How to Migrate Your Call Centre Into the Cloud

In a previous post, we looked at the many advantages to moving your customer service call centre into a cloud platform, which included the possibility of huge cost savings combined with higher customer satisfaction. Today, we want to look at the process of actually migrating your call centre into the cloud. In other words, we’ll look at what it takes to actually turn that money-saving vision into a reality.

The actual process will vary, of course, from one company to the next. Moreover, your specific steps will probably depend a bit on the size of your business, where your calls will be routed to in the future, and what Canadian data centre you’ll be working with for colocation.

However, the template below should apply very well for most situations. Moreover, it will help to dispel the widespread myth that moving your call centre into a cloud has to be expensive, time-consuming, or problematic. Few things could be further from the case. In fact, most businesses find that the transition is incredibly quick and smooth. The only real issue is figuring out why they didn’t make the switch sooner.

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Steps Involved in Migrating to a Cloud-Based Call Centre

So, what does it actually take to move your customer service calls into the cloud? Here are the steps most businesses will follow:

1. Choose a data centre for colocation. This is an important piece of the puzzle, since the right environment for your cloud platform is essential. You want to work with a partner who can guarantee lots of uptime, maximum security, and “extras” like automatic file backup on a regular basis. Biased as we might be, we recommend you consider a Canadian data centre for the most reliable technicians in a stable, accessible environment.

2. Make a plan for your migration. In most cases, this doesn’t have to be complicated, just an outline of the actual system to be transferred, a date and time for the migration to be executed, and all the relevant details like telephone numbers or server addresses for customer records. Additionally, your plan might contain information on backups and contingencies, just in case systems are offline for a few minutes during the transition.

3. Train your staff for your new customer service platform. Typically, when businesses make the switch to cloud call centres, they upgrade their capabilities at the same time. That means your team might have access to information they didn’t have before, which could require a little bit of training. Or, you might decide this is a great time to overhaul your entire customer service experience to meet a higher standard of satisfaction. Either way, it’s a good idea to ensure that staff members are informed about the switch and ready to move forward.

4. Port your telephone numbers from one location to another. Moving your customer service contacts into the cloud doesn’t have to mean surrendering the telephone numbers you already have (and your customers already know). Most major telecommunications providers can actually port numbers to a new location within just a few minutes, but it’s a good idea to give them a healthy amount of lead time if it’s at all possible. That way, you can be sure things will work the way they’re supposed to.

5. Keep a close eye on your customer service performance. Once you’ve moved your call centre into the cloud and had your numbers ported, you are ready to begin with your virtual setup. All there is left to do at this point is keep an eye on your most important customer service metrics to ensure that your staff is handling the transition smoothly.

Don’t Let the Fear of Call Centre Migration Hold You Back

Some companies end up spending far, far more than they should – one quarter after another – because they are afraid to undergo the process of migrating their call centre into the cloud. While this is understandable for those who aren’t familiar with the technology, it’s also a case where a little bit of misinformation can hurt your bottom line in a big way. Don’t be afraid to make the switch, because the process itself is likely to be very simple and the benefits to your business could be tremendous.

Ready to take the first step? Start your search a data centre that provides colocation services by clicking here.

Five of the Worst Cyber Attacks: Learning from Past Mistakes

As computer and Internet technologies continue to improve and evolve, so do the tactics and infiltration methods of cyber criminals. It’s critical for businesses of all shapes and sizes to ensure their network is always protected. Network security measures need to be updated and tested frequently in order to prevent the loss of any important company or customer data. If you’re business isn’t adequately protected from hackers, you could end up like one of the companies included in our list of some of the worst cyber-attacks.

