It's hard to believe that 2022 is nearly here. With a new year upon us, we start thinking about our business goals, business planning, and budgets. Now is the time to start planning your business technology for next year so you can hit the ground running and make it the best year yet for your business.
We’re going to take a look at our top technology tips for business and how you can create the best business setup for 2022 – that is to say, the most secure, flexible and cost-effective setup for you.
Our first technology tip for businesses is to budget for new desktops or laptops. If you didn't know already, Microsoft is releasing a brand new operating system in October 2021. Check out our rundown of Windows 11 and how it will benefit businesses on our blog.
If your business has older PCs or laptops, then it might be a good time to think about buying new devices with Windows 11 installed on them. You can't underestimate the difference that buying new and faster computers will make to your team.
Many small businesses buy laptops and PCs as and when they need them, resulting in devices being a mix of different makes, models and ages. Consistency can have a big impact; everyone will have the same 2022 technology if you replace all of your computers simultaneously.
If cost is a concern, you could always take out a hardware lease. These allow you to pay for your devices monthly and are a much more efficient way of buying hardware.
Move to Microsoft 365
Have you already moved to Microsoft 365? If you have, great! If you haven't, then 2022 should be the year that you make the jump. Microsoft 365 provides your business with a brilliant and cost-effective email system.
It will also provide a cloud-based storage system for your files and folders, meaning you'll be able to access that wherever you are in the world (as long as you have an internet connection). Whether you often travel or have adopted a mixed home and office working style, the flexibility of Microsoft 365 and 2022 technology can help keep your business in top shape.
If you're currently using servers in your office to provide email, files and folders, then you'll be able to get rid of these, thereby minimising your risk and reducing your costs.
If you’re using Microsoft 365, buying new devices (as we recommend) and setting them up has never been easier. You can unbox them, switch them on, and enter your work email addresses and passwords to install all of your business applications and settings automatically. Brilliant!
Have a look at our blog post on Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 for more information about why Microsoft 365 is a great platform for businesses.
Implement Microsoft Teams
My next technology tip for businesses in 2022 is to embrace and fully implement Microsoft Teams in your business.
Microsoft Teams comes as part of the Microsoft 365 license. Unfortunately, many businesses still don't use it, and those that do only use a small part of it. This means they aren’t getting the best from their investment.
What Is Microsoft Teams?
Well, it's lots of things. Teams is a:
- Video conferencing solution - it could replace Zoom in your business, for example. In an age where people work more from home than ever, quality video conferencing is an essential tool.
- Fully functional telephone system – a great technology tip for businesses is that if you have an old-fashioned, clunky telephone system, you can replace it with Microsoft Teams and even keep your existing phone numbers.
- Instant messaging service – you can chat to any of your Teams members or people outside of your organisation using its chat function.
You can also integrate your favourite business applications into Microsoft Teams, so you are working in one place. But at the heart of Microsoft Teams is a function called ‘teams’.
So what is a team? According to Microsoft, a team is 'a collection of people, content, and tools that work together to produce a business outcome for your company'.
Within a team is another function called ‘channels’. This is where you can break things down further.
You can add many specific functions to channels - calendars, to-do lists, document shares, for example - and you can even open them up for external use with customers or partners.
For example, your business might have a marketing team. Everyone in the marketing team would have access to see what has been posted and collaborate on it. Within that team, they could have various channels; they might have a channel each for social media, video marketing, and telesales.
Teams is a blank canvas; you can configure it how you want it and how your business will get the best from it. However, as a technology tip for businesses, it's an absolute must for 2022 technology!
Move Applications to the Cloud
My next technology tip for businesses to have a more flexible and cost-effective IT setup for 2022 is to move any applications you might use to the cloud.
Running servers in your office can be cumbersome. You’ll need backups, additional power and support for those servers. It can also be a big capital outlay when you need to replace those servers after around three to five years. Ask yourself, does your business still need a server?
You can move your applications into the cloud using Microsoft Azure. This means you're effectively renting computing power rather than buying it outright. It is cost-effective, and again, you'll be able to access your applications much more easily when you're working from home. In addition, your data is actually more secure when saved to the cloud than on physical servers.
Double up on Cyber Security
My final technology tip for businesses in 2022 is to double up on your cyber security. This might be our most important recommendation of them all. If you only take note of one of our recommendations, it should be this one.
Businesses have never faced a more aggressive and relentless onslaught of cyber-attacks, resulting in significant financial losses and reputation damage. 92% of all UK businesses have suffered some form of cyber-attack in the last twelve months, with 40% of them losing more than £50,000.
So what do you need to do? Here are my six top tips for 2022 technology:
- Do an audit on all of your business applications and implement two-factor authentication where possible.
- Make sure you have a robust business continuity plan in place for all of your business data.
- Upgrade your anti-virus software so that it includes ransomware
- Ensure that all of your devices are regularly patched – see our blog post for best practices in patch management.
- Train all of your staff on cyber security, so they become cyber-aware.
- Take your business through an independent security assessment, like the Cyber Essentials framework.
Our expert team is well-versed in providing businesses with IT support and consultancy services. If you’d like to discuss technology tips for businesses for the new year and how to help your business prosper in 2022, please get in touch today.