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Covid-19 Lockdown Technology Issues Home To Roost

The rush by many New Zealand SMEs to set up their technology infrastructure to enable ‘remote working’ ahead of the Covid-19 Level Four lockdown earlier this year has unfortunately seen some chickens coming home to roost.

Business solutions manager at business technology company OneHQ, Alric Morrison, says the company is burning the candle at both ends before Christmas as part of the end of year rush, but also in some instances to help companies around the country fix issues related to security and remote working systems.

“A reactive approach is sometimes a fairly typical tactic many businesses take towards their information technology (IT). A lot of companies were, and continue to be, found out by Covid-19. The result is that they end up with holes in their security, technology that they might not need and technical issues that hurt their ability to serve their markets.”

Morrison says that New Zealand businesses are enduring a high rate of ransomware attacks from offshore parties that have realised that Kiwi companies have been lax when it comes to the security of their technology and data.

“Kiwis needs to move away from fighting fires and seeing technology as a necessary evil, to a future, goal-orientated mindset. Fighting fires is an expensive way to run a business.”

At least 90 per cent of the companies he talks to have not given any thought to aligning their technology needs with their business plans for one, two, three or even five years ahead.

“Complacency is another issue. So many businesses we talk to think they know how their systems and processes work and it’s only when we do an audit that they discover it isn’t anything like they thought.”

Morrison recommends the following steps for companies that want to move from reactive and vulnerable to proactive and future-proofed.

1. Develop a technology roadmap

A technical roadmap incorporates a broad range of products and solutions. More importantly, it comes down to your goals for the next one, two to five years.

“A roadmap helps the business use technology and enhanced software capabilities to achieve their goals rather than just as a solution to a problem,” Morrison says.

“An ad hoc reactive response racks up the costs quickly and doesn’t allow the business to forecast spending or set a timeline for implementing different systems and up-to-date security features.”

2. Conduct a technical assessment

A technical assessment means that key stakeholders of the business sit down together to understand their technology needs in line with their business objectives.

“This should include mapping all processes and how you can solve problems or improve outcomes using technology.”

3. Stay flexible

Morrison says solutions should be designed and implemented with flexibility in mind.

“For example, many companies still insist they need onsite servers. Instead of buying a new onsite server at a considerable cost, consider installing a hybrid model that will allow you to migrate to the cloud if your needs change.

“This may include ensuring that the security protocols on work laptops enable your staff to work from anywhere as if they were in the office, rather than just from one or two locations.”

Morrison says that one of the more significant issues coming out of the scramble to get ready for the Covid-19 Level Four lockdown in March this year was that some companies had boxed themselves into a way of working that isn’t necessarily the best for them.

“Backtracking is always costly. It’s better to align your technology spend with your business goals and opt for flexible solutions that allow you to adjust to conditions,” he said.

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