  1. Mafia Boy Attack on Commercial Websites: In 2000, a 15-year old Quebec boy hacked into multiple commercial websites and shut down their systems for hours. Some of the impacted sites included CNN, Dell, Amazon, Yahoo, and E-Bay. The only reason this “professional hacker” was caught is because he bragged about his achievements in an online chat room. It’s estimated that the juvenile hacker cost $1.2 billion in damages, proving to businesses everywhere that all it takes is one hacker to cripple their productivity and cut revenue.Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 9.53.19 AM
  2. Target Loses Credit Card Data: During the holiday season in 2013, Target Corp. was hit by cyber thieves who used a RAM scraper to grab encrypted data by capturing it as it travels though the live memory of a computer, or – in this case – a checkout point-of-sale system. An investigation of the attack revealed that the cyber criminals stole the personal information of approximately 70 million customers. It wasn’t until Internet security blogger, Brian Krebs, wrote about the incident on his website that Target publicly admitted to the data breach. This resulted in a double hit for Target customers – not only was their information compromised, but they weren’t aware of it until long after the incident had occurred, which resulted in some very disgruntled customers.
  3. Epsilon Emails Hacked: The massive Marketing firm, best known for its big name clients – Best Buy and Chase, is estimated to have a potential loss of up to $4 billion after cyber criminals hacked into their database. The names and emails of millions of customers was stolen in March 2011, which could then be used to create more personalized and targeted phishing attacks. However, the biggest hit was felt by Epsilon – who had a client list of more than 2,200 global brands and handled more than 40 billion emails annually – as they struggled to keep the trust and business of their well-known clients.Epsilon_Logo_PMS
  4. Grocery Retailer Suffers 4 Month Long Breach: That’s right, for 4 months the upscale North American grocery chain experienced a security breach that resulted in the loss of approximately 4.2 million customers’ credit card details. Not only was the incident a black mark on the company’s public image, but it was a huge financial burden for the corporation. Cyber criminals gained access to the sensitive information by installing malware on the store servers, collecting the data from the winter of 2007 until the spring of 2008. It’s estimated that the costs incurred by the attack totaled $252 million.
  5. PlayStation Network Loses Millions: In 2011, over 100 million customer accounts containing credit and debit card information were stolen by a group of hackers. The breach lasted 24 days, and the hackers were even able to log on while the company was trying to fix the problem – even though dedicated gamers weren’t able to log on. Experts are speculating that this may be the costliest cyber-attack ever, totaling an estimated $2 billion in damages. To make matters ever worse, British regulators fined Sony 250,000 pounds (approximately $396,000) for failing to prevent the attacks by not implementing adequate security. Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office stated that the security measures in place at the time were “simply not good enough” and that there’s “no disguising that this is a business that should have known better”. So if you’re company isn’t making the time and effort to protect customer data – they’re sure to find out if your system is attacked. Good luck regaining your customer’s trust – and business – after a reveal like that.

Still haven’t convinced you that implementing a variety of security measures to protect your company and customer data is one of the highest priorities? Check out this quick video BuzzFeed created highlighting some more major cyber-attacks.

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Not sure where to get started? Here an article on how to train your employees on cyber security – click here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

The Impact of the Heartbleed Bug on Business

The Heartbleed bug has swept across the nation, impacting a countless number of businesses and consumers. The bug is a vulnerability in OpenSSL, which is the name of a 1998 project that was started to encrypt websites and user information across the web. What started as a project committed to data encryption is now standard on 2/3 of all websites on the Internet. Without OpenSSL, our personal information submitted across every website we visit could land in the hands of cyber criminals. Ironically, the OpenSSL software that was designed to protect users contained a flaw that made it possible for hackers to trick a server into spewing out the data that was held in its memory.

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When news of the Heartbleed struck, business scrambled to find out how many of their systems were using the vulnerable version of OpenSSL. While the big web companies, such as Google and Yahoo, were able to move fast to fix the problem – smaller e-commerce sites are struggling to “patch” the software quickly. As the larger sites close the door on the Heartbleed bug, hackers are turning their attention to any small and medium businesses that may not have the knowledge or manpower to update and protect their e-commerce sites accordingly.

