2020 put a lot of stress on IT departments with companies shifting to remote work. Some companies have tried to go back to the office only to return home, while others are scheduled to work remotely until later in 2021. Needless to say, empowering a remote team is a challenge every CTO or CIO is facing in some capacity. Now is the time to see how this shift has impacted your company’s technology toolkit, budget, and security.
1. Shadow IT is happening, whether you like it or not
We saw many companies push forward to innovate and release new features throughout 2020 aimed at remote productivity. If your employees were new to remote work, trying out one or two (or several) of these tools to create a work from home rhythm was enticing.
Some of these software programs, like Tables from Area 120 by Google, can only be accessed with a Google account. Other apps can be accessed through any email, Facebook, or another system that IT does not have control over or visibility into. Be sure your employees are signing in to these programs with their work Gmail, not their personal account.
On top of signing up for tools with the wrong account, most people opt for speed and efficiency when working on the go, rather than following the correct procedure. Set up easy and efficient ways for your team to request new tools. This way they can access what they need fast, rather than waiting for approval, getting impatient, and then signing up for the tool on their own with their personal account, risking security and data management.
2. Budgeting your IT tech stack can be easy if you keep it simple
Besides the security issues shadow IT causes, adding more technology to your team’s library is costly. Some departments may be accustomed to using a certain messaging or video conferencing application, but if it’s a duplicate, it should be downsized or removed. A simple Form or Sheet for department leaders to fill out all of the tools their team is using is a great way to get a gut check on what tools your coworkers are using.
From there, you can parse through what tools perform essentially the same function and trim down products. Allocating budget for every department will look a little different, especially based on team size and function, but consolidating the whole company with fewer duplicate systems will save the company money overall.
When reviewing subscriptions, weigh the flexibility of the contract timeline with the necessity of the tool. 2020 has taught us that nothing is certain and to expect the unexpected, but it’s also taught us that some things will not change. We still need to communicate with coworkers, so email, chat, video, and phone systems are absolutely necessary. Sure, a one-year contract may seem like a better option now because of its flexibility, but not if this is a tool you’re going to need for the next few years, regardless of where your team works. The long-term contract will save you money and give you a sense of stability for the years to come.
3. Security should be top of mind throughout the organization
Everything from signing in to systems to paying vendors can be intercepted easier when you have remote workers. Implementing something like Two-Step Verification, Google’s form of multi-factor authentication, from the top down will empower every employee to be security-focused. Additionally, creating security checklists for teams to go through when they’re requesting new tools can help them be an informed buyer when shopping for software.
Access is another important part of security. Be sure the right people are accessing the tools they need to be set up for success and that others, who shouldn’t see sensitive data, are not allowed to do so. Creating a tech stack library that all employees can reference to see what tools the company has access to, what that tool’s functionality is, who is approved to use it, and who to contact for more information about the tool is a great place to start. Creating a culture of transparency around your tech stack will empower everyone on your team to be technology-focused, secure, and innovative.
Resources for technology leaders are readily available
Whether you’ve been in this role for years or you’re new to tech, one thing is certain: there are more resources available than ever to help you do your job. Wursta is here to help you navigate those resources as well as be a partner in growth. Let’s connect to discuss the best way to optimize your role as a technology leader at your company.