Five Tech Steps All Small Businesses Should Take To Begin 2022.

Every new year presents an occasion to assess and adjust an organization’s technology solutions. Forward-thinking firms can take advantage of the opportunity by reviewing setups, confirming equipment and application lifecycle and patch status, identifying new weaknesses or vulnerabilities and tweaking systems to optimize preparedness and performance.

Specifically, organizations can take five tech steps to best prepare their businesses for 2022.

First, firms should update equipment firmware, operating system patches and application versions to the latest production releases. Manufacturers and developers continually publish updates for everything from switches and routers to operating systems and applications, but you only receive the corresponding security fixes and performance enhancements once the patches are actually installed.

Second, assess equipment users depend upon to fulfill their professional responsibilities and the organization’s mission. Desktops, laptops, network gear and servers kept in production longer than their intended lifespans—typically three to five years—often contribute to unanticipated failures, disruptions and downtime. Regularly reviewing and replacing equipment—such as every four or five years—helps flatten technology expenses, while also minimizing outages and ensuring no equipment is kept in production too long.

Firms should review cloud solutions options and make the most of vendors’ new features, too. The COVID-19 pandemic surfaced the importance cloud solutions play assisting users working remotely. Organizations that still haven’t moved email, messaging, applications, file storage and backups to the cloud should make this third step a priority as 2022 begins.

Reinforcing the organization’s security posture is a critical fourth step. Maintaining user awareness of security best practices and dangers, and reviewing and ensuring the firm’s antivirus and network security protections remain up-to-date and effective, are additional important steps that help combat ever-growing security threats.

Last, as organization’s change and evolve, so do their backup needs. In the past, having a reliable backup was typically sufficient to cover an organization’s disaster planning needs. With the rise of ransomware infections and the widespread need to recover operations quickly in the event of crisis, however, more sophisticated automated offsite backups designed to provide ransomware-specific protection are necessary. Ensuring such reviews are completed early in 2022 helps better position businesses for future perils.