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Category: IT Consulting

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No matter what industry you’re in, effective IT management is critical to your organization’s success. Day-to-day operations hinge on having an accessible, reliable, and secure IT infrastructure. A failure in just one area can have severe repercussions for your business in terms of productivity, profits, or reputation. Achieving peak performance from your IT systems means more than just investing in the latest technology or services. Forward-thinking companies recognize the importance of having a future-proof IT strategy in place, and both co-managed and fully managed IT services can provide an effective solution for your business.  

So what’s the difference between co-managed and fully managed IT?

Having co-managed IT services will complement your company’s existing IT department and shares responsibility for infrastructure management. An effective provider brings expertise and a wide variety of experience with situations that your in-house team may not have been exposed to. In this collaborative model, your provider shares reporting, pre-configured management and automation tools, documentation, and processes that enhance your in-house team. Co-Managed IT is ideal for organizations looking to augment their existing IT capabilities and team, for businesses seeking help with a transition, and those that require more flexible resource allocation.  

A Fully Managed IT service provider assumes all responsibility for managing, monitoring, and maintaining your company’s IT infrastructure, removing the need for an internal IT department. An advantage to Fully Managed IT is that it provides a single point of contact for your business, eliminating the responsibility of maintaining vendor lists, negotiating pricing, and evaluating technical capabilities for hardware and software purchases. With strategic, long-term planning, your service provider will make sure that your technology can scale as your business grows, and that systems are optimized to support your business goals. Ideal for smaller companies, a Fully Managed service allows you to focus on your core business, and cuts the costs associated with employee training, salaries, benefits, and office space. IT expenses are predictable and can be budgeted for with Fully Managed services, reducing costly surprises.  

Shared Benefits of Co-Managed and Fully Managed IT Services

Proactive Maintenance and Updates – Your service provider will ensure that your network and infrastructure are always up to date and that new technology is integrated seamlessly. As a strategic partner, they can offer unbiased advice about technology upgrades and investments to better support your business goals. The service will also take a proactive stance, actively monitoring and addressing potential IT issues before they escalate.  

24/7 Monitoring and Compliance – Around the clock monitoring means problems are identified and resolved promptly, reducing the chance of downtime and lost productivity. A Managed Service provider will implement robust cybersecurity measures and data recovery planning to ensure business continuity in an emergency. For clients operating in industries with data compliance requirements, a provider will make sure standards regarding privacy, reporting, and security are strictly followed.  

With technology evolving at an accelerated pace, effective and efficient IT management is more important than ever. Both Co-Managed and Fully Managed IT offer distinct advantages and the choice depends on your organization’s unique needs, goals, and existing infrastructure. Whether you opt for Co-Managed or Fully Managed IT Services, your provider will ensure that your technology is up-to-date, secure, and aligned with your organizational objectives. 

If you’re still not sure what option is best for you, let’s talk! We’ll meet your company where you are today, and help you grow.  

Architectural firms have unique IT needs, and rely on specialized software and applications, large data storage, and seamless connectivity. Employees working in-office and remotely need to be able to access, share, and collaborate on files, blueprints, schematics, and 3D models. Managing your network infrastructure can be a time-consuming and complex task, and unforeseen IT issues can have serious consequences in terms of diminished productivity, disrupted deadlines, data loss, and compromised security.  

Managed IT services can provide myriad benefits for architectural firms.  

Customized IT Solutions 

Every architecture firm is unique and IT needs may vary. In an industry that requires highly specialized software, large file storage, and CAD support, a Managed IT services provider with experience in the field of architecture and building design is invaluable, offering custom tailored solutions to meet your firm’s specific needs.  

Streamlined Operations

The architecture industry demands precision and efficiency. By outsourcing IT management, firms can streamline operations, reduce downtime, and ensure that teams have access to the resources they need. This translates into greater efficiency and allows architects to concentrate on their core competencies without getting bogged down by IT issues. 

Enhanced Cybersecurity 

Protecting sensitive client information, intellectual property and proprietary design plans is essential to your business. Managed IT services provide robust cybersecurity measures, including firewalls, antivirus software, and threat detection monitoring, ensuring that valuable data is secure. 

