Each new year brings with it an opportunity to sit back and think about what you are doing and what you might like to do differently in the coming months or years. This applies to all aspects of a business but never more than to the technology needs which are integral to all businesses.
There are several things to consider as you look back at 2016 and look forward in these early months of 2017.
Business Data Hijacking is a constant threat
Unfortunately there is a class of criminal in this world that thinks it is ok to attack other's data in order to make a buck. These criminals transcend borders and launch their attacks wherever they find a vulnerability. A while back I read an article that explained how a network of malware sponsors made their money. It explained that it was really a matter of numbers with them distributing millions of emails to get a few successful hits. Each of these few hits might only yield a small return but when done on a massive, worldwide scale there is significant money to be gained. With the growth of Ransomware another even more insidious enemy to data security now continues to grow. Putting a rigorous data security routine within your business is a must and it has to provide real time end point data backup and security to fight off these threats and provide the means for rapid recovery in the event you feel the brunt of an attack.
Subscription Based Software and Services Continues to Grow
Instead of making a one time purchase to empower your operations there is a growing trend to acquire the capabilities needed through subcription services. A good example is the hosting and distribution of this blog and the Leppert website. It uses a platform called Hubspot to manage, hold and serve up the pieces needed to empower this work. One of the key features of subscription services is the ability to acquire upgraded tools, software and capabilities often for the same amount you have been previously paying. This trend can apply to many other products and services beyond software. It is possible to rent the use of hardware, server space, server software and all sorts of other subscription based tools which might be needed in your business. Think of something like an automatically renewing lease which is output based rather than for a single piece of physical product. These models permit more flexibility, ability to gear up resources quickly and perhaps deal with seasonal volume fluctuations cost effectively.
Greater knowledge of risks, especially with cloud environments
While the move to the cloud has brought substantial benefit to businesses and at times can be seen to why the growth mentioned above in subscription services it has also brought a need to think carefully about how you access and distribute information. Encrypted communications, secured access using robust protocols, understanding geographic locational constraints are all components of seeking out the right cloud solutions for your business. It may also have an big impact on decisions for not putting some of your operations in the cloud but understanding that backup requirements may be complicated by such a decision.
Understanding data management on a micro and macro scale
Every business develops massive amounts of data about customer, installations, suppliers and others. The more interactive your business the more data you will develop. Designing and understanding a comprehensive data management strategy will become increasingly more critical. Part of this need will be driven by the ability to make better business decisions based upon analysis of the data you collect but also part will be driven by legislative constraints placed upon you as it relates to third party data you may have. Understanding how and when to use data is becoming a critical business need which crosses all industries.
Taking some time to assess how these and other trends are affecting your industry and your customers will help you better plan how to deploy your assets or gain new ones to enhance your response. This is time well spent to help avoid getting caught but unplanned costs.