To say that the last couple of years have been challenging would be a gross understatement, especially for organizations and businesses that involve the healthcare industry, service or hospitality industry, and the entertainment industry. Unfortunately, the pandemic has not left many industries untouched, including our IT industry.The fast and furious evolution of the IT industry in the first few months of the pandemic showed the world just how much we all count on the services and abilities that we gain through the use of personal and business devices. Think about how vital it has been to the successful continuation of your business, no matter what field you are in, through a virtual format. What would we do without WebEx, Zoom, or Google Meet? Additionally, consider the tele-health visits that allow you to meet and talk through your medical concerns with your healthcare provider. Emergency rooms, clinics, and primary care offices would have been overrun without that IT capability. Lastly, consider how key it was to your business to have employees working productively from home or in a remote/hybrid format. These changes in the IT world had (and continue to have) a huge impact on how businesses and people were able to survive the last few years. Despite the ways that IT has been able to keep many businesses afloat through these challenging times, there remain challenges that the IT world will need to continually be vigilant about as we move through 2022. Our blog today takes a closer look at a few of those critical issues and how the pandemic may have changed how we think and react to these issues. Several areas including cyber security, the technology skills gap, business continuity, and staying current are issues that every business IT department or IT management company should have on their radar for the coming year.
Technology Skills Gap
As a business leader you may have noticed in the last few years a skills gap that seems to be widening in our industry. In fact, according to CompTIA research, 93% of employers report an overall skills gap in their IT professionals, expressing a disparity between desired skill sets and existing ones.This same study indicates that, “80% of organizations report their IT skills gap affects at least one business area such as staff productivity, customer service/customer engagement, and security. As IT strategy plays into overall business strategy more and more, an investment in tech talent is an investment in your business goals.”One area in particular that has been difficult to find talented IT individuals has been in the area of developers. TechCrunch describes finding and hiring “full-stack developers as difficult or very difficult.”Industry leaders have less of a challenge hiring full-stack developers because of the approaches and tools they use and more because of the quality of the work they get to do. Rather than working on keeping legacy systems alive, they prefer to work on new projects. Our business world needs both in equal parts to keep older systems current and to look toward the future of business marketplaces. Since IT skills gaps have increased by 155% in three years globally, it would make sense for businesses to invest in training, incentives for continuing learning, or programs to encourage IT professionals to remain in the field and at your company. (Source: GlobalKnowledge.com)
Ongoing Cyber Security Issues
The ‘elephant in the room’ continues to be cyber security and how staying on top of this is paramount to any business’ success. Even during the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, the world saw an increase in hacking, cyber crimes, and security issues! BusinessWire reports that “cyber threats have increased 81% since the pandemic began.” In short, the cyber criminals are not slowing down or taking some time off for the virus. Neither should your IT department. If data is the most valuable commodity of your business, you should consider increasing your IT portfolio including IT employees and budgeting for security protocols both at the software level as well as the physical and hardware level. As was stated in the GlobalKnowledge report mentioned earlier, the problem is there aren’t enough IT professionals with cybersecurity expertise. It’s that skills gap we spoke of earlier as well as a global labor shortage that began during the pandemic. Forty percent of IT decision-makers say they have cybersecurity skills gaps on their teams. It’s also identified as the most challenging hiring area in IT.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we should always have a Plan B in the works should something catastrophic occur. If you have not reviewed your backup plans or disaster recovery plans in the last two years because you were overwhelmed, now might be a good time to review what you would do in the case of a supply chain issue, shifting markets, destructive weather, or outages to name a few possibilities. Reviewing your plans can give you a little peace of mind going forward. One of the services that we offer here at Spectra Networks is a Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) or Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS). These can serve as a solution to this challenging issue for companies that do not have their own dedicated It department to run regular checks on backups.
While there are many more challenging issues we could have chosen to discuss, this one is a constant for the IT industry. We are constantly in the thick of learning new programs, software, updating security, all while keeping an eye toward what might be right over the horizon. All industries need to stay current, but the IT industry seems to be evolving in real time right before our eyes. If your IT department is too busy to see the trends heading their way, you may need to seek support from an IT management company that can stay ahead of the trends and prepare your business for the updates that are right around the corner.
A Final Word
This truly has been a challenging few years, more so for the IT industry having to stay on top of new services needed by remote work forces, supply chain issues, labor shortages, and the constant threat of security vulnerabilities. Spectra Networks prides itself on staying in the forefront for our clients on these challenges and supporting them no matter what issues get thrown our way.