Technology is in a constant state of change and improvement. Sometimes, it changes so frequently it's hard to keep up. So what are some significant trends in the last half-decade? Where is technology going, and how do you navigate it to your benefit?
We've collected a list of five major technological advancements—good and bad—since 2018. Some changes can help you streamline business functions and encourage growth, while others may increase IT risk.
However, companies must utilize IT strategy when investing in new technology. Up-and-coming IT tools may be the growth boost your company needs, or they may create significant losses.
WEBIT Services has over 25 years of experience helping clients develop IT strategies and create budgets and growth plans.
By reading this article, you will learn about five new tools and changes to IT and how your IT provider can help you explore and utilize new technologies.
5 IT changes since 2018
1. The rise of artificial intelligence
AI is the hot new tool everyone is talking about. AI creates art, writes articles, talks to customers, and more. No longer simply a plot device in science fiction stories, AI is real and is here to stay.
We see it currently used in IT as endpoint protection. AI programs learn your IT system and alert you when it detects an unusual file or behavior that may be malware or a cyberattack.
However, excellent tools can also be used for ill purposes. For example, we've also witnessed a rise in AI-created phishing attacks. An AI creates convincing phishing messages to trick users into giving up information like login credentials.
Contrary to popular belief, AI is unlikely to replace humans in the workforce. In fact, it will likely create more jobs to help maintain and refine AI tools.
Businesses utilizing AI well may find it advantageous in automating systems and as a cybersecurity tool.
2. Automation and coding programs
New IT tools and programs allow users to create their own automation applications without coding knowledge. These tools help streamline tedious tasks, saves time, and will enable you to focus on more important, involved tasks.
For example, Microsoft 365 now includes Microsoft Power Platform, a tool that allows you to create your own applications and automations for greater efficiency.
3. Cloud-based applications
Some days, it seems like everything is heading to the Cloud.
Once upon a time, users had to purchase software in stores, physically install it, and then purchase updated versions.
Now, software as a service (SaaS) applications have moved online to the Cloud. Now, users pay a subscription fee to access programs, but they always have access to the latest version through the Cloud. As a result, the updates are faster, and the apps are better maintained.
You also have access to your data and applications wherever there is an internet connection. Your data is not limited to a specific location.
However, some users feel that they lose some control of their data when they move to the Cloud. Previously, all applications and data were within your network and could only be accessed there. With Cloud-based applications, your data is stored on their global servers.
Solid security practices are even more critical with your data stored in several places beyond your network. Without good security, your data is both more accessible to your team and to cybercriminals.
4. Changing IT security and compliance standards
Tools like cloud-based applications can also be tricky for IT teams, blurring the line between IT security and compliance.
As technology and risk change, more security practices are changing into compliance standards—rules and regulations for IT practices.
What was once a recommended security practice is now required by regulated industries. Companies that fail to implement these practices are hit with heavy fines and potentially damaged reputations.
5. IT risk has never been greater
Over the last five years, cybercrime has exploded, especially in response to the 2020 pandemic and lockdowns. Unprepared workforces were sent home without the protection of their office networks or proper equipment, increasing businesses' risk of IT breaches.
Cryptocurrency introduced a method of untraceable payments. As a result, cybercriminals could make higher demands without fear of being tracked down. With the potential of greater payouts, cybercriminals increased their efforts.
Ransomware is now a real threat to businesses of all sizes, not just major corporations.
It is now more critical than ever to employ proper cybersecurity practices based on a cybersecurity framework like CIS or NIST.
How IT providers help businesses navigate new technology
Quality IT providers act as keepers of your IT ecosystem. They learn your company's IT system, plans, and goals. This knowledge allows them to maintain your system, answer questions, and make suggestions to improve efficiency and meet goals.
When encountering new technology, quality IT providers will:
- Use their knowledge of your IT system, needs, and strategy to evaluate if a tool could benefit your business.
- Give you a list of the advantages and disadvantages of this technology concerning your business goals and needs.
- Evaluate the tool with your growth goals in mind.
When new technology becomes the "shiny new object," evaluating the tool, your system, and how they fit together is essential.
For example, an AI chatbot may be a great resource if your business regularly talks with clients online. However, brand-new programs may be prone to bugs, so you may need to prepare a secondary tool if the AI chatbot goes down.
It's also possible that an AI chatbot is not the most efficient choice for your individual company, or it may be a poor fit for your current IT system.
Before investing in a new technological tool or process, evaluating how it meets your needs and suits your IT setup is important.
Just because a tool is "new" doesn't mean it's the best option for every business. Sometimes, a good tool needs to mature before it's beneficial. Other times, it simply doesn't fit a particular company.
Using technology successfully takes time, effort, and planning. A quality IT provider is an advisor and guide in implementing new IT tools, practices, and resources.
Next steps for applying new technologies in your business
In the last five years, technology has changed in five notable ways:
- AI programs are growing in popularity.
- Automation and coding are more accessible.
- Cloud-based applications are becoming the norm.
- IT security and compliance overlap more than they have before.
- IT risk is more significant than ever before.
Adding new technology could be a great tool or a considerable risk.
To improve your efficiency, evaluate your IT workflows each quarter, and discuss your findings with your IT provider or internal IT team. They will recommend tools or systems that can automate processes and improve efficiency.
A quality IT provider will know your IT system, processes, and business goals well enough to make accurate recommendations that meet your needs.
It may be time to look for a new IT provider if you feel they do not know your business well or regularly make ill-fitted suggestions.
For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients build successful IT strategies and processes while utilizing effective technology.
If you are looking for a new IT provider, schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how WEBIT can help.
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