they need to perform their jobs. If the network goes down, downtime is inevitable. That also means lost dollars.
That is why it is usually the first thing evaluated. You have to ensure that the network hardware and equipment, systems, and application and software are well provisioned, adequately secured, and optimized so that the organization maximizes it.
The cloud is the present and future of information technology. It gives your business great flexibility, mobility, and scalability without the high cost of on-premise IT systems. If you are not taking advantage of the cloud, then your business is operating at a disadvantage.
And even if you are already in the cloud, are you getting the most out of it? A technology assessment can tell you aspects of your business that you can bring to the cloud and what should stay in-house. It can also give you an idea if you need a full cloud migration, or if you can have co-managed setup.
Business Communications Systems and Solutions
The internet has also changed the way businesses communicate. It provided more affordable alternatives to traditional landlines or public switched telephone network (PSTN), through VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol. In conjunction with cloud PBX technology, businesses can now enjoy a full-featured cloud-hosted phone system complete with all the features like auto-attendant, call routing, call forwarding, and call screening, without the need to build an on-premise infrastructure.
Also, there are now team collaboration and messaging apps available that will make business communications much easier to track than traditional email. These are things that your business can explore if your organization is struggling to communicate internally and externally.
Security and Compliance
Depending on the industry that you are operating in, your business may be subject to a couple of standards and regulations. Companies in the healthcare industry, for example, are obliged to follow HIPAA standards in regards to the handling and storing of patient information. If some standards and regulations have to be followed, you have to make sure that your business is compliant. If not, your company can be penalized or even suspended for violations.
Regardless of the need to be compliant, however, you need to have a secure IT infrastructure. With incidents of cyberattacks and data breaches increasing every year, it pays to have up to date security protocols for different types of network and system attacks.
What are the Most Common Vulnerabilities You May Encounter?
Weak or Outdated Security Protocols
It is the most common vulnerability detected by technology assessments. Smaller businesses are notoriously spending more on things that will improve efficiency and productivity while neglecting security.
Hackers, cyber attackers, and other malicious parties, however, are getting smarter by the minute. Outdated security protocols are no match for high-level and highly-motivated attackers.
Non-optimized Technology Resources
Another area of improvement usually detected is improper allocation of network resources. Each team will have different technological needs. Some departments may require more network resources than other departments; your team has to accommodate those needs. By reviewing your entire network and system allocations, you will be able to identify who needs more and who can work with less.
The third most common finding in different technology assessments is bandwidth bottleneck. As more of your business is migrated to the cloud, the more internet bandwidth is needed. It doesn’t help that your users are wasting it on YouTube, Netflix, and other streaming applications and websites.
How Do You Proceed?
It is one thing to say that you need a technology assessment; doing it is another matter. It will be difficult to ask your staff to review its own work so the best choice would be to go to a trusted third party.
A trusted managed service provider like thinkIT Solutions can fulfill the role. They can make an objective evaluation of your current IT infrastructure and give you’re a report on the vulnerabilities and areas of improvements found. They can also provide suggestions and recommendations that can help.
Of course, as the business owner, it will be up to you to make the final decisions. In the end, a full technology assessment is just the first step in improving your business technology; it is what you do afterward that will dictate the success of your business.