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Four Questions to Ask in Your Year-End Evaluations to Set Your Company’s Technology Up for Success in 2021 [Plus Tech Tips for the New Year]

Written by Emily Jones on October 19, 2020

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Towards the end of the year, the majority of businesses take time to reflect on the past year: what went well, what went wrong and how to prepare for next year. And what a year 2020 has been so far.

While looking back on these previous months may not be a pleasant experience, there is so much that can be learned, especially when it comes to your business’s technology.

Here, we’ve outlined a few helpful questions to ask yourself about your organization as part of your year-end evaluations. The answers (and our tips for 2021) can help you to make the right decisions for your company’s technology in the coming year.

Does your business software and technology meet the needs of your workforce today?

Many companies have been forced to make difficult technology decisions these past few months, like the decision to move to a remote working environment.

If this sounds familiar, now is a great to time to reevaluate your business software to make sure that your technology meets your needs regardless of whether or not you plan to continue remote working conditions, provide a flexible work environment or return to the office.

Tip for 2021: A SaaS (Software as a Service) solution can help your business with remote work through features like single-sign-on, which allows employees to securely log in on different devices to access documents.

Have you been affected by a natural disaster? Are you prepared for one?

A company’s data is one of their largest assets. It holds everything from their customers’ information to details about the operations of their business, yet most companies aren’t fully prepared to protect it in the event of a disaster.

In addition to impacts felt by businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have also navigated the challenge of recovering from natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.

If your business has recently been impacted by a hurricane, or if future hurricanes pose a threat to your business, it’s important to ensure that your technology is prepared to respond.

If your business is affected, will you be able to carry on with business as usual?

Tip for 2021: Now is the time to think about your business’s mission-critical financial data. Cloud computing is extremely useful for disaster preparedness. Not only is your data securely stored, but it remains accessible in the face of natural disasters, power outages, remote work, pandemics, etc.

Expenses for maintaining strong backups are eliminated, as a cloud solution includes backups stored in a separate geographic location. This, again, brings much better protection against losing your data altogether.

It’s also a great time to develop a business continuity plan or a disaster recovery plan (include a data loss and prevention program) if you haven’t already.

Have you experienced a cybersecurity breach? Is your data protected against one?

Cyber threats to companies’ data are increasing and cyberattacks are unfortunately becoming common. No company is immune.

Take time to ensure that you have the right cybersecurity measures in place and that your employees are educated in order to protect the valuable data that belongs to you and to your customers.

Tip for 2021: Companies should be proactive in protecting their data by implementing cybersecurity measures.

The cloud can provide an accessible backup if an IT attack leaves your data encrypted by the bad guys. You’ll need current, accessible backups in order to restore and continue business operations, so cloud computing is an important consideration here as well.

Talk with your advisor about tools that can be incorporated into your environment that reduce the amount of malware and reduce phishing attacks, thus reducing the number of opportunities employees have to accidently click on something that allows an unwanted visitor into the company’s technical infrastructure.

Also, if you haven’t recently had your technical environment assessed for vulnerabilities, you may consider doing so. This allows a company to determine the risk that they are willing to accept and where they need to increase security.

Is your financial data secure against threats, yet available to you?

Generally, financial software companies release critical software updates, such as payroll updates and tax table updates, during the fourth quarter, making now a prime time for reevaluating your financial software.

As you prepare for these updates to keep your financial software running seamlessly, ask yourself if your software is providing the information you need to successfully manage your business. If it isn’t, investigate some alternatives, add-on software or integrations to bring disparate systems and data together.

If it is, then it’s still a good time to evaluate the security, integrity and availability of that data.

Tip for 2021: Moving your existing financial software to the cloud or utilizing a full SaaS solution can provide safety of financials, accessibility of the data, availability of robust backups, business continuity, and brings a great peace of mind to business owners and chief personnel.

Technology for Businesses in 2021

While 2020 has definitely shown us that none of us can accurately predict the future, your evaluation of your company’s technology and these tips can still help you set your technology up for success in the coming year.

If you need help evaluating your company’s technology, aren’t sure how to answer the questions we have outlined here or would like to learn more, reach out to your Warren Averett Technology Group Advisor or ask a member of our team to reach out to you.

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