Articles

May 26, 2015

Y2K15 Technology Assessment

By Paul Ursich 

Remember what you went through in the late 1990s as you frantically sought to assure yourself and others that your computer systems would survive the turnover to the year 2000 and the anticipated technical glitches?

Fifteen years later, this is a good time to review your current technology and infrastructure haves, have-nots and should-haves. But this time around, you don’t have to be frantic. Take your time in 2015 to assess your needs and determine how to invest to meet the demands and embrace the exciting new opportunities that will keep your business safe and thriving. 

Let’s call it your Y2K15 business tech assessment. 

During the economic downturn, many businesses were thinking more about barebones survival than about making long-term investments to put leading technology to best use. Now that the business climate has improved, it’s time to assess where you are — and where you need to be. If your company has not kept up with the latest technological advances, now is the time to assess your business needs.

It’s not a matter of making sure you have the latest bells and whistles. It’s about being able to maintain flexibility while staying competitive and meeting customer expectations. It’s about enhancing productivity, conducting business more cost effectively and protecting your operation from cyberattacks. 

Here are some areas to explore during your Y2K15 assessment. 

Conversion to the cloud environment

Perhaps you still have a room at your business solely devoted to that massive hardware collection known as servers. If so, it’s time to consider ditching the hardware and moving your valuable data to a protected outside environment.

Servers take up physical space, break down and need the regular attention of IT professionals. They occasionally crash, putting productivity on hold until the problem can be fixed. Software updates can also interrupt service. And the life of a server is only about eight years, at which point you must make another significant investment in equipment. A cloud-based solution eliminates those issues and makes the responsibility for maintenance and upgrades an external matter. You get uninterrupted access to your data, 24/7, and employees gain the flexibility of being able to work anywhere, any time of the day or night, and not at an exceptional cost, either.

While every company’s experience will vary, you may find that a cloud-based software subscription is more cost effective than your current arrangement. For example, we did a three-year cost analysis for a food industry client that switched from servers to a cloud service offering Software as a Service (SaaS) and found that the switchover cost about half that of a server-based solution.  

Cyber security 

Regardless of your line of business, you have privacy issues — and that means security concerns. Your HR department must protect Social Security numbers, health care enrollment forms and other employee personal data. The accounting department must safeguard company financials. The sales department wants to protect client lists. Depending on your line of business, you may need to protect customer credit card information, patent or design work and other inside information. Cyber thieves target all of that information, and the numerous publicized security breaches show they can get it from even the largest and presumably most well-guarded companies. That’s why significant investments in the latest security and privacy technology — access control, identity management, intrusion protection and virus/malware blocking — are a critical part of your Y2K15 assessment.   

Applications and security for mobile devices

Today’s workforce is already conducting business on a proliferation of electronic devices at home, on the road and in the office. In the mobile environment, an endless number of apps can help your people work faster, easier and more productively from wherever they are. For instance, expense report apps allow your road warriors to use their smartphones to snap photos of receipts and electronically submit forms from wherever they are.

Your business can similarly simplify timesheet entry, accounting systems and a host of department- and industry-specific functions. And when you’re exploring your network security issues, don’t forget to fully secure the apps your employees will use on their smartphone, tablets and other mobile devices. 

This is a good starting point for taking your business boldly into tomorrow. Contact us today if you need help with your Y2K15 assessment. 

Paul Ursich is director of Advisory Services at Wiss & Company LLP. Reach him at pursich@wiss.com.