There are generally two ways to approach information technology strategy: reactive and proactive.
Reactive IT addresses issues as they arise. You do not plan out your IT growth goals or anticipate a crisis. Instead, complications are addressed as they come to light and impede productivity. Reactive IT possesses little to no strategy,
On the other hand, proactive IT plans for the future, good and bad. When building a proactive strategy, you look at your current IT standing, map out your path for growth, and plan for possible crises.
Ultimate, proactive IT prevents stress, frustration, decreased productivity, and lost profits. IT risks range from mild inconveniences to a disaster that could destroy a business.
For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients build IT strategies and utilize technology to their advantage.
By reading this article, you will learn about four resources that will help you build a proactive IT strategy.
5 Tools to help create a proactive IT strategy
These tools will help you assess your current IT system, plan for growth, and plan for possible IT disasters.
1. Risk assessments
Using a chosen security framework like CIS or NIST, your IT provider will perform regular risk assessments to detect and respond to security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are then ranked as a low, medium, high, or critical risk. Afterward, a response plan is created.
These security profiles are a snapshot of the risks and security within an organization’s system at that specific point in time.
Risk assessments holistically track improvements and weaknesses in your security system and practices when used alongside a framework. This allows you to address critical risks before they become significant problems.
Risk assessments allow your organization to:
- Identify at-risk software and hardware.
- Identify new malware, virus, and other threats created by cybercriminals.
- Identify weak cybersecurity practices that can be improved.
2. Asset Lifecycle Management
IT Asset Lifecycle Management (ITAM) is the IT management strategy of knowing when to replace hardware and software.
Essentially, your IT provider or internal IT department should know every IT asset used in your company, how old the asset is, and when it will need to be replaced for optimum efficiency and productivity. All hardware or software is replaced before it becomes problematic and obsolete.
As hardware ages, it becomes less reliable. In addition, once it has aged out of its recommended lifespan, the hardware is more likely to crash suddenly, making your IT environment unstable and limiting productivity.
ITAM allows you to anticipate aging assets and plan for quality replacements. It also empowers businesses to plan for growth. The benefits of good ITAM include the following:
- Increased productivity through more reliable technology.
- Anticipated growth through appropriate IT resources.
- Effective and accurate IT budgeting.
3. IT roadmap
An IT roadmap is a strategic plan focused on meeting an organization’s current IT needs and future goals. In addition, the roadmap can help outline various IT projects like purchasing new hardware, system upgrades, and cyber security objectives.
Usually, your IT provider will meet with you during onboarding to create the initial version of this document or review any existing plans or roadmaps you have. After the roadmap is completed, your provider should revisit it quarterly with you to be sure they are helping you meet your goals.
Your IT roadmap is an honest discussion of where you see your company in the future and how your IT provider can help you get there.
Having an IT roadmap can help:
- IT Budgeting
IT-spending surprises will be few and far between because you’ll know when to set money aside for IT projects and when to expect them.
- Cut costs
Your IT roadmap will help you identify and remove unnecessary technology and applications.
- Improve productivity
Your IT roadmap will help you utilize technology that allows your organization to perform tasks more efficiently.
- Improve IT system weaknesses
Risk assessments are a significant part of your IT roadmap that helps you find and address system and cyber security weaknesses.
The acronym “vCIO” stands for “Virtual Chief Information Officer.” A vCIO guides the client through the world of information technology. They bring a strategic edge to the technology side of an organization, advising clients on the best tools and practices for efficiency.
As an “information officer,” a vCIO focuses on information technology (IT) and its functionality, strategy, and effectiveness. They are IT strategy experts and help their clients reach their individual IT goals.
Issues that a vCIO may address include:
- How are the hardware and software systems working?
Are they helping productivity or impeding it? If the latter, what can be done to help improve efficiency and productivity from an IT standpoint?
- How is the IT budget doing?
Is the organization over or under budget? How can we stay within the IT budget while hitting IT goals?
- Where are they on the IT Roadmap?
Are we on track to meet the client’s IT goals? Does the roadmap need to be revisited and updated?
- What cybersecurity risks are present, their likelihood and impact, and how should they be addressed?
5. IT incident response plan
If your IT system suddenly isn’t working as it should, you’re experiencing an IT incident.
An incident response plan anticipates likely risks and incidents and then plans appropriate responses. They ask, “What happens if a system goes down? How do we respond?”
There are four types of risk incident response plans to help get you back online:
- Environmental risks
An incident response plan for environmental risks asks, “What happens if this space is suddenly damaged and disrupts systems?”
- Hardware and software risks
An incident response plan for hardware and software risks plans for backup systems and possibly continuity.
- Cybersecurity risks
Incident response plans focusing on cybersecurity ask, “What do we do if security, data, or systems are compromised due to a cyberattack? How do we respond and repair the damage?”
- Human Error
Incident response plans can address concerns over likely human errors, examine employee practices that can lead to risk, and plan what to do if these practices lead to mistakes or shutdowns.
Next steps for creating proactive IT strategies
Proactive IT processes allow you to address preventable problems before they occur or become crises. The following five tools can help you examine your current IT system and create effective proactive strategies:
- Risk assessments
- Asset Lifecycle Management
- IT roadmap
- IT incident response plan
Talk to your IT provider or internal IT team about creating a proactive IT environment. A quality IT provider or team will know these five practices and can help you integrate them into your overall IT strategy.
Running an IT risk assessment is the first step to creating a proactive IT environment. It will identify vulnerabilities, risks, and existing issues. After the risk assessment, your provider or team can help you create a plan to address problem areas.
Your plan will consider your immediate needs and IT budget to build the most effective strategy for your organization. If your circumstances change, you can revisit and adjust the plan accordingly.
WEBIT Services has been performing risk assessments, creating incident response plans, and enacting IT strategies for satisfied clients for over 25 years.
If you’re looking for a new IT provider, book a free 30-minute assessment to see how WEBIT services can help.
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