As we explained in our last post, businesses are under a lot of pressure because of the present economic situation to increase productivity and create efficiency savings in order to be competitive and resilient. Thankfully, the modern technology industry offers a wide range of options to accomplish these goals, from cutting-edge automation and AI platforms to a variety of ways to support remote working, at costs that even the smallest enterprises can afford.
With so many possibilities accessible, it might be challenging to decide which solutions to include in your company's long-term technological plan. Here are four of the most compelling, high-value IT solutions that all firms should at least examine in 2023 to aid you in your digitalization journey.
Hosting business resources in the Cloud
Running software programmes or other business resources in the cloud—a global network of computing resources and software accessible over the internet—is the technique of cloud hosting.
It used to be necessary to buy a server and host the setup in your local network in order to run a website, email service, or business application. Currently, a variety of cloud service providers provide for the coordination and hosting of many kinds of commercial technology projects. Through a global network of data centres, these suppliers supply software, development platforms, processing power, storage, and other services.
So what is the benefit? It can be expensive to run an on-premise server because it needs constant heating and cooling, regular maintenance, and possibly even more robust physical security measures. That's before you take into account the price of purchasing the hardware and any future replacement needs. A more cost-effective option to access computer resources than local hosting is through data centres, which have the capacity to hold hundreds of thousands of servers. As a result, heating/cooling, maintenance, and security costs can be shared among the numerous tenants at the site. Cloud services are frequently provided with a recurring monthly fee. This makes it simple to provision resources precisely in line with business need at any given time, leading to IT investment that is more efficient and more effective.
Microsoft 365 is the preferred workplace productivity suite in the globe, being used by more than 1 million enterprises. With its debut as the famed "Office" product line's cloud-hosted replacement, Microsoft 365 has undergone significant development over the past 10 years and now comprises a variety of tools and platforms intended to boost office productivity and facilitate easy collaboration.
The following important platforms are part of the suite:
The centre of the Microsoft 365 experience is "Teams," a well-known platform for communication and collaboration. Teams has quickly become the most popular collaboration tool in the world thanks to its user-friendly chat interface, shared document storage (provided by SharePoint integration), live document co-authoring, robust scheduling features, and industry-leading video conferencing experience.
SharePoint is a platform for collaboration that serves as a central information hub for team projects and corporate divisions. SharePoint sites can serve as data and document repositories or as educational intranet websites aimed to keep staff members informed thanks to their highly customizable architecture.
Outlook is an essential part of Microsoft 365 and offers broad cross-platform connectivity with tools like Teams, Planner, and To Do in addition to being an email service. It is simple to understand why Outlook has more than 400 million users globally given its robust and user-friendly calendaring features, the opportunity to incorporate workflow management platforms, and the capacity to apply automation.
Microsoft 365 is simple to customise to your company's requirements and procedures because it is made up of numerous Microsoft platforms and supports hundreds of third-party apps and services. In order to accommodate a wide range of IT budgets, the suite is offered on a per-user subscription basis in packages with varied pricing points.
BT Openreach intends to have completed the shutdown of the UK's copper-based telecommunications infrastructure by the end of 2025. This means that current telephony products that utilise this infrastructure (like ISDN) may soon stop working, putting pressure on organisations to embrace VoIP (voice over internet protocol) alternatives that are future-proof.
The legacy phone systems of the past are being replaced by convenient, affordable cloud-hosted VoIP phone solutions. You can utilise the phone system wherever you have a stable internet connection because hosted systems are location-independent thanks to the cloud. Many systems even permit integration with other communication media like email, text messaging, and CRM interfaces: a practise known as "unified communications." The majority of systems incorporate a wide range of practical PBX features as standard, including call queuing, auto-attendants, and call recording.
Cloud-hosted VoIP solutions, in contrast to conventional PBX phone systems, require relatively little (if any) investment in physical hardware. Hosted VoIP systems can be accessed using "softphones" (software applications that simulate phone functions), which can be used on the majority of current internet-capable devices, including portable ones like laptops, tablets, and cell phones. When opposed to legacy systems, hosted VoIP nearly always offers exceptional value for money because there is no need for expensive hardware, which eliminates the need for further maintenance. In addition, subscription-based pricing and extremely low call bundles are both readily available.
Managed Security Services
The daily demands of running a business can often feel insurmountable, and with the cyber threat landscape constantly expanding, this issue is only going to get more difficult.
You'll have more time and energy to devote to managing and expanding your enterprises if you enlist the aid of a managed security provider to strengthen your current security defences. Such companies will be able to audit your network to identify existing weaknesses and give a variety of managed security measures, such as managed firewalls and anti-virus, to deter invaders. Several suppliers also offer round-the-clock vulnerability assessment, and platforms with early detection capabilities enable the early thwarting of cyberattacks. Although it is possible to adopt a similar level of cyber security internally, doing so is likely to be more expensive than outsourcing because it requires hiring specialists and paying for a variety of security equipment.
Considering that data breaches can result in instant financial losses of thousands of pounds, taking the required precautions to prevent one is always a wise line of action. Your monthly expenditure on IT security may even be decreased if you engage with an experienced managed security company to close network gaps.
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