What Technology Strategies are you Committed to in 2016?

Tim Howard

Have you considered what your technology should look like in 2016, and in to the future? Technology is now a core piece of the business model. A high performance communications infrastructure is as critical to local growth as bridges or roads. By making strategic investments in technology solutions, local governments contribute to the economic growth of their communities, with faster delivery of services, effective communication, especially in critical situations, and more.

Top State CIOs from around the U.S. have discussed what their top technology priorities will be for 2016. Leading responses were security, cloud services, and systems consolidation and optimization. Let’s look at each of these in more detail:

Security

Security should come as no surprise since it has been on the top 10 list since 2006. And rightly so as human error and malware continue to be a large part of this issue. In 2016 ransomware / crypto viruses are projected to grow even more. As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, hackers are targeting items like wearables, cars, airplanes, elevators, HVAC systems, which are all connected to a larger network. It is increasingly obvious that password security is obsolete and there is a need for a technology that is compatible, open, scalable, and proven trustworthy. If your top priority for the 2016 year is to increase security for your networks and the connecting devices, start by taking inventory of connected items. Do you know what is connecting to your network? If you cannot identify some or all of the moving pieces, it might be a good idea to have a security assessment performed. Once everything is identified you can start to plan your security solutions more accurately and effectively.

Cloud Services

Along with security, cloud services are also a top priority for leaders in your industry. Small organizations previously could not afford an enterprise level IT infrastructure, but the cloud changed that. Cloud Services can be called the “great equalizer.” It levels the playing field and creates the ability for any organization to remotely host a datacenter, rather than build one on premise. In addition to reducing IT infrastructure costs, lowering IT performance issues, improving end-user experience, and simplifying your IT - another reason to go to cloud is security. While a lot of people were concerned with security in the cloud, organizations are now moving to the cloud because it offers better security than what you currently have implemented. Microsoft even offers a higher level security if you choose to use their government cloud. So whether you are looking to make an upgrade to just your email, or your entire infrastructure in 2016—keep it simple: utilize the cloud.

Consolidation and Optimization

Although the thought of aging networks and infrastructure upgrades may seem daunting, it can actually be an exciting time. This is your opportunity to transform your infrastructure by using more efficient technologies. Whether you decide to host your network virtually or on premise you will have options that offer the most advanced technology yet. Consider the newest on premise servers: they can do what 3 servers used to do, and offer more storage than ever, with the availability to virtual desktops, and more. If you decide to virtualize your entire infrastructure in the cloud (a.k.a. IaaS), your options are endless. You can create your entire infrastructure instantly, and only pay for what you need when you need it. Scale up or down, now or later, and never have to worry about an expensive hardware upgrade again. Consolidation and optimization options are endless.

The five steps to deciding the best consolidation and optimization plan:

Step 1: Establish a Destination. Determine what your ideal and attainable goal is. Don’t be afraid to work with an experienced partner, it can save you time and money.

Step 2: Discover. You need to discover all of the software and workloads you are running. You may not even know what you are running on your server. That is why a thorough “discover” process is essential.

Step 3: Assess. Once you have discovered what is running in your environment, we suggest evaluating applications and workloads by type, criticality, complexity, and risk.

Step 4: Target. Different applications and workloads will need different targets. What is best for your new infrastructure? Modernizing your infrastructure and the workload to the latest technology will help you realize full benefits.

Step 5: Make the Move!

While the above 3 items top the NASCIO’s 2016 top priorities list, still remaining are business intelligence and data analytics, and legacy modernization taking slots 4 and 5. At the bottom of the list are enterprise vision and roadmap; budget and cost control; HR and talent management; agile and incremental software delivery; and—shockingly—disaster recovery and business continuity.

Whatever your 2016 technology strategies may be, make sure the initiatives share the commitment of not only the IT manager, but also that the commitment starts at the senior level and continues down to the endpoint. Commitment to your improved technology is what will create your success in 2016.

Tim Howard is President and CEO of RMON Networks (www.rmonnetworks.com) located in Plaistow and Laconia. For FREE resources like virus removal tools, policy templates, an employee training kit, and more visit www.RMONnetworks.com/informationsecurity.