Has your IT estate gotten simpler and easier to manage during the past year? Is it likely to do so in 2019?
If you have answered “Yes” to either question, you are in an exceptional, vanishingly small minority of business technology decision makers. For most, increasing complexity is the standard state of affairs, something highly unlikely to change anytime soon.
3 Contributors to IT Complexity: Cyber Security, the Cloud, and the Internet of Things
The specifics of your IT environment are of course unique to your business. But as some therapists joke, keep in mind that your challenges are unique – just like everyone else’s.
Put another way, in addition to your environment’s unique characteristics, there are trends contributing to growing complexity at almost every modern business. Three of the most pervasive of those trends are increased focus on cybersecurity, cloud computing, and the explosive growth of the Internet of Things (IoT).
IT Complexity Contributor #1: Cyber Security
Cybersecurity threats and attacks are growing in volume, sophistication, and impact. In May 2018, Marketwatch.com published research from the non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center. That group found the number of “significant breaches at U.S. businesses, government agencies, and other organizations topped 1,300,” compared with fewer than 200 in 2005.
The challenges are even greater for smaller businesses with limited IT and cybersecurity resources. In May 2017, Inc.com published “60 Percent of Companies Fail in 6 Months Because of This (It’s Not What You Think).” The article cited research conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance. According to that research:
- Almost 50 percent of small businesses have experienced a cyber attack.
- More than 70 percent of attacks target small businesses.
- As many as 60 percent of hacked small- and medium-sized businesses go out of business with six months of the attack.
In its IT Industry Outlook 2018 report, industry association CompTIA cites IDC research that projects “global information technology spending will top $4.8 trillion in 2018.” Separately, 85 percent of respondents to a survey of IT professionals conducted for the 2018 New York Tech Summit spend up to half their total IT budgets on security-related investments. And nearly half the respondents to the 2017 version of that survey (49 percent) said cybersecurity was their top concern.
You can expect to spend more time and money on cybersecurity in 2019. But that won’t guarantee your business will be any more secure or resistant to threats than it was in 2018.
IT Complexity Contributor #2: Cloud Computing
Public cloud. Private cloud. Hybrid cloud. Cloud-based applications. Cloud-based storage. Cloud-based cybersecurity. Multiple services. Multiple vendors. Multiple licensing and pricing schemes. And nearly constant changes to all of these.
An April 2018 Grand View Research study estimates the cloud managed services market exceeded $23 billion in 2016. The same study predicts that market could exceed $80 billion in 2025. But as with cybersecurity, more spending does not guarantee more success or less complexity.
IT Complexity Contributor #3: the Internet of Things (IoT)
The internet, the web, and web-enabled business and social applications connect billions of humans daily. The IoT is bringing trillions of devices and connections online. Gartner predicts there will be more than 20 billion connected IoT devices deployed by 2020.
Today, many of those devices have little to no built-in security or manageability features. Some don’t even have passwords or the ability to have their software upgraded.
Compounding the IoT complexity challenge is the desire of many business users to connect IoT devices to their business networks. Examples range from smart audio speakers, video monitors, and warehouse door locks to break room coffee makers and microwave ovens. Many of these connections get made without the knowledge or authorization of IT decision makers. This means IT can’t even try to manage or secure those IoT devices, because it doesn’t know about them until or unless they cause problems. This mirrors the “rogue” or “shadow” IT problem that we have talked about before.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs): Help When and As You Need It
To navigate these and other complexity contributors successfully, you and your team could likely use some help. But skilled, experienced employees are difficult and expensive to identify, recruit, hire, and retain. And traditional consultants can quickly become prohibitively expensive.
In many cases, your best alternative is a managed service provider (MSP). Modern MSPs have the talent, resources, skills, and commitment to staying current on critical technologies and industry trends. They also are flexible enough to act as adjuncts to your incumbent team and resources or to perform functions your team cannot.
Whether your business needs better performance or security monitoring, cloud computing services, or extra staff, a modern MSP can help. And most can work with you to craft a relationship that integrates seamlessly with your current environment, your team, and your budget.
Freshservice is an IT service management tool that can help manage your IT incidents, assets, changes, and more. Freshservice can be used by internal IT teams as well as MSPs to offer comprehensive IT services and support while fitting well within budget. Try Freshservice.