Holiday Housekeeping for a Happy New Year

Happy-Holidays---IT-PlanningSo it’s not yet Thanksgiving, and I am hearing Christmas music on the radio and seeing holiday displays and reminders that I have not done enough Holiday shopping yet. It’s the annual reminder that if you have not finished planning for 2018, you should be getting close.

After some thought and reading, I thought I would share what I view as some things every IT shop should be thinking about for 2018, and beyond. This not a list of the shiny new technologies; this is a list of the solutions that customers are focusing on and need across all verticals.

#1: Security – If you have not been hit even in a small way by the latest virus/malware/ransomware, you are likely very well prepared and diligent or lucky. Either way security needs to remain a focus for the coming year. If you have not had a posture assessment yet, you should think about it. As a security friend of mine said, “It’s not just pen testing anymore.” Also look at Identity Services and managing/controlling access to your environment, they are already very critical and will remain so. Finally, endpoint protection for all devices is and will remain paramount for 2018. The bad guys are not resting for the holidays and attacks will only get more subtle and sophisticated in the New Year.

#2: SD-WAN – Tied to Security, but a much broader topic is SD-WAN. In case it has not come up in conversation, the software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) is a specific application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology applied to WAN connections, which are used to connect enterprise networks – including branch offices and data centers – over large geographic distances. The top use cases for SD-WAN are VoIP, MPLS / IP VPN Replacement, Configuration/Management/Visibility. If you are thinking about cross site VoIP, moving critical apps or Voice services to the cloud then you should be looking into SD-WAN.

#3: SaaS – For now let’s say that this stands for “Something as a Service.” In the past 2 years as a service models have become reality and now easier to consume, manage, and gain true value from than ever before, and the trend will continue. I am not recommending your business move everything to the cloud, but have a strategy to move “what makes sense.” There seem to be a good number of stories of the “cloud boomerangs” where companies go too much/too fast into the cloud and end rolling some piece of their infrastructure back onsite. For 2018, do an assessment of you apps and infrastructure and build a strategy that makes sense for your business. It could be Backup or Disaster recovery only but get started. Also, what does “make sense” mean? It means Look at the real cost vs. benefit, and be sure you look at TCO/ROI. If you have not had one, get or perform an assessment of your IaaS opportunities and build a plan. Finally, be sure security and disaster recovery are part of that, do not assume that just because something is in the “cloud” that it is secure and backed up. Yes, this applies to O365 as well.

#4: End of Year Housekeeping – If you have a lull at the end of the year, use it wisely and get a good snapshot of your infrastructure and team. Do you really have a solid inventory? Do you know what is under support, and when things are going End of Sale or End of Life? If you don’t, you need to so that you have the data on hand to talk about #1 through #3. Also look at your team’s skillsets. Are they fluent with Rest API’s, Python, and cloud models and cloud security? If they are not, start building some roadmaps to get them more fluent. Free cloud instances and free online trainings for Python and Rest API’s are great place to start.

#5: HAGH – Have a great holiday and we look forward to seeing you again soon!

 

Noel-Barber-11Noel Barber is a veteran of the IT industry and serves as the Vice President of Professional Services at ABS. In addition to staying on top of industry trends and changes, Noel works to ensure ABS continuously brings the best technology solutions to our clients.