Three areas of tech business leaders need to reprioritise

Mark Lomas, technical architect at Probrand, identifies three areas of tech that business leaders need to return attention to, in order to succeed

The disruption of the pandemic meant that many businesses were forced to prioritise digital transformation projects that enabled remote employee and customer engagement – at the expense of other major tech initiatives, which were put on hold.

But, with the dust now settling, business leaders will be turning their attention back to the projects they were forced to pause. With this in mind, here are some key questions leaders should be asking themselves as they prepare their business for success.

Do your employees know how to spot – and recover from – cyber attacks?

Almost two thirds of UK-based SMEs experienced an increase in cyber threats in the last two years – and yet, 55% of business owners say that they regularly deprioritise cyber issues in favour of other business activity.

This sentiment was mirrored in recent cyber security research carried out by Probrand. This study evaluated organisations’ ability to handle attacks in this new age of remote working. While nearly two thirds (61%) said they had a plan in place to recover from a cyber attack, less than half (45%) said they were ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ their remote working employees had the knowledge and technology in place to handle cyber attacks.

Given these concerns, 2022 has to be a year when businesses reprioritise a robust cyber security strategy. One of the main pieces of advice I give business leaders worried about cyber threats is, if you want to prevent a possible attack, educate employees on how to spot one. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated in their methods and training staff to spot subtle nuances, such as a different tone of voice or an irregular font being used in an email, could make the difference and prevent an attack.

Beyond staff training, it’s vital to look at cloud solutions such as mobile device management (MDM), which can update the security on the devices used by remote employees.

This will ensure all devices accessing corporate data – wherever they are – will have the latest antivirus, firewall and software patches in place. This also allows you to verify that these updates have happened, and the business can validate things are working as they are supposed to be.

Five capabilities needed to get the external attack surface under control

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Is it time to rethink your collaborative cloud services?

In the age of hybrid working, a key focus has to be maintaining a productive workforce and enabling collaboration through cloud services. In particular, finding ways to make interactions between teams more ‘live’ to help build a more dynamic productivity within your business.

Ask yourself – can you switch more of your communications from emails, to chat? Can you push more communications over to video calls? Are you having good catch-up sessions cross-business to help keep in contact in a fluid manner?

The technology we use today in the hybrid workforce is no longer a stop-gap measure – if seen as an advantage, it can be turned into an opportunity.

Are you ready for cloud telephony – and the big ISDN switch-off?

Several companies I’ve spoken to in the last eighteen months said they were frustrated by the fact their phone systems were trapped on-premises while staff were at home. As we shift to a hybrid-first approach, traditional telephone lines (which only work in the office) need to be reassessed as they now pose several problems that will hamper productivity and restrict collaboration – while costing significant amounts.

It makes complete sense that many businesses are now looking to convert to cloud-based solutions. When doing so, however, it’s important to consider what model is right for your business – and understand what features and capabilities you need. It’s relatively straightforward to port phone numbers to these systems, and they should allow employees to manage calls via services such as Teams. For many, this will finally restore professional call handling by providing a centralised calling experience that allows staff to handle calls with ease, whenever they are.

Where companies are still using ISDN lines, this may provide yet another reason to consider switch to cloud telephony – given that these services will be discontinued by 2025.

Written by Mark Lomas, technical architect at Probrand

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