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05 Jan 2016

New Year, New Ideas

We are all refreshed after the Christmas and New Year break and raring to go with ideas to drive our business forward. It’s an exciting time, but have you considered how IT can help your business or what you need to consider when protecting you business? After all, you want to enjoy growing your services and client base with as much ease as possible rather than fire fighting through the year. Here are some key areas we think you should have on your radar.

Security breaches

2015 saw a significant rise in cyber attacks and reports suggest this is going to continue to grow in 2016. Many smaller, local businesses don’t believe this will impact them, but PwC’s Information Security Breach Survey 2015 informs us that 74% of small to medium businesses have reported information security breaches with the scale and costs having nearly doubled. This is a high percentage and closer than many would imagine to the 90% of large businesses that are reporting the same thing.

But it doesn’t matter what size your business is, everyone has the same concerns – protecting the businesses’ reputation and their client information. The number of breaches will continue to rise and businesses are turning to organisations with experience in protecting IT systems so they can give it the focus that is needed whilst they concentrate on maintaining their core business.

What about Cyber Essentials? Have you heard about it? We think this is a fantastic security scheme that is backed by the Government. As a business built on IT security values, this is something we would recommend to all SME organisations. It helps companies to protect themselves against cyber attacks and this should be on your radar even more so now that the new EU Data Protection Act is coming into force with a simpler system of enforcement and a fine of up to 4% of your turnover. As well as the usual costs associated with a breach, you will have a fine to pay which could have a huge impact to your business.  Cyber Essentials takes you through the basic security checks to help protect you from the most common threats and is flexible, so you can adopt it according to your business processes.

Security is on everyone’s minds and we have seen an increase in security accreditations being asked for in tenders. Whether you are an IT business or not, if you are going to store/have access to client data, the client will want to know you are doing everything you can to protect it.

Whatever direction you take to address the threat of attacks, make sure you detect and respond to threats rather than just block them; as this can block or delay key business processes as well, which can frustrate users and reduce productivity. You need to get the balance right.

So, security is something you need to consider enhancing to protect your business, but what about growing trends that are going to help drive your business this year?

Mobility

The use of Cloud technology and apps is going to continue to grow. Alongside this comes the dependence for any time, anywhere access to information. This technology helps drive productivity and increases connectivity among employees. As well as providing employees with a mobile device (or letting them access your system through their own device – BYOD), you also need to make sure you have the right infrastructure, security and policies in place to protect your business data whilst enjoying the benefits you gain from implementing this.

Data analytics

As well as understanding market trends, it is amazing how much you can learn from your own data. Every business collects vast amounts of information and organisations are increasingly turning to technology to analyse this data with greater sophistication to improve business decisions and direction.

However, the increasing challenge is unstructured data e.g. emails which are not automatically stored according to content, which is time consuming to analyse, whereas structured data is seamless and readily searchable e.g. in a CRM (customer relationship management) system or spread sheet where any information can be quickly found. There are solutions available to help you manage this efficiently.

Largely, businesses need to continue to make better use of the data they collect, making sure it is stored in a structured manner, safely as well as being easily accessible so you can have greater focus in your approach.

Big Data

Data analytics leads us nicely onto the storage of all your data. With a growing dependence on data, you need to make sure it is easily accessible and securely stored with a back up solution in place so that if you do lose it, you can easily retrieve a copy of it with minimal impact to your business.

Wishing you a successful 2016!

The innovation within business technology is evolving rapidly bringing cost effective efficiencies and competitive advantage to organisations. Businesses need to embrace new processes and systems, but with a planned approach so there is minimal disruption to the business.

 

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