Challenges For Your IT Department in 2016

Imagine doing a job that is so unpredictable, the expertise you had when hired is obsolete a year later. Such is the volatile and shifting nature of Information Technology. In the analog world of information gathering, storage, security, and retrieval, nothing much has changed since the printing press. In the digital world, nothing stays the same from one day to the next.

The IT specialist has to stay on top of new languages such as Swift. Storing and securing data is a never-ending game of cat and mouse with criminals that do not even bother to hide the fact that they are trying to steal your stuff. All this has to be managed while everyone in the company is trying to access the information from every kind of device under the sun with an internet connection. The challenges for your IT department in 2016 are enormous. Here is a closer look at three of them:

Data Security
There is a dirty little secret in the tech industry to which no one wants to admit, but everyone has known for some time: No company is particularly good at security. After the first couple of major tech breaches a few years ago, the conventional wisdom was that everyone in the industry would take note, and shore up their data security. This sort of thing would never happen again. But that hasn’t been the case. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Since the Target breach, there have been dozens of major breaches filling the headlines of the tech and mainstream press. The pace of breaches seems to be accelerating. Even data held by the government is under fire. According to the Journal of Accountancy:

Although no personal taxpayer data were compromised or disclosed by the breach, the IRS noted that the cybercriminals succeeded in using 101,000 SSNs to access e-file PINs (out of 464,000 attempts).

This marks the second IRS breach in just a few months. The government is no better at protecting sensitive data than small businesses. Modern virus protection in today’s world involves the following measures:

– Antivirus
– Antispam
– Ransomware Protection
– Web Security
– Data Protection

The old programs and virus definitions no longer protect against today’s threats. IT departments both large and small are having to face the fact that they are not as good as they once thought they were at protecting user data. They need as much third-party help as they can get.

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Windows 10
Microsoft is touting Windows 10 adoption as a resounding success. While it is true that many consumers are making the upgrade from older versions of Windows, those upgrades are free as opposed to the $100 – $300 they paid for their last major upgrade. The even darker side of the numbers is that many of these upgrades are due to people feeling forced by Microsoft to upgrade. Microsoft has been extremely aggressive and heavy-handed with consumers. They are starting to adopt the same tactics with businesses.

Microsoft journalist Paul Thurrott, reports that through hardware, Microsoft finds another way to force Windows 10 upgrades on businesses. Microsoft has a history of forcing companies to use their products, whether or not they want to. The DoJ has had a few things to say about that in the past. When Microsoft’s back is to the competitive wall, they tend to use brute force tactics. IT departments end up spending a major amount of their time dealing with these shenanigans. Right now, forced integration of Windows 10 is one of the biggest challenges IT departments will face this year.

Going Mobile
Businesses have been slow to move to mobile. With a new crop of hardware, the pressure will only intensify. The iPad Pro may look like a laptop when attached to a keyboard, but it is really a mobile device with a smartphone OS. Apple’s partnership with IBM practically ensures that IT departments will have to deal with a few integration nightmares. Google has also made a bid for this space with the Pixel C.

Your IT person has a lot more to worry about than helping you set up your third password this week because you keep forgetting it, or running a diagnostic because your PC doesn’t load fast enough. They have to worry about security threats that even the IRS can’t deal with, Windows 10 upgrade shenanigans and the workforce going mobile.

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