IT and tech teams are finding agility essential. While 2022 offers a new set of challenges, recent years have seen unprecedented change. A sudden need for remote work followed by returns to the office, and now a demand for robust security and hybrid workflow have completely changed the IT environment.
This change has brought a set of challenges. Sudden shifts exposed weaknesses in how data gets transmitted, stored, accessed, and secured by people who no longer sit at on-campus desks. Without physical proximity, there is no longer a perimeter within which to protect your infrastructure. Getting networks into the cloud, securing access, and finding new talent are of prime importance.
Thankfully, the worst is over. That said, what does this new list of priorities that IT managers have identified look like? How can businesses maintain a robust IT infrastructure and build resilience for growth into the future.
Top Challenges that IT Managers Face in 2022
Along with the business and IT environment, the whole world has experienced significant changes in the past few years. This change has brought new IT threats and constraints.
#1. Security and Cyber Threats
Cybersecurity requires constant improvements and endless iterations. However, the dynamic cloud environments we operate in present more opportunities for cybercriminals. New and sophisticated threats fill headlines today, especially ransomware attacks on large corporations.
In addition to businesses, the government also shut down during the pandemic. The people who were supposed to watch for threats went home, creating loopholes for attackers. At the same time, institutional hackers backed by governments in Russia and North Korea arose.
In this challenging environment, cybersecurity experts are turning to AI and other intelligent systems to help secure IT infrastructure. New identity-based strategies for securing on-premise and cloud infrastructure are emerging and maturing.
Remote work also means there is less direct supervision. IT is unable to ensure strict adherence to security protocols; for example, 59% of people still use a variation of their name or birthday as their password.
Even more worrying, 97% of internet users are unable to recognize a phishing attempt. And yet, phishing is the second most common threat after malware attacks. Security experts have to provide security awareness training for things like this to employees in absentia.
In response to this added risk, strict data security protocols such as compartmentalization, “zero trust”, and least privilege are helping protect vital resources.
#2. Network Responsiveness for Remote Workers
Remote and hybrid work environments place unexpected constraints on network resources. Remote work requires systems to replace face-to-face interactions in the office such as meetings and interpersonal talks.
With a high demand for voice calls, voicemail, video conferencing, screen sharing, and document sharing and storage, IT networks need to expand to handle the increasing traffic.
IT teams start by estimating network volume and bandwidth needs for normal and peak times. They have to factor in the need for network configuration, management, and monitoring to account for changing network needs.
Other factors to consider include challenges regarding:
- Traffic routing to maximize flow and security
- Internet access on equipment such as routers, switches, and firewalls
- Network authentication infrastructure such as multi factor authentication
- VPN concentrators
The solutions to these problems start with the use of advanced software and virtualization technology. These include network virtualization and network function virtualization (NFV) with the help of cloud infrastructure.
IT teams will also need to prioritize traffic flow so that critical services such as VoIP gets priority access.
Most importantly, you will need to update your backup and recovery protocols to protect against direct attacks and outages. Cloud and off-site backups should be top of the list, all having redundant copies of your business services. These copies can also ease pressure in times of extra demand.
#3. Data Privacy and Compliance Standards
Remote work introduced new vulnerabilities to data privacy and compliance standards. Access management and device management suddenly became much more difficult, especially with bring your own device (BYOD) policies.
Secondly, global remote hiring increased the risk of exposure. With so many data storage and access points, IT teams have to treat every remote employee as a potential threat.
Each device used to store data or connect to the system needs authentication and verification. This makes security for business data a complex and intensive process.
At the same time, businesses have to stay compliant with global data privacy laws such as Europe’s GDPR. to deal with these two problems, experts suggest the following actions:
- Maintain a strict cybersecurity policy and data protection laws
- Educate employees on the latest threats and best practices
- Prioritize data privacy and compliance
- Implement single sign in (SSI) to help deal with breaches quickly
- Use biometrics for verification and password management
- Implement VPNs and multifactor authentication
- Encrypt all data stored away from secure servers
Maintaining these strict security protocols is a key part of staying compliant with data privacy laws. If you operate in industries with more strict regulations such as finance, you may also be required to conduct regular penetration testing and vulnerability scans.
#4. IT Talent Shortages
Due to the high demand and low supply of tech jobs, they tend to have high attrition and low retention rates. The pandemic made things even worse, creating a highly competitive environment for employers.
Today, businesses are forced to offer better pay and benefits packages to attract new talent. They are also investing more and more in the latest security products such as automation and AI. Investing in the latest technology is one way to make the IT team feel heard and valued.
Even then, there is still a dire shortage of IT experts. Today, many business owners and managers are turning to non-IT talent. You can often train employees in other sectors to take up junior IT roles through upskilling strategies to cushion businesses against the Great Resignation.
In addition, companies now have to distinguish themselves as diverse, equitable, and inclusive employers. These and other values will increase your company’s attractiveness to new tech talent.
Many organizations are also open to the possibility of hiring globally to maintain a remote workforce. This step reduces hiring friction and helps increase your chances of finding suitable candidates even in the current shortage of tech talent.
#5. New Remote Work Models
After the pandemic, many employees wanted to maintain their flexibility to work from anywhere. The resultant hybrid work arrangements present even more challenges from an IT standpoint.
As opposed to a fully remote and a fully office-based team, hybrid teams face a variety of challenges.
- Seamless connectivity, for example, should those working remotely log in for meetings held in person? This would require extra video conferencing technology
- Formal communication channels will need to remain open
- Fluctuating IT needs. Maintaining a high-capacity network will likely be costly, changing demand means that you must maintain enough capacity to handle peak volumes
These unexpected challenges are also likely to impact culture, creativity, and coordination. Tech teams are finding a need to invest in even more advanced technology and equipment to handle these changing needs.
How Power BI Reporting Can Ease IT Challenges
Automation is one of the most important ways to address IT challenges. It reduces workload, increases efficiency, and reduces miscommunication between teams.
With the Power BI Report Scheduler by ChristianSteven, your team can gain valuable insights through automated reporting features. Our proprietary tool operates from your own databases to generate scheduled reports, dashboards, and KPIs.
With this kind of convenience, we help IT teams automate report delivery and focus on more high-level problems. Schedule a live demo to find out how the PBRS by ChristianSteven can help you navigate the challenging IT and business environment today.