Proactive Maintenance and Support 

Rather than waiting for issues to arise, a Managed IT services provider takes a proactive approach to maintenance and support. Regular system updates, software patches, and preventative measures will be implemented to address potential problems before they impact daily operations. Round-the-clock monitoring means issues are addressed promptly, minimizing downtime and providing a stable and reliable IT environment. 

Cost-Effective Solutions 

Managing an IT department in-house can be financially burdensome, particularly for smaller architecture firms. Managed IT services offer a cost-effective solution, with a predictable payment schedule, your business can budget effectively, strategically allocate resources, and avoid unexpected IT expenses.  

Improved Communication and Collaboration 

Architectural design demands effective collaboration. Managed IT services ensure that your team has access to seamless communication tools, file-sharing capabilities, and real time collaboration platforms, whether working in the same office or remotely. 

Data Backup and Recovery 

It goes without saying that data loss can have devastating consequences for architectural firms. Managed IT services include comprehensive data backup and a robust recovery strategy to protect critical files and avoid disruption to operations.  

Compliance and Regulation 

Following regulations regarding client confidentiality and data privacy is essential for architecture firms, both to meet legal obligations and maintain client trust. Managed IT service providers understand industry-specific compliance standards and will ensure that your business adheres to them. 

An efficient, secure, and accessible IT system is critical to your company’s success and effective management and monitoring is an often-complex task. Among the many IT challenges architectural firms face is integrating the latest technology into existing infrastructure, performing proactive maintenance, and ensuring security, compliance, 24/7 monitoring, and ongoing management. This is where Managed IT services can help, by providing customized, comprehensive IT solutions that allow you to focus on what you do best and position your business for success. 

In this technology-driven landscape, businesses rely on their IT infrastructure to function efficiently and effectively. Organizations large and small face the same complex challenge: how best to maintain IT infrastructure, ensure security, and stay on top of technology trends. The decision comes down to two options: in-house IT teams or managed IT services.  

Here’s why managed IT services may be the best choice for your business. 

IT Expertise and Specialization

Managed IT service providers are experts in their field. By outsourcing IT management, you gain access to a team of professionals with diverse skills and expertise in IT infrastructure, cybersecurity, software, and hardware. The collective knowledge and experience of an IT management team makes them better able to troubleshoot issues, provide timely solutions, and implement the latest technologies. 

IT Cost Efficiency

Building and managing an in-house IT department is expensive. The costs associated with hiring, salaries and benefits, training, and retaining IT staff, as well as investing in hardware and software, can strain your budget. Managed IT services typically offer cost-effective, scalable solutions, with predictable pricing that allows you to pay only for the services you need.

24/7 Monitoring and Support

IT issues don’t always happen during business hours. Your business must always be operational, and downtime can be costly. Managed IT service providers offer 24/7 support, ensuring that your systems are continually monitored for potential problems. Having a team available round-the-clock will ensure that issues are resolved swiftly, minimizing disruptions to your business operations. 

Proactive Maintenance

It goes without saying that preventing IT issues is usually less costly than dealing with the aftermath. Along with monitoring to identify potential problems before they impact operations, managed IT services provide proactive maintenance, applying software updates, patches, and security measures to keep your systems running smoothly. 

Security and Compliance

As cyberattacks become ever more sophisticated, businesses face a greater risk of data breaches. Managed IT service providers stay on top of the latest cybersecurity threats and will implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect your business. They’re also well-versed in industry-specific regulations and will ensure your business complies, protecting you from potential legal issues. 

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Managed IT services provide robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans. They’ll ensure that your data is regularly backed up and can be quickly recovered in the event of an unexpected catastrophe, minimizing disruption to your business operations. 

IT Scalability

Managed IT services are flexible and scalable. They can adapt to your business’s changing needs, whether you’re expanding, downsizing, or implementing new technology. Businesses are not static; they grow and evolve and your IT support should grow with you.

Focus on Core Business Competencies

By outsourcing your IT needs, your business can concentrate on its core competencies. Rather than getting bogged down with IT issues, your company can direct its energy toward innovation, product development, marketing, and serving your customers. Using a managed IT service allows you to allocate more time and resources to what you do best.

