Here we examine the big IT issues of 2021 and how they could impact business in 2022. We review the main focus of IT conversations both in the wider community and within Net Primates. 

Hybrid Working 

Hybrid, or remote, working increasingly became the norm in 2021. As we all started to adapt to the pandemic, so businesses followed the ebb and flow by normalising hybrid working.  

At Net Primates we’ve increasingly been asked to supply IT kit that is more suited to remote working. Laptops, for example, are often now more desirable than desktop computers. We’ve seen businesses ensure that staff have a set up which is often portable, and hot desking is more commonplace. Having monitors available in different locations, to attach easily to laptops is also desirable, enabling staff to work ergonomically and efficiently whether at home or in the office. Good quality headsets and webcams are also becoming everyday items. 

The requirement for business quality printers, internet provision and telephone systems within the home setting is also increasingly requested. 

Microsoft Teams 

Teams, as it’s often referred to, has become the hybrid working software of choice for many. Microsoft have gone out of their way to bring about changes to the software at a rapid pace. New additions are added all the time allowing significant flexibility. Together mode, for example, allows meeting attendees to ‘sit’ in a virtual seat, rather than appear in their own rectangle, replicating the reality that we are more familiar with.  

As business leaders have been forced to adopt webinars, where they may previously held a conference, Teams has catered for the change. It’s now possible to host a meeting for up to 1,000 attendees with features introduced to give slicker presentations. 

With a host of other features, such as noise suppression, language translations and recording, Teams promises to be increasingly influential as we embrace online working. 

Cyber Security 

Cybercrime is now commonplace. From publicly owned organisations to sole traders and private individuals, no one is safe. Hackers strike wherever they see an ‘in’ and are unscrupulous in their targeting. Schools, universities and hospitals have been on the recent hit list, largely because their budgets are stretched so IT provision is often old and unprotected. SMEs are not safe; criminals recognise that inadequate IT Security is not unusual, and strike wherever they can. 

During 2021 we even reported on a global cyber security company that were successfully infiltrated. However, this story demonstrated how planning for attack is essential. The organisation swiftly realised that there was an issue and put their cyberattack plan in place, considerably limiting the scale of the attack.  

Our takeaway for you is to firstly ensure that you have several layers of Cyber Security in place but that you also plan for the worst; think a fire drill for a cyberattack. Staff need to be regularly trained in Cyber Security issues and understand what they need to do should they become suspicious of a potential or ongoing attack. 

Net Primates 

We were delighted with the success and feedback surrounding the introduction of Technology Business Reviews (TBRs). Carrying out proactive IT is so much more efficient for all concerned saving time, money and emergencies. TBRs haven’t taken long to carry out but have ensured that many of our customers have vital IT planning in place. Looking ahead to 2022 we want to increase the frequency of TBRs and improve interaction and reporting between yourselves and us. 

Less positive has been the difficulties we’ve had getting hold of new IT kit. The global shortage of microchips plus shipping delays (both consequences of the pandemic) forced up prices and made lead times unpredictable. Issues are still not resolved so please do place your orders early (ideally in line with your TBR), so that you are less likely to experience delays in getting vital kit when you need it. 

Cyber Security, as you’ll be aware, has been front and centre of our IT provision for a number of years, 2021 proving no exception. We’ve been, and are continuing to engage with cyber experts from around the globe and are carrying out testing and policies to further improve cyber security surrounding devices, networks, users and data.  

We’re also investing heavily in the Microsoft 365 platform in order to carry out more device management automation and compliance checking. As an example, we want to help eliminate troublesome Shadow IT. By granting access to devices that are trying to use company systems and data, we can ensure higher levels of Cyber Security for our customers. 

2022 promises to be another unpredictable year, but we’re all more aware of what we can expect and are getting savvy at managing change. If you want to take more control of your IT please do book your TBR and we’ll help you have another successful year.