As you wrap up 2018 and begin looking toward the new year, take time to consider your technology plan along with strategizing to meet other business and budgeting goals in 2019.
What should be on your IT radar going into 2019?
Consider all the ways technology is integrated into your company’s operations. When you make IT improvements, it affects numerous other aspects of the business, such as:
- Communication between staff and leadership
- Task tracking
- Customer service
- HR recruiting and personal engagement
- Shipping processes
- Protecting critical information
- Production workflow management.
Since your technology plan contributes to overall success in many ways, your top concerns as a small business owner should be promoting cyber-security, retiring old systems, and upgrading to new server technologies. These components can lay the foundation for increased efficiency and productivity throughout the business.
Why is security a top IT concern?
Ransomware, viruses, and other cyber threats will continue to skyrocket at an alarming pace, and IT threats are continually evolving, as well. Small businesses can find themselves in the crosshairs of cybercriminals as quickly as larger companies do.
The Information Security Forum (ISF) each year releases a forecast of the top security threats facing businesses in the coming year in its “Threat Horizon” report. According to a press release from SecurityInfoWatch.com, the report lists the increased sophistication of cybercrime and ransomware as one of the top security threats in 2019.
One the whole, the press release states, the number of mobile malware families involved in the cyber landscape increased throughout 2017, a trend that is expected to continue into 2019. Spam and phishing, including more targeted spear phishing, are still used to gain initial access into a victim’s device. In general, smart and personal devices—which have become an integral part of many workplaces—are gaining ground as a means of deploying and spreading malware attacks.
As the ISF report explains, many smart devices are insecure by design, making them especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Companies may have difficulty keeping track of what information is leaving their networks or being transmitted by smart or personal devices, according to SecurityInfoWatch.com. This challenges the integrity of data by giving it limited protection.
Especially for small businesses, who often lack the resources for a dedicated IT department, staying on top of developing cybersecurity concerns can be exhausting, if not impossible. With the help of IT companies in Rock Hill, you do not have to worry about it. Their IT specialists have the knowledge and experience to manage and protect your technology with a focus on preventing and mitigating the impact of cyber attacks.
What is happening with Windows 7?
Microsoft-users beware: The end of support for Windows 7 is rapidly approaching, which means companies to need to take inventory of their Windows 7 systems and then formulate a plan to replace them with Windows 10 systems during 2019.
Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 7 as of Jan. 14, 2020. Drawing on actions Microsoft took in the months leading up to the retirement of the Windows XP system, it is possible the company could offer small- and medium-sized businesses a discount a package including Windows 10 Pro and Office 2019, a deal similar to what was provided in 2013.
Starting in April, PCs with Windows 7 systems won’t receive security fixes that use SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1), and the goal is to switch to the more-secure SHA-2 in the future. Windows 7 PCs will not receive security fixes after this date unless they have been modified to accept updates signed with the SHA-2 algorithm.
Make sure your technology plan includes making these upgrades so you can have a more secure, reliable system.
When will Microsoft retire Windows Server 2008?
Also on Jan. 14, 2010, Microsoft is ending support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, which means users will no longer get regular security updates. During 2019, businesses running the increasingly outdated Microsoft Windows Server 2008 should plan to replace it with new server technologies to continue protecting infrastructure and applications.
According to Microsoft, their new versions give you greater performance, security and innovation. New options from Microsoft include migrating Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 workloads to Azure or upgrading to Windows Server 2016 for greater innovation, built-in security, and container support. If you need continued protection beyond the deadline for your small business, you can purchase up to three years of Extended Security Updates, which cover the servers you need while you upgrade. Specialists with IT companies in Rock Hill can help you navigate these changes, replace your servers, and ensure your information is transferred correctly.
What is your technology plan for 2019?
Do not wait until you have to scramble to start figuring out your top technology priorities for the new year. As you budget for 2019, consider what security updates and system replacements you may require to keep your small business supported and safe. If you need guidance crafting or implementing your technology plan, contact Servcom USA, which provides reliable, cutting-edge IT services in Rock Hill, SC, and the surrounding area.