Access to the Latest Technology

Managed IT service providers stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements. They can recommend and implement innovative solutions to give your business a competitive edge and improve efficiency. This access to cutting-edge technology is a significant advantage in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

Peace of Mind

Having a team of dedicated experts handle your IT infrastructure will provide peace of mind. Knowing that your systems are monitored, maintained, secure, and optimized for your business means you can focus on your business goals. 

Managed IT services provide a range of advantages for businesses large and small. They are cost effective, offer 24/7 support, and focus on proactive maintenance, allowing your company to focus on its core business. With scalable solutions and access to cutting-edge technology, they’ll ensure that your business can grow and remain competitive. You’ll have peace of mind, knowing that your managed IT provider is focused on security, data backups, and has a business continuity plan in the event of a catastrophe. In today’s constantly evolving digital landscape, trusting a team with expertise and experience to manage your IT infrastructure is a strategic choice that will enable your company to thrive. 

In today’s fast-paced digital world, technology is the driving force behind organizational success. A well thought out IT strategy can be a game-changer, propelling your business to new heights. Conversely, neglecting your IT systems for too long can be a costly mistake, leading to a host of problems, from security vulnerabilities to operational inefficiencies. The good news is that it’s never too late to turn things around.

Here’s how to revitalize your IT strategy and get back on the right track.

Assess Your Current IT Landscape

The first step in reviving your neglected IT is to conduct a comprehensive assessment. Take a hard look at your existing IT strategy–infrastructure, software, hardware, and documentation. What’s working, and what isn’t? Where have you fallen behind in terms of technology adoption or innovation? Identify areas of weakness, potential security risks, and technical debt. This assessment will serve as the foundation for your IT revitalization plan.

Develop a Clear IT Strategy

Now that you understand the current state of your IT, it’s time to chart a course for the future. First, define both your short-term and long-term objectives. What do you want your IT infrastructure to achieve, and how does it align with your business goals? Next, create a strategic plan that outlines your IT goals, budget, and timeline for improvements. This plan should align with your organization’s overall objectives, ensuring IT supports your business rather than hindering it.

Prioritize Cyber Security

Neglected IT systems are often vulnerable to security threats. Start by assessing and shoring up your security measures. This includes updating software, implementing strong passwords and two-factor authentication, and educating your employees about cybersecurity best practices. Consider bringing in a security expert to perform a thorough audit and make recommendations.

Upgrade and Modernize

Outdated hardware and software can slow down your operations and hinder productivity. Prioritize replacing systems that are outdated and eliminating those that no longer serve your organization’s needs. Determine which technologies will help your business operate, encourage innovation, and drive growth, and allocate resources to modernize your IT infrastructure. Invest in technologies that will streamline operations and empower employees, boosting both efficiency and effectiveness. This may include migrating to cloud-based solutions, mobile technologies, virtualizing servers, or updating legacy applications. 

Implement IT Management Tools

Every area of your organization–from finance to procurement to HR–is affected by IT management, and effective management requires the right tools and processes. Start by identifying pain points and inefficiencies so you have a clear idea of what you need from your IT management software. Engage with your stakeholders about what functionalities they would like to see included. Then you’ll be able to research and invest in IT management software that will monitor and maintain your systems effectively. These tools can provide real-time insights, automate routine tasks, and alert you to potential issues before they become critical.

Build a Skilled IT Team

IT neglect is often due to a lack of expertise and/or manpower. For businesses that don’t have the resources or desire to hire a full team of IT professionals, outsourcing IT management can be a cost-effective solution. Consider hiring IT professionals who can either support your internal IT team, or fully manage and maintain your systems, and keep your business safe from cyberattack. 

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Backup and disaster recovery are critical components of IT management for many compelling reasons. Data is often a company’s most valuable asset and losing it can have serious consequences, whether it’s customer files, financial data or intellectual property. A data breach can also erode customer trust and damage your company’s reputation.