However, regardless of the size of the business, if customers learn that a company’s system has been hacked and their personal information was compromised, legal issues could arise. Angered customers – and their lawyers – will look to hold businesses accountable for any personal data that lands in the hands of hackers. Businesses need to communicate with their customers to inform them what steps have – and will be – taken to fix the problem. That way, customers can update their passwords accordingly once a business has confirmed that their site is clean.

Many of the impacted sites are not just popular for personal usage, but are used every day by businesses of all sizes. Companies will need to follow the same steps as their customers and wait to receive confirmation from any frequently used websites that the issue has been resolved before changing their passwords. It’s also important to realize that other devices, such as Android smart phones and tablets, are vulnerable to the bug as well.

The Heartbleed bug ordeal is just another reminder of the security challenges companies are facing as more and more economic activity move online. According to eMarketer, an independent research organization, worldwide business-to-consumer e-commerce sales are likely to increase to $1.5 trillion this year. With money like that on the line, you can bet cyber criminals will be vigorously targeting businesses to try and get a piece of the pie. Companies need to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and their customers.

To learn more about protecting your business, click here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

Your Fridge May Be Sending Out Spam – And Not the Canned Meat Kind

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At the 2014 Consumer Electronics show, the Internet of Things and smart devices stole the spotlight. Tech heavyweights Samsung and LG unveiled their “Smart Home” devices, which consisted of household appliances that were able to communicate with the homeowner and each other. These M2M devices (machine to machine) are each assigned an IP address, allowing them to connect to the Internet and transfer data (or, in other words, talk to each other) over a network without the need for human interaction.

This technology provides businesses and consumers with an array of benefits, without a doubt. Consumers are able to save on time and money – now that they can switch their appliances to an energy saving mode remotely or text their fridge to find out if they need to buy milk at the store before arriving home. Businesses are able to collect endless amounts of information from their customers and their devices – such as maintenance requirements or customer food preferences. However, with both parties looking to utilize IoT as soon as possible, security measures have been overlooked.

Between December 23 and January 6th, several Internet-connected “smart” devices – including refrigerators – sent upwards of 750,000 malicious emails. This is believed to be the first cyber attack involving IoT, and likely won’t be the last. Many IoT devices are poorly protected and consumers aren’t able to detect or fix security breaches when they do occur. As more of these smart appliances “come online”, attackers are finding ways to exploit them for their own needs.

Additionally, following an M2M conference in Toronto, ON, the Director of Policy for Ontario’s privacy commissioner pointed out that these devices also hold a lot of data that will be personally identifiable. Organizations are being urged to think about the privacy of customer data before employing M2M and IoT devices. Recently, customer data was leaked by LG’s smart TV as it was collecting and transmitting personal information to the manufacturer because there was no encryption. In an even more bizarre circumstance, the signal transmitted from a wireless camera used to monitor the interior of a Canadian methadone clinic was being picked up by a back-up camera inside of a vehicle outside of the building.

It’s imperative for organizations and consumers to comprehend the security and privacy risks associated with M2M and IoT enabled devices. Consumers will need to ensure that they keep their software up-to-date, change all default passwords to something more secure, and place their IoT device behind a router. Meanwhile, organizations who manufacture these devices must incorporate any available security measures available to ensure their customer’s information and network stayed protected. The benefits of IoT devices far outweighs the concerns, but those concerns still need to be addressed before IoT can really take off.

To learn more about the Internet of Things, check out our previous blog post by clicking here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

 

Are You Too Worried About Cloud Security?

Should you wait, or push forward? Is it better to embrace the new technology, or to wait for it to be improved and refined? These are questions that come up again and again in virtually every part of the business world, but they seem particularly apt when it comes to the phenomenon that is cloud computing – the hottest IT trend in the world and a way for businesses of all sizes to gain huge performance advantages on smaller budgets.

