Certified driving instructors have a plethora of rules and advice for proper use of a motor vehicle—including how to use your mirrors. They advocate checking your rearview mirror every 5‑8 seconds because what is behind you, can certainly affect your way forward. Considering how 2020 transpired, many may not want to even spend any time in reflection. However, we feel it is important to highlight a few lessons gained from this turbulently unexpected annum.
Expect the Unexpected
If business owners and managers learned anything this year it is that unexpected environmental, public safety and governmental issues can have a huge impact on how and if you can conduct your business. The Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” certainly applies here. Those with plans in place that lay out how to keep delivering value to clients are the winners. Also, it sure helps to have a financial cushion in place as well. Maybe it is time to re-name the good old “Rainy Day Fund.”
Security is Paramount
IT professionals have been proselytizing for years about the importance of layers of security protecting all organizational hardware, software and most importantly—data! With “remote work” becoming the norm for many in 2020, security is even more essential. Enterprises that put in place strictures to ensure that all hardware that accessed their networks had adequate security in place—such as ensuring personal machines were Windows 10 and had adequate anti-virus, and/or accessed the office network solely through a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)—reduced their cyber risks significantly.
Mobility and Agility are Vital
Being able to move/work freely and easily anywhere (mobility) as well as quickly (agility) is vital going forward. Those firms that had an executable disaster recovery plan in place, along with the needed devices and knowledge on how to use them in the hands of their staff, were the ones who sailed much more swiftly through the initial months of the pandemic. To facilitate staff to be able to produce work from almost anywhere anytime—and then do it from somewhere else quickly if need be—is the new lifeblood of many businesses.
Overcommunication is Impossible
Interactions with staff, vendors, and clients on a frequent basis via all forms— email, calls, virtual meetings, distanced personal visits—are vital in critical situations such as what 2020 delivered. Focusing in those communications on “how” things will proceed, not “if” things will proceed, separated the winners from the losers. While many employees have enjoyed working from home, it is imperative to minimize any feelings of isolation through frequent and positive communications of all types.
Duplicating resources is the new normal post the 2020 experience. Having data backups is just part of that, but also having spare laptops and access to temporary office space and stockpiling key resources is the lesson here. Replicating servers in the cloud so downtime is minimized in a disaster is another way to double up. A rule of thumb is that, if it is vital, be sure you have at least two of it!
Stay Goal Focused
The final lesson is this: Do not let yourself or your business get caught up in the swirl of craziness that can take over in turbulent times. You got into this business for a reason, stay focused on it. Your customers need you and your services. You may have to reinvent your “how,” but you do not have to reinvent your “why.” Onward and upward!
IT Radix is here to help you navigate your IT journey and keep your eyes on the road ahead. Contact us today!
First published in our December 2020 IT Radix Resource newsletter