Downtime can be costly. When an IT system fails, your business can’t operate effectively. Backup and disaster recovery solutions are designed to minimize downtime and swiftly restore systems, reducing lost productivity and revenue. Whether data loss is due to human error, natural disaster, or hardware or software failure, comprehensive backups allow your business to quickly stabilize, minimizing the impact. 

Don’t wait until data loss or a system failure occurs to recognize the importance of a backup and disaster recovery plan. Establish procedures and test your disaster recovery plan to ensure that your data is secure and recoverable in case of a catastrophic event. There are expenses involved in setting up and maintaining a robust backup and disaster recovery system, but the potential savings in the event of a disaster far outweighs the cost. 

User Training and Support

Your employees are a crucial part of your IT ecosystem. Provide ongoing training to ensure they’re equipped with the right skills, and understand how to use IT resources efficiently and securely. Collaboration and communication across all levels of your organization is essential. Make sure that every department understands the role IT plays in achieving business objectives, and empower your IT professionals to take the lead in executing your strategy. Establish a helpdesk or IT support system to address employee concerns and troubleshoot issues promptly.

Review, Maintain, and Adapt

Reviving your neglected IT strategy is not a one-time effort; it’s an ongoing process. Make sure you schedule regular maintenance and monitoring of your IT infrastructure. Perform updates, patches, and security scans as needed to keep your systems up-to-date and secure. Regularly review your strategy and assess its effectiveness. Stay informed about emerging technologies and trends, and be ready to adapt your IT strategy accordingly. Continuous improvement is essential to avoid falling back into a state of neglect.

Neglected IT systems can be a significant liability, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent setback. By reassessing your strategy, defining clear objectives, prioritizing security and training, and embracing new technology, your organization can get back on the right track. Invest in skilled personnel, a robust backup and disaster recovery plan, and IT management tools or services and you can ensure that your IT infrastructure becomes a valuable asset that furthers your business goals. In the ever-evolving world of technology, adaptation and resilience are key to long-term success. Implement a well thought out IT strategy and watch your organization thrive.

Need help getting your IT strategy back on track? Get in touch with our experienced team or connect with us below to start the conversation.

Remote Readiness in the 2020’s

The arrival of our new decade — and the pandemic that came shortly after — changed where and how we all work. That change came far more rapidly than any of us could have imagined.  

While the businesses with mature IT systems were able to weather the storm with relative ease, many businesses with less mature IT systems were forced to make drastic changes without being afforded the luxury of time to research and plan for the transition.  

As a result, many businesses were effectively forced to overpay for IT solutions that didn’t quite suit their needs.  

What is IT Maturity?

IT Maturity is about how effective and efficient a company’s IT systems are in relation to their people, products and processes. A company who follows best practices, understands the full landscape of their IT systems, and regularly invests in their technology would be seen as having mature IT systems.  

How To Be Remote Ready

At Nessit, we take remote readiness extremely seriously. As the IT partner for each of our clients, we are only as successful as our least successful remote team.  

Having successfully managed this transition to remote work for countless clients and for Nessit itself, we know a thing or two about remote readiness.  

For example, we helped a client with a desktop-only environment develop a mature IT system tailored to their specific needs which would allow for secure remote access into existing desktop infrastructure.  

This enabled the client to save ~$30,000 in upfront capital expenditures and a further ~$2,000 per month in recurring management costs. Over the course of the next 5 years, that amounts $150,000 in cost savings for a system that perfectly suited their needs.   

Another client had an IT system set up to accommodate team members working onsite from two separate offices. This client had no plans to move towards remote work; as such, they had previously been putting most of their IT budget towards on-premise enhancements.  

We were able to help them seamlessly transition to 100% remote work with minimal additional upfront capital expenditures by guiding them towards long-term cloud-based investments in their IT systems to allow for enhanced current and future use.  

For those unaccustomed to managing a remote workforce or simply seeking to streamline an immature or bloated incumbent IT solution, preparing for remote work — or even knowing what questions are most important — can seem like a daunting task.  

Here are the questions we ask when helping any company find the mature IT solution that best suits their needs for remote work. Asking these questions is a great place to start to ensure your team remains productive, efficient, streamlined, and collaborative, so that your business can weather any storm.  

Can I Run My Business Remotely, Today?

