Why now is the right time to invest in business IT

How has your business adapted to the COVID-19 outbreak? With workers all over the world asked to work from home indefinitely, many organisations have been forced to introduce or accelerate digital transformation programs to keep their teams going.

Video calls have become a regular part of our working day, with Zoom recently breaking the record for most App Store downloads in a single quarter. Yet other remote activities are likely to have exposed IT systems and processes in dire need of upgrades. 

Will stop-gap solutions do for now, or could it be the time to invest money and effort into something more robust?

Why inadequate IT solutions can put your business at risk

Some business owners may choose to make do with existing weak IT systems or stop-gap solutions while they wait for the effects of the pandemic to pass. But with remote working predicted to stick around long after things return to normal, the experts at global risk consultancy firm RSM warn that such systems could lead to gaps in security.

Maintaining business continuity in the short-term has led some businesses to ignore or override their own IT security controls. Hastily implemented virtual meeting and conference technology, for example, allows people to access corporate networks through whatever systems are available at the time. Dubbed ‘shadow IT’, such systems do not create ideal conditions for maintaining security, RSM advises. 

Outsourcing IT to external service providers also raises cybersecurity threat levels in the current context. Such providers are common targets for cyber criminals due to their access to multiple business networks. During the pandemic, however, hackers are even more aware of potential security vulnerabilities. 

Years of under-investment in IT, meanwhile, have left many businesses trying to adapt legacy systems for remote working. Legacy systems are those that have been abandoned by software providers – meaning they’re no longer being patched against new security risks.   

Using business IT as a competitive advantage

Businesses that upgrade or implement new IT solutions consistently are now gaining a competitive advantage over those who have neglected the issue. Such practices don’t require spending a fortune either – especially with the rise of software leasing. 

Paul Herring, Global Chief Innovation Officer, RSM International, advises: “The evolution of software as a service, or ‘SAAS’, gives businesses the option of leasing applications or whole platforms.

“This provides an opportunity for progressive management teams to leapfrog their competition by securing access to leading edge digital capabilities that would previously have been unaffordable.”

Are you confident in your organisation’s IT security?