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On the surface, there isn’t much not to love about cloud computing. By moving your hardware and software to a remote location and accessing it via the web, you gain the ability to access real-time information from any web-enabled device… and all while taking advantage of those cost savings we already mentioned. A relatively sizable minority of small businesses is holding off on making the transition just yet, however, because they have concerns about cloud security.

Should you wait right alongside them? Or, is worrying too much about cloud security holding you back from making a decision that can help your company? As always, there isn’t a cut-and-dried answer to that question. While security breaches have been relatively rare, there have been some valid concerns when it comes to cloud security at some facilities, and with some vendors. However, those concerns shouldn’t be pressing enough to stop most organizations from making the switch.

To understand why, consider the basic model that most reputable cloud computing package providers employ to keep data safe. Generally speaking they do deter, prevent, correct, and detect – or do everything they can to scare thieves away, stop them from accessing data, limit the damage they can do, and then fix any known security issues quickly. To get a sense of how that actually works in the real world, consider some of the major safeguards that cloud computing providers using Canadian data centres put into place to protect the flow and integrity of client data:

Maximum strength encryption: In the best Canadian colocation data centres, high-level encryption is used for the transmission of files to and from client workstations. Although maximum strength encryption can theoretically be broken, cyber criminals almost always look for smaller and easier targets that are more vulnerable.

Comprehensive antivirus scanning: It isn’t unusual for a single virus, introduced by the wrong download or email attachment, to infect multiple computers within the same small business network quickly. At a state-of-the-art cloud computing facility, however, continuous antivirus scans mean that bits of problematic code are identified and quarantined very quickly.

On-site protection: In a lot of small businesses, servers, backup hard drives, and other pieces of hardware containing sensitive data are often left completely unguarded and out in the open. At a cloud facility, trained security personnel are on the premises around the clock – as are engineers and systems experts to monitor the hardware and flow of information.

Redundancy systems: When you lose an important piece of hardware in your office or facility, it’s likely that the important files you need have disappeared forever. Because files stored in the cloud are continuously backed up, however, even a natural disaster won’t cause you to lose information like client records that you desperately need to keep your company going.

Environmental controls. You can’t find a better environment for cloud computing than the ones you’ll find in our Canadian data centres, where continuous power backups, strict climate control, and a lack of natural disasters all work in our favor. Plus, we have a very stable government with strict privacy laws, so you don’t have to worry that any organization is going to have an unauthorized look through your company’s records.

When it comes down to it, we can’t guarantee beyond every doubt that a security breach will never take place at our cloud facility, or at any of the others across the country. What we can promise you, however, is that the steps we take to safeguard important information are much, much stronger than the ones you would find in most corporate offices… and certainly at a higher level than the ones most small businesses use.

The issue, then, isn’t whether cloud security should be a concern, but whether you can really believe that you’re safer without cloud computing in a Canadian data centre.

To learn more about cloud computing, check out our white paper Cutting IT Costs with Cloud Computing.

Data Loss and Business Downtime

Over the past year, computer users worldwide created 1.8 billion gigabytes of data. Much of that data was pertinent for business dealings and operations. Unfortunately, some of that data was also lost, causing expensive downtime for businesses – many of which will never recover from the loss.

There are several factors that commonly contribute to the loss of data. However, the two top causes of data loss are the failure of an uninterrupted power supply and human error. Some of the other top causes include exceeding UPS capacity, cyber-attacks, equipment failure, water incursion, weather-related issues and circuit breaker failure. There are several business continuity tactics and procedures that companies can put in place to prevent or diminish the impact. However, businesses need to implement a disaster recovery plan as well in case their prevention methods were not enough.

Of companies that lose a data center for 10 days, 93 percent file for bankruptcy within a year. Additionally, 43 percent of companies that experience such disasters never reopen. Only six percent of companies without a recovery plan will survive long term. Companies that design and implement a disaster recovery plan have a better chance of surviving catastrophic data loss.