The first question is to determine which of the following three categories your business currently falls within.  

  • Assumptive Yes: We planned for this! We still have some questions, but are feeling confident. 
  • Maybe?: Some staff may be able to work remotely, but many are not. We’re not totally sure.  
  • Not Even Close: Remote work doesn’t fit our business model. 

If your organization is a maybe, or a not even close, ask yourself the following questions: 

Have I determined which staff members or roles can work remotely, those that can’t work remotely, and those where remote work might be possible with some changes? 

These will depend on your business and your employees. There are solutions available that allow for almost anyone to be able to work remotely, but given other business considerations, they may not make sense for you.  

Does my team have a plan in place to address systems and equipment needs of employees who may not be set up to work from home? Can employees use their personal computers?  

A great rule of thumb here is to refer to your office IT policy. If employees are not currently allowed to use personal devices on the company network, it shouldn’t be allowed at home.  

Does my team have a secure, unified video conferencing & collaboration platform to use?  

Which functionalities are “nice to haves” and which are “can’t function without it?” 

It is important that employees are able to collaborate as easily when remote as they were when it was as simple as popping into a neighboring office. The functionalities your business will need for that may be unique; seeking input from key employees can be very useful here.  

Will my company data be safe outside the office? Have we implemented two-factor authentication for sensitive applications? 

Do all devices that will be used remotely have the latest version of their operating software, security software, and line of business applications?  

Do my remote employees have access to and know how to use a business grade VPN? Have I purchased enough licenses for all the employees working remotely?  

Has my team been educated about being aware of phishing and other attacks that may take place?  

Does my company have a plan in place to regularly check in with remote staff to confirm they’re comfortable working remotely and have the tools they need?  

Unfortunately, the malevolent actors out there only become more and more sophisticated. It’s important to ensure employees are up to date as well, because the consequences of a breach can be quite severe. 

If you are in an industry with higher than usual security requirements, making sure you understand and currently comply with those requirements needs to come first and foremost.  

Each organization needs to determine what level of security is right for them in order to adequately protect company data when employees access it and work on their home WiFi, in coffee shops, and in public workspaces.  

For some organizations, Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are a sufficient solution when paired with two-factor authentication. Other organizations with more stringent security requirements may need device level software firewalls and/or intrusion detection and centralized reporting.  

Have I ensured there are backups of our servers  so staff can keep working when extra network traffic causes primary servers to go down? Do employees know where to backup data to ensure business continuity in the event of device failure.  

No one ever plans on a network going down or devices failing, but even so, the consequences of not being prepared for these contingencies dwarfs the cost of putting them in place.  

Does my company have guidelines in place for remote employees, including proper use of company assets and security guidelines? Does my team know about them?  

If you are only beginning the transition to remote work, such guidelines may not be formalized. Formal guidelines will provide employees with clarity about what is and is not acceptable and very well may help preempt major headaches down the road.  

Is my IT infrastructure and network designed to handle increased remote traffic?  

While your network may seem to be working just fine when everyone is onsite, changes in the demand placed on your network by a remote workforce can impact the overall functionality of your network.  

For example, when everyone is in the office, there are no restrictions on download or upload speeds. But for remote employees, the best possible download speed becomes limited to the speed of an office file upload.  

Even if fractional differences in speed don’t seem that significant, employees cannot possibly be as efficient as they could be if they are constantly waiting for things to load.  

That can be exacerbated when there are numerous programs running that occupy significant RAM. If an employee has Zoom, Teams, Excel, and other role-specific software constantly running, that employee may be spending a lot more time twiddling their thumbs than we’d like to realize.  

Have I reviewed and confirmed that existing policies and customer agreements allow us to work remotely when feasible, prudent, and contractually admissible?  

So, are you Remote Ready?

Download our checklist to share with your team.

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For your business to stay competitive, establishing an effective and efficient IT budget is essential. It goes without saying that your business depends on technology to survive, but your budget is also a tool to optimize available funding and allocate it in a way that supports your overall IT strategy. Budgeting effectively will save time and money spent on unplanned IT needs that inevitably arise in the absence of a transparent and well-thought-out plan. The process of creating a budget should help you identify deficiencies and reduce waste, as well as forecast, prioritize, and justify strategic IT expenditures. Your budget shouldn’t just be an IT “wish list.” It should serve as a blueprint to ensure funding for initiatives that align with your company’s long-term goals. 

