Over the past two years, IT departments have faced numerous unprecedented challenges. The rapid shift to remote work is chief among them.
However, as we progress through 2022, employees are no longer working from just their homes; they are working from everywhere. Hybrid work is becoming the norm, and with that comes significant challenges for IT Managers and departments.
Issue 1: Security — IT departments will face numerous challenges over the coming months as businesses worldwide continue to adapt to our new normal. The largest of those concerns will be security. Not only the physical security of IT assets like docks and displays but data security. With many employees now wanting to work from anywhere and 90 percent of businesses willing to keep remote work as an option post-pandemic, data and hardware security will be critical.
When StarTech.com, like many other businesses, was forced to move to a remote model, successful implementation of VPN-only access and multifactor authentication reduced the burden of this change and ensured that the business was not at risk of a security issue. With less staff in the office, spread in some cases across the world, cybersecurity risk becomes even more of a threat in 2022 and beyond. It is essential to educate your employees regularly on cybersecurity risks and how to avoid them.
Issue 2: Supportability — Companies, regardless of size, will face continuous challenges in 2022 and beyond as they adapt to support the different types of situations that remote, hybrid and in-office workers will encounter. Offering driverless solutions for peripherals such as docks, multiport adapters, and other essential accessories will ease the burden of help desk staff. In addition, IT departments will need to provide hardware and software tools to their teams that can be serviced, regardless of location. For hardware, supportability is optimized by keeping your entire workforce on the same make and model of laptop, dock, display, etc.
While there will be users who may have different needs, such as Graphic Designers or Videographers, the number of issues faced by the help desk will be reduced, and the service required will be limited over time due to the similarity of each user’s setup. The continued push toward software as a service, or SaaS, is essential regarding software supportability. While also subject to a degree of risk, Cloud-based applications provide a more stable, seamless and scalable approach during implementation and day-to-day operation.
Issue 3: Performance — A scenario all too familiar to help desk and IT staff alike is that despite providing your teams with the most performant laptops, your help desk team is bombarded with a steady stream of support tickets reporting performance issues experienced by employees. This can be mitigated by outfitting your teams with performance-focused accessories like Thunderbolt docking stations, which will utilize the laptop’s graphic capabilities rather than rely solely on processing power and RAM. Performance-focused accessories will provide a better user experience, increase productivity and free up IT staff for more critical tasks.
Issue 4: Adapting the Office — Maintaining the technology in meeting rooms and coworking spaces have always been a conundrum for IT departments, and as we come out of this global pandemic, that challenge remains but with new complications. Meeting spaces have sat dormant for nearly two years, while the technology used by those who will need these rooms as we return to the office has accelerated at a rapid pace. The previously mentioned supportability discussion applies here as well. Many businesses feel the pressure to outfit boardrooms as “Zoom Rooms” or “Teams Rooms.”
While this may suit your direct workforce, these proprietary solutions can be problematic when collaborating with outside companies or individuals who will inevitably use different platforms. A more sensible approach is to equip your meeting spaces with a modular and customizable boardroom table connectivity box containing a wide array of ports, independent of any proprietary hardware and software solutions. Connecting their laptop to this type of room solution is now second-nature to employees who have become accustomed to selecting a webcam, microphone and speaker (or headset) when working remotely.
IT departments need to modernize these spaces to accommodate new technology, but there is also a need to adapt these spaces to accommodate hybrid workers appropriately. Today’s office will continue to see remote workers, and meeting rooms need to account for that by creating a seamless experience for their teams, no matter where they are.
Issue 5: Competition for Employees — As a result of our new highly mobile and hybrid working environments, new opportunities will be presented to employees that previously did not exist. Allowing your teams to work from anywhere widens the geographical area considerably for someone considering a job change. With a larger area for one to consider, the likelihood of losing team members to another employer is growing dramatically.
This potential challenge for leaders does offer potential positives by expanding your available talent pool through the inclusion of remote workers. Of all potential staffing-related issues, the most significant concern to the IT Department and its leaders will be highly specialized roles related to IT infrastructure, cloud computing and the like. Demand for these roles has always been highly competitive, making the recruitment of qualified employees a challenge. With increased demand due to the pandemic, IT departments will face challenges filling open roles or expanding their teams for the foreseeable future.
Image credit: fizkes/depositphotos.com
Walter Tora joined StarTech.com in 2017 as the Chief Information Officer. Prior to joining StarTech.com, Walter served as the Vice President of IT consulting where he provided strategic advisory, project management, and interim IT leadership and services to mid-market clients. His expertise includes improving business and IT alignment through effective IT Governance and supporting enterprise growth and decision-making by leveraging technologies such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Business Intelligence/Analytics.