Now is a good time to review and plan for your IT needs and budget for 2022. This article provides six tips you should keep in mind.
- Do you really need a brick-and-mortar presence?
COVID-19 has changed many things on a global basis, especially with the Remote Workforce. Given the fact that COVID variants continue to appear, and many employees prefer to work from home, now is the time to consider whether you really need a brick-and-mortar presence, if you have one. Keep in mind that the money you spend on rent could instead be used for other purposes for the growth of your company, such as Research and Development, or creating new and innovative products/services that your customers and prospects will need in 2022. Remember, you can always get what is known as a virtual office, and rent office space only as needed, for a lower cost.
- Supply chain shortages:
At one time, the thought of this would have been scoffed at. But today it is a reality. Because of the pandemic and other factors, many places are short on supplies, in many industries–one of those being IT. Now is the time to assess your computer hardware and software inventory and plan the funding necessary to keep a small surplus of inventory on hand.
- The use of the Cloud:
Because of today’s large Remote Workforce, many businesses in Corporate America are moving their On Premises Infrastructure into the Cloud, using a major platform such as that of the AWS or Microsoft Azure. Some of the main reasons for doing this are scalability, and affordable pricing. If you are thinking of migrating to the Cloud, now is the time determine how much it would cost to do a full migration. Obviously, this can be done with your IT department, but undertaking such a feat takes a lot of planning and preparation. Therefore, it is highly advisable that you hire the resources of an Managed Service Provider to do this for you. Of course, you will need to factor in these costs as you formulate your 2022 IT budget.
- Cybersecurity protection:
Every company should keep this in mind. There are many things to consider here, and an entire whitepaper could be written about this. But one of the key questions you need to ask is if you are going to continue to use your existing IT staff, or simply outsource all of those job functions to a trusted, third party. There are pros and cons to both, but keep in mind, with a full-time staff, there are salaries and benefits to be paid. But, if you hire an IT staff on a contractual basis, the only cost is the fee for their engagements. You typically hire them for a fixed term contract, and depending on your needs, you can terminate the contract early and/or bring them back on again at a later time. IT budgets could be tight in 2022, and this is one area where you could save money. As an added bonus, these contractors can also bring in their peers, who will have other areas of expertise that you can tap into. A typical example of this is the vCISO whom you can bring on when needed. Hiring a vCISO means you do not have to pay the exorbitant salary a that a full-time CISO requires. From the get-go, a vCISO can work directly with you and give you advice as to how your existing lines of defense can be further beefed up.
- Survival after a security breach:
No matter how many protective measures you take, there is always a risk that your company will become a victim of a security breach. If you are impacted, your company will experience a period of downtime until you restore your mission critical processes. Of course, during this time, you will not be generating any revenue, so as you plan your 2022 budget, it’s wise to plan for funding to get you through such a dark period. Also, you need to determine the amount of money necessary to purchase a good Cybersecurity Insurance Policy. Many insurance carriers have greatly ratcheted up the requirements for obtaining a policy, so you really need to start planning now as to finding one that will fit your needs. Also, keep in mind that getting a claims payout will take some time. This makes it is even more important to plan for a “slush fund” to keep your company going during a period of downtime, as just stated.
- The cost of Microsoft 365:
The price of Microsoft Office products has not increased significantly for several years. But Microsoft recently announced that they will increase prices starting in the spring of 2022. Depending upon how many of your employees are using Microsoft 365, the impact of those cost increases could vary. Be sure to include this factor when planning your 2022 IT budget.
These tips should provide some insight as to how to start your IT budget planning. No matter what approach you take, remember that transparency will be key, especially when requesting more money from the C-Suite. Unfortunately, budgets for Cybersecurity are still at the bottom when it comes to financial priorities in many companies. If this is true of yours, remind your C-Suite of this one thing: The cost of some extra funding is nothing compared to the cost your company will incur if it is impacted by a security breach, such as a Ransomware attack.