So how do you go about creating an IT budget? 

Identify Your IT Inventory

Efficient budgeting begins with a comprehensive assessment of your current IT resources, including an inventory of hardware, software, network infrastructure, services, subscriptions, and staffing. Identifying your existing resources (along with your technical debt) is fundamental to budgeting for the future. Previous budgets can serve as a baseline and a tool–learn from the past, but don’t be afraid to make changes to support evolving business goals.  

Set Clear IT Objectives

Now that you have a clear picture of what you have to work with, it’s time to establish your IT objectives. What do you want your technology to achieve in the coming year and beyond? Your objectives might include enhancing cybersecurity, upgrading hardware, improving customer support systems, or implementing new software. A careful examination of previous years’ budgets likely brought to light areas of overspending and technical debt. Setting clear objectives will make it easier to trim fat and allocate funds more effectively.  

Prioritize and Justify IT Initiatives

Which IT investments are essential and which are nice-to-haves? Are there significant projects in the coming year that require technology upgrades or additional IT support? Spending should be prioritized to reflect the objectives you’ve set. Be prepared to clearly communicate your IT strategy, its impact, and the projected ROI of your initiatives. Present a cohesive plan and be able to articulate how your proposed budget will support overall business goals.  

Allocate Resources To IT

Divide your IT budget into categories, beginning with ongoing expenses. This should include the following: 

  1. Hardware: servers; computing equipment, for in-office and remote workers; and network infrastructure
  2. Software: subscriptions, licenses, and support contractss
  3. Personnel: both employees and outsourced staff, and expenses related to recruitment
  4. Security: cybersecurity should be a significant component of your IT budget. Security threats are ever-evolving, so allocate funds for regular security assessments, employee training, and the implementation of robust security tools. 
  5. Training: employee training is often the first thing to go when budgets get cut, but knowledgeable employees are essential to maximize the value of your tech investments.  

Your project-specific expenses should also be outlined in the same way, including any consulting fees, contract staff, and administrative costs, along with additional office space, hardware, and software required. Be realistic about costs and allow some wiggle room for unexpected expenses that may arise. Identify future investments needed to support your overall IT strategy. Leave room in your budget for scalability, including necessary upgrades and expansion of IT support staff. 

We coach our customers on the 2-3% rule for IT budgeting. If you are trying to maintain a steady state, budget 2% of your top line revenue to go toward IT. If you are looking to grow, changing business strategies or preparing for a large change in your company, budget 3%. Of that 3%, ~50% should go toward managed services and labor and ~50% on cloud licenses, your internet service provider and new hardware. 

Leveraged Managed IT Services

Outsourcing some of your IT needs to managed IT service providers can help control costs and ensure you have access to expert support when needed. Proactive monitoring and network maintenance will reduce unexpected spending and provide peace of mind.  

Budgeting for IT isn’t just about managing expenses. It’s about investing strategically to drive business growth and improve efficiency. Your budget ensures that your technology aligns with your business goals. A well-structured IT budget is your roadmap, and a vital tool for success in the digital age. 

It’s essential that engineering firms stay on top of the latest advances in technology while addressing security concerns and other challenges unique to the industry. So, what IT issues and trends should engineering firms be thinking about in 2024? 

Integrating AI  
Artificial intelligence continues to transform the engineering industry, and companies who effectively leverage the technology have a clear competitive advantage. Its most common current usage is in gathering and analyzing vast data sets at superhuman speed. While its ability to identify patterns and detect anomalies within millions of data points is impressive, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that AI is a tool, not a one-size-fits-all solution. In this use case, success depends entirely on the quality and quantity of data input to train the algorithm.  

AI has been used widely to aid engineers in designing complex systems. A clear advantage in AI’s ability to rapidly simulate and test systems is that it nurtures human innovation. This potentially gives engineers the freedom to be more creative and to “fail” more productively. Ideally, AI will complement, not replace, humans in the workplace–performing menial tasks efficiently and fostering a culture of experimentation that leads to new ideas and inventions. Generative AI is here to stay, and as more firms embrace the technology its full potential will emerge. 