First, businesses need to perform an impact analysis, which involves organizing the data by order of recovery importance. It is important to identify your company’s most valuable assets and critical business functions. These are the tools that must be preserved in an emergency in order to keep your business operational.

Next, companies should perform risk assessment in which they identify potential points of system failure and then take action to eliminate as many as possible. By proactively testing your operational functions for a weak spot, you may be able to prevent a larger problem from occurring. Finally, each company needs to manage their risks by instituting solutions that address points of vulnerability.

This infographic was supplied to us by SingleHop. SingleHop is dedicated to bringing cloud hosting solutions to businesses. They build and maintain hosted infrastructures for companies worldwide.

Data Centers Canada Presents: Move Your Contact Centre into the Cloud

Data Centers Canada, a division of TeraGo Networks, recently posted an article on their blog site discussing the advantages of moving your business’s contact centre into the cloud. Below, we’ve provided a copy of the article:

Save Money and Improve Customer Service by Moving Your Contact Centre into the Cloud

Cloud computing is transforming the way we think about technology and communications, with new applications coming to light all the time. One of the most exciting – and one with a huge potential to save businesses a lot of money – is the ability to make your customer service contact centre cloud based.

How does a cloud contact centre work in conjunction with colocation at a Canadian data centre? In essence, it simply means that your calls are routed to Internet-connected workstations through a configurable software package. You control where the calls go, to whom, and what information is displayed to customer service representatives in real time. Because software is hosted online, and the calls are handled over the Internet through VOIP, your business gets bigger capabilities at a fraction of the cost.

With VOIP systems already standard in companies of all sizes, it’s no wonder that so many are turning to cloud platforms to lower costs and increase customer service effectiveness. It’s a classic win-win scenario, and one that virtually any organization can take advantage of.

To help illustrate the reasons why, here are seven big advantages you enjoy when you move your contact centre into the cloud:

1. You eliminate customer service hardware costs. One of the tremendous advantages you gain with any cloud computing platform is the freedom to do away with expensive and unreliable on-site hardware. The savings are especially important when you’re talking about servers, telephone switchboards, and other pieces of technology traditionally needed for customer service. By embracing colocation with a Canadian data centre, you can eliminate fixed investments and take advantage of less expensive monthly agreements.

2. More customer service capabilities. While a lot of businesses are limited to simply engaging customers over the phone, cloud contact centres can allow users to participate in real-time chat sessions and, in some situations, even screen-sharing sessions. That means your representatives can diagnose problems and assist buyers more quickly than ever before.

3. Better customer service call routing. Cloud contact centres work through infinitely customizable software packages. So, you can decide whether to offer menu prompts to callers, where to route incoming calls, and even whether to split them between different locations, departments, or priorities. With this increased control, businesses can deal with their most important inquiries first, and help customers to find the contact or information they’re looking for faster.

4. Real-time customer information. One of the greatest things about cloud computing platforms is that they work in real time, so software can be updated for all users in an instant. Since that includes databases, your customer service team can have the account-specific information they need, continuously updated and ready at a moment’s notice. That allows them to see what happened during previous interactions, view the details of orders, and check things like shipping without any delay.

5. Customer service scalability. When your cloud customer service system is set up using colocation at a Canadian data centre, you always have the option of expanding your operations quickly – and without investing in new call centre locations or buying expensive telecommunications equipment. Simply make a change in your account, based on your current or forecasted future needs, and your usage settings can be adjusted overnight.

6. Better data security. Colocation is a great way to make all of your technology safer, with encrypted connections, automated backups, and secure facilities that are monitored around the clock. That’s especially important when it comes to customer service, since you don’t want buyer information and order details being seen by unauthorized third parties. With the right Canadian data centre, you won’t have to worry about where your data is being stored, or where it might be going when you aren’t looking.

7. Less customer service downtime. Because cloud computing and colocation systems are notably more reliable than traditional in-office telecommunications packages, your customer service team spends less time offline. That means a more consistent experience for buyers, higher customer retention rates, and a better reputation in your industry.

