The start of a new year is a challenging time for businesses. It can be a good time to reflect on the wins and losses of the previous twelve months. It’s also an excellent time to take stock and evaluate what your business needs to go forward. IT demands move at a staggering speed, meaning last year’s tech may not fit next year’s needs. The new year can bring major change to both the business and the environment it operates in. Regulations, contract terms, and seasonal spending habits mean that adaptations have to be made for continued growth. A smart business knows how and where to incorporate flexibility to win more business and adapt to a new environment. As we move into the new year, there are fundamental questions we should ask about our IT to ensure we are ready to tackle the next twelve months too. Is Your Hardware Still Up to The Task? Businesses are often challenged by their client’s demand for files that seem to continually increase in size and resolution. The storage needed to handle, use, and archive these enormous files appears to grow at a near exponential rate. Every device today is capable of capturing more data at a higher resolution than ever before. Huge data needs have become the new standard. The expectation of bigger and bigger data is only set to continue as we progress into another new year. Many clients expect, or demand, exceptional quality from professional services and with a fast turnaround time too. These competing demands put as much strain on network hardware and computing power as they do physical storage. One of the most important things a business can do when reviewing IT demands is to ensure there are no bottlenecks in the productivity pipeline. Is Your Backup Reliable and Ready? Almost every business in the modern day has learned enough to put a backup in place. Whether simply transferring files manually to USB storage, copying documents over to a local server, or saving media to the cloud. However, not every business is testing their backups. Fewer still are testing them reliably. A backup is only as good as what we know can be reliably restored from it. Cases have emerged where big-name firms had famously believed they were backing up successfully for months or years, only to find out their backup was failing when they really needed it. Whether impacted by missing assets, unable to transfer files, or affected by corrupt data, an untested backup may be as useful as not having any backup at all. A critical goal for the safety and reliability of any business should be to have dependable backups that are tested at regular intervals. Is Your Compliance Still Up to Date? Nearly every business in the world has compliance and regulations standards it must adhere to if it is to keep its position in the marketplace. These may be industry specific such as medical or automotive certifications, or regional protections such as data protection regulations. Requirements for each of these areas change regularly. It is up to each firm to keep on top of both changes to rules and changes to the firm which may impact them. Changing IT can often impact certifications in a big way. Many feature rules which affect storage, processing, or altering the way in which data is used; it’s essential to check your usage against strict requirements relevant to your business. While time-consuming and difficult, these checks require a strong knowledge of both the rules and your IT system. The penalties for failure can be severe and crippling. It is a critical area of the firm you can’t afford to get wrong. If you are looking to boost your business in the new year, check up on your systems and technology, or dust up your certifications to the latest standard: there’s never a better time than now. Give CITE a call at 605-791-2423 to get your new year off to a flying start.