Reducing Technical Debt 
As your company grows, new tools and software are added to better help employees do their job. But it’s easy to lose track of which department uses which software and many companies end up buying multiple unnecessary licenses. Reducing your technical debt means consolidating these tools, finding more efficient technologies, and ensuring you are running the latest version of each. 

Technical debt is a business risk and it’s important to take a close look at your technology to find inefficiencies. As your tech stack grows, so does the likelihood that something will fail or become a security risk. Adopting newer, better technology will reduce overall costs, improve workflow and limit security risks. The more efficient your tech stack, the more likely you’ll stay on top of required updates to keep you and your staff safe. 

Internet of Things (IoT) 
In an environment increasingly driven by connectivity, the Internet of Things (IoT) has profoundly impacted the engineering industry. As the market expands, so does demand for expertise in the field. Device integration requires infrastructure solutions that facilitate the collection and transmission of data, and its processing for practical use.  

The ability to gather real-time data from an array of interconnected devices and sensors has given engineers unprecedented insights into systems, structures, and processes, allowing them to optimize operations and predict maintenance needs with greater accuracy.  IoT technology facilitates rapid testing and prototyping, giving engineers the ability to quickly iterate and refine designs. Preventative maintenance can be highly targeted, addressing issues before they become critical, and reducing downtime.  

IoT also plays a pivotal role in sustainable engineering. The proliferation of smart building systems that can adjust lighting, heating and cooling based on occupancy and environmental conditions has led to significant gains in energy efficiency. The demand for “green” technology in residential, commercial, and industrial settings will only continue to grow. Whether it’s optimizing traffic flow in smart cities or designing efficient supply chain networks, IoT insights enable engineers to make data-driven decisions that lead to better solutions. With applications for a wide spectrum of industries, from medicine to aviation to city power grids, IoT will continue to evolve in 2024. 

Prioritizing Cybersecurity 
Cybersecurity tops the list of challenges for engineering firms, and adopting a proactive approach to threat detection is crucial. As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated, the risks and potential consequences become more severe. Strict access control is essential to reduce risk and ensure that only authorized personnel can access critical systems and data. Multi-factor authentication and role-based access controls should be used to limit permissions.  

Regular software updates and patch management are important to limit vulnerability to cyber-attacks, and sensitive data should be encrypted when in transit or at rest. Network security should include a robust firewall, intrusion detection system, and intrusion prevention system, and regular updates to policies and configurations to stay ahead of emerging threats. A proactive approach to cybersecurity should include regular audits and vulnerability assessments to identify and mitigate weaknesses in security. 

Lastly, businesses need a comprehensive incident response plan that outlines the steps to take in a cyber-attack. The plan should include roles and responsibilities, communication protocols, and strategies for minimizing downtime. Cybersecurity is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment to safeguarding digital assets in a landscape of rapidly evolving threats. 

Addressing Remote Work Challenges 
Remote work has become a defining aspect of the modern workforce and though many companies have encouraged a post-Covid return to offices, a hybrid model will likely be the norm going forward. Along with its numerous benefits, remote work presents unique challenges for IT for engineering firms.  

First, collaboration is at the heart of many engineering projects, so investment in up-to-date infrastructure that includes collaborative tools and video conferencing is crucial. Regular check-ins and team meetings will help maintain community and create a virtual environment where ideas can be shared seamlessly. 

Ensuring that remote employees have secure access to software, data, and computing power is the second crucial component of the remote work puzzle. Engineering firms have increasingly implemented cloud-based solutions and the use of VPNs, as well as providing home-based workstations that can run resource-intensive applications.  

The third challenge to remote work is ensuring privacy and security. Giving remote workers access to intellectual property and sensitive client data means strict cybersecurity protocols must be in place. Training in best practices, secure password management, and avoiding phishing attempts should be mandatory for all employees. Remote work is here to stay and engineering firms that embrace it with strategic planning will be positioned for long-term success.