A lot of businesses are just finding out about colocation contact centres for the first time, but they are quickly learning that there is a lot to love about handling incoming calls in the cloud. Is it time you looked into a better way to keep buyers happy and save money all at the same time?

To learn more about data centre technologies and trends, check out the Data Centers Canada blog by clicking here.

The Great NSA Debate has Companies Moving to Canada

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This week, privacy advocates around the world staged a protest online in an attempt to protect their data and company information from the world’s government intelligence agencies. Over 6,000 websites took part in the protest, which was branded as “The Day We Fight Back” campaign, by displaying banners at the bottom of their web pages to encourage individuals and companies to participate. Heavy hitters like Google, Twitter, and Mozilla took part in the protest.

Even though the protest itself was more of a whimper than a roar, the controversy over government surveillance still had a significant impact on the businesses economy south of the Canadian border. A recent estimate completed by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation stated that the American economy could stand to lost up to $35 billion in lost revenues as a result. Because of our proximity to the U.S., skilled workforce, cold climate, and affordable energy sources, Canada is a very ideal location for businesses who no longer want to house their data in the States. Several businesses have already made the move to a Canadian-based data centre, including European banking and insurance firms with operations in the States as well as American retail outlets and oil and gas companies.

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Telus and Rogers are expecting data storage sales in Canada to increase by 20% this year, not including the number of businesses seeking refuge from the ever-watching eye of the NSA. Though it would be naive to assume to any data stored in Canada is fully exempt from government surveillance, there are stricter rules on what government agencies can access. The Canadian Privacy Act, established in 1983, limits the amount of personal information the government can collect, use, and disclose.

So what does this mean for Canadian businesses? With more businesses looking for storage in data centre colocation facilities, there will be increased competition for space. Data centres are a finite resource. Once the space is gone – it’s gone, putting pressure on Canadian companies to get their foot in the door before the data centre is full. Many companies will also be looking to utilize cloud computing services, further driving the demand.

There will also be an increased need for bandwidth as businesses transfer data to their colocation facility or cloud, so obtaining a reliable and secure high speed connection is critical. In order to obtain the full benefits of cloud computing, users will require a symmetrical connection so they can upload and download data at an efficient rate.

To learn more about Canadian data centres, click here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

CES 2014: The Technology Trend that will Impact your Business

There was a lot of buzz surrounding the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, and we’re not just talking about Michael Bay’s big blunder and subsequent walk-off during the Samsung presentation. It’s important for any business to monitor technology trends – whether it’s for consumers or businesses – because it will likely have an impact on their company, directly or indirectly.

The most noteworthy trend is the number of machine-to-machine (M2M) enabled devices unveiled at the show by top tech companies. Many innovators have brought the concept of connected devices to CES in previous years – but they have never been as practical as they are today. For example, tech titans LG and Samsung unveiled smart household appliance systems that let consumers communicate with them.

Samsung introduced a service for managing its smart TVs, home appliances and smartphones called Smart Home. In fact, this Smart Home system is due to roll out in the first half of 2014. The system will allow for consumers to get real-time views streamed from appliances equipped with built-in cameras. And Samsung isn’t stopping there – they have plans to expand by including more and more smart devices and appliances.

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LG has devised a way to communicate with household appliances through text messages called HomeChat. Users are able to text in natural language and receive a response from their appliances that are slightly playful in nature. However, the more practical feature is the ability for your fridge to tell you what’s in it, suggest recipes, and tell you oven what temperature to preheat to. This will require some manual efforts from the user – since keeping track of food requires entering data into the refrigerator each time items are added or removed – but the beneficial results are worth it.

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Just think, you could be informed when an item in your fridge is close to spoiling, or set your appliances to an energy saving mode remotely, or even have your oven text you when your roast is almost done. This technology would allow for consumers to save on time and money, while the company who created the device is easily able to collect information on their customers and products. LG’s National Product Trainer expects that it will only take a few years until a universal standard for communicating with devices is established.

