The last few years have been a testing time for businesses across most sectors. The pandemic saw businesses forced to adapt in order to remain operational, and today’s economic climate is compelling many organisations to make drastic efficiency savings in order to remain viable.
For many organizations, the recent crises have presented an opportune moment to embrace transformative digital technologies. Such technologies have helped countless organizations stay effective, competitive and economically viable in the face of challenges not seen in generations. The pandemic accelerated technological shifts that were already in motion, such as the migration to cloud computing and the trend towards remote working. In 2023, many of these trends are likely to continue, with organizations keen to exploit the cost savings, flexibility and productivity-boosting potential inherent in many of these solutions.
While 2023 promises to entrench cloud computing and flexible working practices in the collective psyche of IT leaders, a new generation of enterprise technologies will also gain ground. As businesses seek new ways to gain a competitive edge, we expect to see automation, AI and IoT (internet of things) technologies grow in prominence next year. We also anticipate the rise of next-generation cyber security platforms in response to an increasingly virulent online threat landscape.
Here at Centarus, we want to help as many businesses as possible embrace tomorrow’s technology, today. Operating from the heart of the San Francisco Bay area, we’ve helped countless organisations across the region enhance their competitive edge with solutions that address persistent operational challenges and offer next-level productivity gains.
We offer a full suite of IT services with a keen focus on the most innovative, leading-edge solutions. Unfortunately however, some providers fail to keep abreast of the latest digitalization trends, and thus, their clients miss out on the competitive advantages on offer. To aid you in assessing whether your IT provider can help you capitalize on the latest technologies, here are the top 5 things you should expect from your IT support provider in 2023.
Next-gen online security
According to the Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2022, the number of US businesses reporting cyber-attacks increased by over 7% on the previous year, with the number of attacks inflicting over $25,000 worth of damage growing from 34% to 40%. This closely reflects global data, which suggests cyber threats are becoming more prevalent, effective and harmful.
While the ‘signature-based’ cyber protection tools used by most business today are effective at thwarting the majority of cyber attacks, some of the more sophisticated threats warrant more advanced security measures.
Leveraging AI, machine learning and behavioral psychology, “next-generation” cyber security platforms are able to scan for anomalous behavior and take quick, decisive action with the aim of stopping hackers in their tracks. Examples include XDR (extended detection and response) platforms, which afford full-environment security oversight and governance covering the multitudinous locations modern businesses store data, including public cloud, private cloud, hybrid and on-premise environments. Such systems offer the ability to automate response actions, and feature live threat analysis capabilities that allow suspicious behavior to be tracked in real-time so that mitigatory actions can be taken.
If your business handles data of a particularly sensitive/confidential nature then in may be prudent to explore next-gen cyber security with your IT provider.
AI and Automation
Artificial Intelligence and automation are common buzzwords in today’s business technology scene, with each promising the efficiency gains so sought after in today’s corporate world.
While artificial intelligence is now commonplace in consumer technologies (think smart appliances, voice recognition and grammar checkers) it’s yet to fully make an impact on mainstream workplaces…until now. From business insight and market forecasting tools, to targeted marketing and predictive security, AI now has a role in virtually every business department: all that is required is the will to explore its capabilities.
Similarly, business process automation is now widespread, with many applications ranging from the streamlining of customer support workflows to employee onboarding and expense processing. Think of any time-consuming, menial administrative task, and there’s likely automation available to address it.
In 2023, ensure your IT partner can help you explore opportunities for AI and automation in your business processes.
Internet of things (IoT)
Internet of things (IoT) devices are hardware instruments typically featuring sensors, which feed data into networks often via a wireless connection. Some IoT devices also possess processing power which can allow them to execute actions autonomously.
IoT devices have become more common in domestic settings in the past decade, with the likes of digital thermostats, smart speakers and smart doorbells growing in popularity. Their prevalence has also increased in corporate settings, with industries such as logistics, manufacturing and healthcare leading the charge in terms of their deployment. Integrating IoT devices into your network could permit substantial efficiency savings and significantly reduce your team’s workload.
Remote patient monitoring illustrates the usefulness of IoT devices. With smart devices able to observe patient wellbeing 24/7, healthcare staff can direct their attention to the most urgent matter at hand. IoT devices also play a prominent role in logistics, with inventory tracking systems combined with wireless scanning tools resulting in a streamlined fulfilment processes which minimize human error.
Your IT provider should be able to orchestrate IoT deployments to bring operational benefits to your business. They should also offer to support such devices and ensure the appropriate security measures are in place to counter the cyber risks such devices can present.
SWZD’s 2023 “State of IT” report found that 45% of small businesses are currently anticipating a recession and are taking action accordingly. Among the preparatory actions being taken, 43% cite “reducing non-essential spending” as something they have done or are looking to explore.
With the difficult global economic climate at present, cost saving exercises are likely to be a continuing theme in 2023, and many organisations will look to their IT systems for opportunities to save money. This means there’s renewed pressure on IT providers to source and deploy cost-effective solutions and ensure maximum uptime to safeguard revenue streams. Ways to optimize IT for commercial benefits include:
- Discontinuing the use of costly-to-maintain legacy programs in favor of more flexible and affordable cloud-hosted SaaS alternatives.
- Exploring more affordable business broadband options.
- Taking advantage of business insight tools to extract value and insights from previously unexploited data.
- Exploring options for remote work to reduce pressure on office space.
- Migrating to a VoIP phone system to take advantage of the maintenance and call cost savings on offer.
IT shouldn’t be a financial burden, and it doesn’t have to be thanks to countless cost-effective solutions and platforms. In 2023, ensure your IT provider is able to demonstrate return on investment with every project, and make sure the technologies they propose are receptive to your budgetary constraints.
Proactive maintenance by default
In San Francisco’s fast-paced business community, you can’t afford to have your business’s IT systems let you down. The average minute of downtime is believed to cost SMEs around $400 dollars, with financial penalties manifesting in the form of instantaneous revenue loss and the effects of medium to long-term reputational damage. Repeat downtime episodes could lose your business custom, and ultimately hinder its ability to grow.
While post-incident, helpdesk support remains a vital lifeline, it’s no longer sufficient in a world that demands round-the-clock availability. Remote network monitoring and management allows IT providers to detect and remediate network vulnerabilities and errors before such defects are able to manifest in the form of network downtime. Your IT provider should also implement a rigorous maintenance regime, ensuring software updates and security patches are applied across your estate with urgency in order to maintain the integrity of your infrastructure.
In 2023, ensure your IT provider makes proactive support their priority, with the necessary tools in place to guarantee >99% uptime.
We help San Francisco businesses leverage technology for maximum reward
Operating from the heart of the San Francisco Bay area, our multi-talented, 20-strong team has the skills and experience required for the most ambitious projects. Our strategy-driven IT support is guided by our extensive experience helping organisations in some of the most technically challenging and compliance-laden sectors, with a desire to allay operational challenges, address regulatory hurdles and overcome commercial constraints central to everything solution we implement. Get in touch today, and find out how proactive, strategic IT support from Centarus could transform your business.