Ring in 2021 with Improved IT

2021 can’t come soon enough for the majority of us. We are all hoping that next year will be a better one. One way to ensure you get the best start to the new year is to take the time now to review the technology in your business. These last few weeks of 2020 are a great time to look at areas you could improve to support success in 2021.

Your Online Presence

The first area we’d suggest looking at is your website. Now we don’t ‘do’ websites, but we often get asked about them as people view them as ‘part of IT’. However, you need real expertise, and we can point you in the direction of some of the best around.

An example of how your website SHOULDN'T look in 2021 - Lings Cars.
It might be famous but we wouldn’t recommend copying this design!

Your business website is you shop front. It’s where clients and prospects will go to learn more about, and hopefully buy your product or service. But many business websites haven’t been refreshed in a while. And that just isn’t good enough these days. Regardless of whether you’re selling to other businesses or to consumers your prospective buyers are making decisions about your business based on your website. If you website looks seriously dated then they are not going to believe you’re at the top of your game.

When you review your website your priorities should include:

ease of navigation – people want to be able to find things quickly, make it easy for them;

mobile responsiveness – increasing numbers of searches come from mobile devices and Google ranks sites on a mobile first basis. If you’re mobile experience is poor you will not rank well in Google;

clear Call To Action (CTA) – you know what you want people to do on your site. Make it clear to them;

visual appeal – your website needs to look good. If it doesn’t you could lose credibility;

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – you’ve got to be visible to get people to visit your site in the first place!

security – data security and privacy are at the forefront of customers minds.

Updating Your Office Environment

We might rely heavily on the internet but people will still pick up the phone and call your business. It might be a Call To Action from your website to ask them to do so. Traditional phone systems are the reliable, old workhorse for businesses. But if you’ve not updated your phones in a while you could be missing a lot of features. These can make your life easier and are expected by todays customers.

A modern VoIP phone system should be on your shopping list for 2021.

Modern digital phone systems offer a wide range of useful features. With a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system, even very small businesses can get enterprise level features.

These features include:

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems – these are the systems that ask customers to press 1 for sales, 2 for support etc. calls are quickly routed to the correct department, speeding up the process for the customer.  

Call Queuing. This helps to distribute calls internally, meaning workload is spread out and calls are answered quickly.

Call Recording can help with training and sales script development. It is especially useful for compliance in certain industries.

You can get local phone numbers – giving you a local number for an area where you may not have a physical base yet. There’s also free in-network calling – so calls between staff are free even if they’re not in the same office.

As well as looking at your phones there may still be some computers running Windows 7. Microsoft has not been updating Windows 7 since it went ‘end of life’ at the beginning of 2020. But, according to the latest available figures, 20.4% of the world’s personal computers are still running this operating system. Sticking with the old operating system in 2021 makes you vulnerable to cyberattack, and hackers know this. It should be an absolute priority to replace these machines as soon as possible.

COVID-19 prompted a move toward remote working. But many of the solutions were really only suitable as temporary solutions. It appears that we might not be back in the office full-time for several months yet. The pandemic may even have made you think that in the long term a flexible working strategy might be best for your business. Now is a great time to talk to your service provider about a cloud-based solution to facilitate your new way of working for the long term.

Making Your Business Secure in 2021

One of your main New Year’s resolutions in 2021 should be to make your business IT more secure. There are a number of simple, relatively low-cost things that you or your technology provider can do to beef up security.

At the very least adopt a password policy, and ensure employees have to change password regularly. Most people have only two or three passwords that they reuse across literally dozens of online accounts. Forcing regular password changes means that if one of their other accounts suffers a beach, your systems aren’t vulnerable due to a duplicate password.

However, introducing Multi-Factor Authentication reduces your reliance on passwords and increases your security in a single stroke. It’s the number one thing you should introduce in 2021 if you’ve not already got it.

An example of Multi-Factor Authentication your number one pick for security on 2021.

It’s also a good idea to review your backup strategy to ensure it’s still fit for purpose. Your data size might have grown significantly, and it could take days to recover files in the event of an issue. It might be time to archive those files from 2015 that you ‘might need one day’ rather than backing them up every day! Don’t just consider the backup, if 2020 has taught us one thing it’s that disasters do happen. Make sure you have really thought about how you recover quickly with a proper disaster recovery plan. Discuss this with whoever supplies your backup. You need to know how quickly you can be up and running if the worst happens.

Any slow down at the end of the year, or the beginning of the new one, is also a great time to review long-standing IT problems. Think carefully about how much productivity was lost in 2020 troubleshooting IT and aim to get those long-term issues fixed. A troublesome printer can cause hours of issues but could cost less than £100 to replace.

How We Can Help

If you’re not already partnering with someone who is securing your systems, keeping everything up-to-date, and monitoring your IT infrastructure we’d be happy to speak to you about how we can help. Put simply we make our clients lives easier. We look after the IT and allow them to get on with what they do best. If you’ve any questions book a call with one of our experts. Simply go to your-itdepartment.co.uk/lets-talk and book a 15-minute call.

You can use the same link to book a Cyber Security, Managed IT or Managed Communications assessment.