How you can have confidence creating a custom IT solution.
While 71% of senior IT executives worldwide recognize IT infrastructure as essential in enabling competitive advantage and maximum revenue, recognizing and acting are two completely different things.
When optimizing your technology infrastructure and integrations, knowing where to start and what to look for can be tricky—which explains why less than 10% of those same execs report feeling that their IT infrastructure is adequately prepared for day-to-day demands.
But, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
That’s where an IT roadmap comes in. A technology roadmap is a strategic plan that accounts for the evolution of technology.
There are ways to create a practical and worthwhile technology roadmap as part of your custom IT solution—you just need to know them.
In some instances, outsourcing your IT infrastructure to a managed service provider (MSP) might be the best option for your business.
Regardless, the following 3 recommendations will help ensure that you can be confident that your business will be able to thrive (with scalability) for years to come.
1. Pick a quality MSP
The first step in creating an effective custom IT solution?
Picking a quality managed service provider.
If your IT leadership is strong, but you need assistance with its overall direction, an MSP will help get you over the finish line.
A managed service provider will assist you in creating a technology roadmap tailored to the specific needs of your business—particularly addressing areas concerned with growth, compliance adherence, and effective systems integration.
A great MSP will future-proof your infrastructure and make your technology truly work for you. You can stay ahead of the latest trends and advancements; that’s the beauty of a technology roadmap. You’re accounting for the evolution of your current (and future) IT systems by taking the time to plan now thoughtfully.
Ensure that your business continues to operate without a hitch, even as you upgrade your systems. Your MSP should work with you to assess your organization’s devices, systems, software, and platforms. From there, you can uncover departmental pain points where technology is used/can be improved and incorporate those discoveries into your evolving roadmap.
MSPs will help you make strategic decisions informed by the specifics of industry trends and elucidate new initiatives and compliance pressures that you may be unaware of.
Your managed service provider should constantly seek out the best network and software updates to ensure your IT infrastructure evolves as your business does.
Besides accounting for the future, SMBs can save money with MSPs.
In addition to an MSP potentially negating the need for in-house IT staff, they also save you money by allowing your “office IT person” (the poor employee working double duty) to focus on the job they were actually hired to do—rather than trying to keep the network running.
2. Focus on compliance
Regardless of whether your business utilizes an MSP, you have to focus on compliance to create an effective, proactive, and successful IT plan.
View compliance as a tool that enables your entire business to achieve its goals—believe it or not, a focus on compliance means that your business will be inherently proactive.
Because maintaining compliance demands that you routinely evaluate your network infrastructure security solutions, acting as an incidental high-level roadmap.
Your MSP or whoever oversees your IT roadmap will configure and run recurring assessments based on ever-evolving compliance standards for regulations like GLBA, CMMC, SOX, GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and more. As a result, you can have confidence in your technology solutions when complying with various industry laws and standards.
Data breaches involving a high number of compliance failures cost organizations an average of $2.30 million more than breach costs at businesses without compliance struggles. From that standpoint, rigorous compliance efforts are cost-effective in the long term. You should evaluate your efforts regularly to ensure that your business is adhering to and mapping various industry standards.
You can identify your vulnerabilities through a comprehensive risk assessment, which is just one way compliance regulations force businesses to be proactive. For example, some of the risks evaluated by the US Department of Justice Criminal Division Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs are proof that a program needs “not only a clear message that misconduct is not tolerated, but also policies and procedures – from appropriate assignments of responsibility, to training programs, to systems of incentives and discipline – that ensure the compliance program is well-integrated into the company’s operations and workforce.”
Compliance, like a technology roadmap, has a dynamic and robust focus on the future of your business, as well as the best interests of your clients. Since 88% of companies don’t know exactly the type (or extent) of data they have on their customers, compliance measures aren’t punitive—they’re necessary.
Without proper compliance, you risk losing more than just your cyber insurance. Did you know that even one non-compliant policy can invalidate your liability insurance claim?
What’s worse for businesses of all sizes is the damage (possibly irreparable) to their reputation from not properly safeguarding their clients’ PII.
In 2018, Facebook revealed that personally identifiable information (PII) from over 87 million users was compromised. To make matters worse? Just prior, a coalition, including investors, implored fund managers to pressure Facebook to implement stronger corporate compliance governance, finding that “Facebook has consistently gambled with the rights and well-being of its more than two billion users—as well as the company’s future—without adequate consideration of the risks involved[.]”
The backlash from this incident alone cost Facebook the largest stock market drop in value in history–a whopping $120 billion.
Equifax had a PPI breach of its own in 2017. Year to date, the cybersecurity breach has cost the company over $1.7 billion.
In 2020 alone, lost business represented 38% of the overall average largest share of breach costs, at an average total cost of $1.59 million.
The moral of the story is?
Bad compliance practices and resulting PR disasters have a direct link to dollar and reputation loss.
Protect yourself and your organization by aligning your technology roadmap goals with effective compliance measures. By prioritizing compliance in your plan, you are investing in your IT infrastructure, your clients, and your reputation.
3. Invest in the right cyber liability insurance
Your hard work is moot if you don’t have the right cyber liability insurance to protect against internal and external threats.
It’s critical that whether your business is global or a single brick and mortar shop that if you use technology to do business in any capacity, you need cyber liability insurance.
According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 28% of data breaches involved small businesses. So, any company that creates, stores, and/or manages customer data online would benefit greatly from a cyber liability policy.
Examples of customer data that should be protected include:
- Names and addresses
- Credit card numbers
- Any PII
Coverage for cyber security breaches is not (usually) included in general liability insurance. So, if you’re in the business of marketing, consulting, accounting, retail…people, then your IT infrastructure roadmap should begin with an audit of your insurance coverage and capacity.
Assess your network infrastructure through risk assessments, IT audits, social engineering testing, continuous policy review, etc., to determine its scope and veracity.
Travelers Insurance encourages companies to “create, implement and test a business continuity plan and an incident response plan.”
Additionally, Travelers and other providers have taken a hardline stance that “Companies are responsible for their online data, no matter where it is stored…you may be held liable if any personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI) gets exposed.” Therefore, it’s imperative that your organization understands explicitly where your confidential data is kept.
That’s where your roadmap comes in. Cyber liability insurance, like compliance, is integral to a meaningful technology roadmap.
A thorough IT infrastructure plan will account for all assets connecting to your network, routers, firewalls, switches, wireless, servers, printers, endpoints, on-premises software, cloud software, etc., basically, anywhere (and thing) that can be used as an avenue cyber criminals.
Identifying vulnerabilities is exceedingly essential—as many cyber insurance providers don’t cover what they deem to be preventable data breach incidents. Similarly, a growing trend among insurers is to exclude:
- Third-party providers
- Lost (or stolen!) devices
- Damages done by government-backed groups
- Security failures
Your security posture demands a quality MSP to help implement and foster a proactive IT roadmap.
Are You Prepared to Implement Your Technology Roadmap?
In review, the following are the 3 best practices for your business to achieve an IT roadmap that’s proactive and successful:
- Pick a quality MSP to partner with your business
- Focus your efforts on compliance
- Invest in the right cyber liability insurance
If you feel like your managed network infrastructure is too important to leave to chance, trust CTComp to ensure that you have a true partner in technology.
Since 1983, we have provided tailored IT solutions that help businesses thrive. Make your life (and job!) easier and call CTComp today: 860-276-1285