Top 4 Common Mistakes IT Managers Make
Most businesses today are data-intensive and data-sensitive. The proliferation of technology tools has only fueled data growth and the need to protect sensitive data, increasing the exposure companies might face in case of data loss and IT downtime. In addition to running a business, executives in all functions must learn more about the commercial realities of competition, pay attention to customer retention, counter the increased security risks to private data on the cloud, and understand how technology can reduce operating costs.
Downtime By the Numbers
The new status of technology in businesses places a requirement on IT managers to protect company’s private information and steward its means of producing it. IT can be a source of competitive advantage and company stability or, conversely, if done poorly, can sabotage a company’s ability to compete or retain their most valuable clients.
There are four deadly pitfalls IT managers must avoid:
- Fail to protect the digital assets of a business
- Fail to use innovative technology for competitive advantage and enhanced
- Fail to use IT resources efficiently and economically
- Fail to respond to end user needs and the new mobile environment
IT managers who navigate around these pitfalls will be considered valuable assets who contribute strategically to the success of their companies. Those who are ensnared will not be viewed so highly. Read on for insight into these pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Fail to Protect the Digital Assets
Knowledge workers must access a wide range of documents from various sources.
All this data — from email communication to product information, customer files, financial, and more are stored and should be safeguarded within the business’s internal IT systems. Unfortunately, not all companies are ready to protect their own data: a recent survey found that only 68.8 percent of responding companies admitted to having any type of IT disaster plan in place.
￼Protecting a company’s digital assets is actually protecting the business itself. While natural disasters are infrequent events, one-third of servers crash per year.
For IT managers, the task of protecting against data loss, hackers, disasters and downtime is sometimes under-appreciated, but certainly vital. No one may call to say “thank you” after averting a server crash or recovering quickly from a denial of service attack, but they certainly call when systems go down. IT managers are responsible for establishing backup and replication and redundant systems for failover and recovery. They set and enforce policies and procedures for data protection and security. Another important element is to create and routinely test disaster recovery plans, which should be performed without disrupting production operations.
Fail to Innovate Technology for Competitive Advantage and Enhanced Productivity
IT can be the leading tool for lowering costs at companies by streamlining processes and communications. Businesses need IT applications that will enable them to conduct research and produce briefs on time and at lower costs, improving revenues and profits. The firms that will reap the greatest reward are the forward-looking professionals that install new technology solutions ahead of others to achieve a competitive advantage.
Innovation continues to offer opportunities for companies to set themselves apart from the pack and for IT professionals to demonstrate initiative and value. Virtualization and cloud computing are two significant and promising technology trends. Even incremental or tactical innovation is valuable, such as keeping applications up to date to ensure legal compliance in protecting private identification information. Another critical consideration is updating the backup and DR infrastructure so the new applications can be protected. For instance, does the backup software protect applications in a virtualized environment?
The time for innovation is always now. It is the nature of competitive markets to either stretch, adapt and evolve, or fall behind. So think big and take the long view of success. Be willing to take risks and don’t fail to innovate.
Fail to Use IT Resources Efficiently and Economically
Efficient IT means maximizing the use of resources and minimizing total cost of ownership. For typical businesses, turnkey solutions are more sensible than cobbling together a system from a complex arrangement of multivendor products that require customized integration. IT professionals have to be generalists that address a broad range of responsibilities. They simply do not have time for unnecessary complexity and management overhead. A single unified, purpose-built solution with a single point of management can save dramatically on total cost of ownership.
However, a majority of organizations depend on integrating four or more products to address business continuity and disaster recovery. This is expensive, error-prone and inefficient. It becomes even more costly when replicated datacenters are deployed offsite in response to client demands or compliance requirements. In contrast, virtual, on-demand datacenters represent a much lower cost of replicating the entire IT infrastructure in the cloud with a budget-friendly, pay-as-you-go model.
Fail to Respond to End User Needs
Workers are bringing their own devices to the office in overwhelming numbers. Bring your own application (BYOA) and device (BYOD) models represent special challenges in ensuring security, data protection and application uptime. Responsiveness also means enabling the business to grow rapidly; the IT infrastructure should never be the reason for turning down new customers. Conversely, an IT team that provides a solution to protect companies vital assets – return on human and business capital – makes itself invaluable.
Workers are becoming more dependent on cloud-based solutions and therefore end up with higher expectations of traditional enterprise software. IT managers should not ignore the ‘ease of use’ of the applications being deployed, especially applications like backup and disaster recovery. Everyone in a company depends on the systems to be available anytime and accessible from anywhere. Users are accustomed to having Web applications up all the time (Mint, Facebook, etc.) and now businesses can also benefit from robust secure SaaS platforms that provide the support they need. The key factors that IT managers need to keep in mind is that not all cloud solutions are the same and — for disaster recovery and business continuity — they should select a vendor that allows full office virtualization in the cloud and not just as a way to store files.
Businesses are poised to reap the benefits of an integrated and enabling IT infrastructure in the new digital age. This will mean faster communication, better collaboration, and improved productivity. In a world where available information and access to systems are core to business, protecting vast amounts of data stored within the myriad of applications in use is paramount.
This whitepaper covers the 4 common mistakes IT managers make. We give you information on what IT should focus on and why it is important.