A World Class Company: Today’s IT World, Tomorrow

18
Aug
Steve Ross

Written by Steve Ross, 18 August 2016

In the latest blog for his World Class Company series, Shackleton's very own M.D., Steve Ross, reflects on the changing relationship between Business, IT and You...

Looking down from the 17th floor of my hotel room to the streets below, my head fills with questions. Where are the people going? Who are they going to meet? What business deals are going to be cut today? The mind races…you want a glimpse into the future.

I was in Chicago recently for a business trip and had these thoughts. I then thought about the world where Shackleton lives. The world of technology; the fast-paced changes that are going on and how things may look in the future. We can say with certainty - the world of IT is never dull.

Subconsciously I had been looking and listening all around me. What are the changes that are happening in our industry? I had noticed a few things over the past six months - areas of IT that are starting to have a major impact on our lives and others that have been here a little while and are slowly becoming the norm.

The Cloud

It’s here; everyone’s using it or are they? The Cloud has impacted on all of our lives whether we know it or not (think online banking). Some people I speak with don’t understand the cloud, don’t want to understand the cloud or totally embrace the cloud. Here at Shackleton, presently we don’t see a lot of our clients embracing the cloud 100% for all of their IT infrastructure. Mostly we see what is called a “hybrid” IT infrastructure setup. A typical example would be utilising Office 365 in the cloud but having an on premise server to deal with other business applications or data. We know that every business is different and has their own requirements. Ensuring your IT infrastructure fits those requirements is key.

In a sense, the Cloud is no longer the “new thing” and is becoming the norm. I can see a time where everything is in the cloud and having these discussions regarding servers sitting in your office would seem old-fashioned. I don’t have a crystal ball but we see more uptake year-on-year. Take data backup for example. The amount of data being backed up in the cloud off premise compared to a few years ago is incredible. This will only continue as tapes and other data media become obsolete.

IT Security

The biggest growth area in IT. It’s the topic that everyone’s talking about. The IT industry, big business, governments, our clients, everyone. Every conference I’ve been to over the past year whether here in the UK or in the States, the most time devoted to keynote speeches and presentations is IT Security.

Here at Shackleton, we’ve seen the bad side. We’ve dealt with the bad side and it’s not good. Securing your business data for any management team or Board should be the top item on your “to do” list regardless of the size of your organisation. We’ve seen money being taken out of business’ bank accounts, ransomware demands and staff being duped into providing information through emails thinking it’s coming from a senior member of staff. The only thing to do is to ensure that you are protected the best you can. We have adapted our security offerings around this area by implementing a multi-layered approach for our clients. But sometimes it comes down to people. People are the weakest link in the chain. They need to be educated regarding the dangers. Providing this training can save a lot of heartache for an organisation.

It’s time to take IT Security seriously. No – very seriously. This subject literally changes by the week but if you can get the basics right, you can reduce the risk.

Big Data

A buzzword just now but as I alluded to in a previous post, it’s been around for a long time. It’s basically large volumes of data that a business has and the art of disseminating this data to understand trends, patterns and other forms of analysis. It helps hugely with decision-making.

Big Data ties in with the Cloud and the internet. Advances in technology have meant that small companies have access to information and to computing power that previously only big businesses had. We see this ourselves as we are able to drill down on the types of work we have carried out for a client over a certain period of time. We can see the areas of their IT infrastructure that we have worked on and we can then look to see what we can improve. It’s a win-win for both of us as we reduce the time we are working on any particular problem with new technology that further protects the client.

Through time, I would imagine that IT companies like Shackleton will become more involved with the business applications that run a company. Not just from “are they running properly” perspective but possibly where we provide the resources to assist with multiple forms of business analysis. Maybe we have started the process already. We recently employed a Network Analyst whose role is to ensure that our clients networks are standardised and they have implemented our best practices that protect their business.

Maybe we then move to providing further internal data for our clients. Is this where Big Data is heading for us?

Internet of Things

I see it slowly creeping into everyday life. I recently bumped into a friend at Birmingham Airport and I noticed his hand luggage. My phone battery was dying and I needed a charger. Guess what - my friend’s bag had a phone charger on the top of it. Not only that, it also remotely locks your luggage from your phone and also has GPS which can track your suitcase anywhere in the world. I thought it was cool! You probably don’t realise that the Internet of Things is all around you until you really look.

I don’t see the Internet of Things, having a huge impact on what we do as an IT support company day-to-day just yet. But it does tie in with IT Security. Implementing IoT devices within your business can leave you at risk if the device is compromised. Examples such as wireless security alarms may require our assistance in working hand-in-hand with the provider and the client. This type of arrangement will surely impact on what we need to know and help our clients with.

All I know is IoT is an area that we need to be aware of and how it fits in with our clients’ business. We need to capitalise on the opportunities that it brings.

The Future

I’m now on the ground looking up. Things look different down here. I notice how fast people are moving. This is real life. I look up past the 30 storey building and beyond and see the sky. I see a cloud imagining it had big data written right across it.  I laugh. Up there I also see IT Security and the Internet of Things. They’re all linked. It’s the internet.

The four areas of the Cloud, IT Security, Big Data and the Internet of Things are here to stay and will develop further in the near future. It will be very interesting to see how they impact further on our clients business and how we will support them.


Can we support your business throughout technology changes? Get in touch with us today...

 

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