None of this would be possible without the proliferation of IPv6 – which provides a seemingly infinite number of IP addresses. Now companies are able to assign an IP address to almost anything, allowing for that item to communicate with other things, people, or animals. The ability for all “things” to communicate with each other is more commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Simply defined, the IoT is a system in which unique identifiers (or IP addresses) are assigned to objects, people, or animals – allowing them to transfer data about their assigned “thing” over a network without the need for human interaction.

The companies that utilize this type of technology will have an edge over the competition, with endless amounts of consumer and product data. In the near future, the Internet will develop into an online experience that has been customized to each individual user – your personalized Internet, with your data. Businesses will be able to deliver exactly what each individual customer wants, when they want it – that is, as long as they start incorporating this type of technology sooner than later.

To learn more about IoT, and how to get started on implementing it, click here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

Top IT Predictions for 2014

It’s that time of year again – businesses around the globe are busy preparing for 2014. After reviewing multiple research documents released by industry leading companies, such as Gartner, IDC, CA Technologies, and CompTIA, we’ve compiled a list of the top I.T. predictions for 2014.

  1. Security: In a survey conducted by CompTIA, it was revealed that businesses are funnelling resources into better security, and that 56% of CIOs have indicated that IT security is their top priority. As the number of devices used by employees increases (driven by BYOD – bring your own device) it is getting increasingly difficult to protect company data. Factor in the technical advances made by cyber criminals, who are finding more and more ways to get around security barriers, and you’ve got a real problem on your hands. There is a delicate balance between enabling and protecting the business, and IT members will need to find the happy medium.
  2. Outsourcing IT: Several companies are either planning or rolling out programs and technology trends such as cloud computing, mobility, and big data. This combination of multiple technology trends, in addition to the increased adoption rate of these technologies by enterprises, will contribute to a IT skills shortage. For many companies, change is occurring fast, and they don’t have the in-house resources or expertise needed to implement their plans. In order for businesses to obtain the full benefits of these technologies, they will need to employ outsourced resources.
  3. Data Centre Utilization: Businesses of all sizes are quickly filling up data centres across the country. Best advice – get in while you can. Data centres are comparable to a finite resource – once they’re full, that’s it. And as the demand for data centre services increases, so can the price. Several smaller businesses perceive data centres an inaccessible – believing that the costs will be too high – but that’s not the case. There is a variety of data centres across the country, ranging in price, size, and security level. Still don’t think your company needs data centre services? Check out our post on the Top 5 Benefits of Using a Data Centre for Business.
  4. The Internet of Things: We’re on the brink of the Internet of Things (IoT). Currently, many companies are aware of IoT, but haven’t yet explored the possibilities of an expanded Internet. As a result, several businesses are not operationally or organizationally ready to employ IoT. However, Gartner predicts that companies will be using 2014 to prepare for IoT by utilizing data centre resources, adopting a variety of data management software, and ensuring the right employee resources are in place. IoT is not restricted to any particular industry, and with the advent of massively connected devices, businesses now have access to more information than they actually act on. Gartner’s prediction focuses on the “opportunity to build applications and services that can use that information to create new engagement models for customers, employees and partners”. This means that IoT is set to become more user friendly and accessible – so you had better start preparing for it.
  5. Software Defined Anything: Gartner predicts that software spending will increase by 25% in 2014. Software-defined anything (SDx) is a collective term used to define the growing market momentum for software systems that are controlling different types of hardware. More specifically, it’s making software more “in command” of multi-piece hardware systems and allowing for software control of a greater range of devices.

Reviewing the five top IT predictions listed above, there appears to be three things in common; businesses will need to manage a vast amount of data, businesses will need a reliable Internet connection, and businesses will need to act fast. So if you haven’t solidified your 2014 IT plans, or if you have – and it doesn’t include at least one of the items listed above, then it’s time to hustle.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

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