Digital tools are the lifeblood of the modern organisation. No matter what sector you operate in, or how big or small your company is, you undoubtedly rely on a conglomerate of different technology solutions and hardware to operate your business. From cloud solutions to laptops, we all need technology to grow our organisations.
The thing about technology, though, is that the pace of change is undeniably fast. The tools that were cutting-edge last year aren’t the latest or greatest anymore. To keep up with the competition, and ensure you’re empowering your employees to work at their best, you need to ensure that you’re staying up-to-date with the latest technology trends.
One of the best ways to do this is to conduct a year-end technology review. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is a Year-End Technology Review?
A year-end technology review is an annual analysis of how technology is being used in your company. You’ll look at the tools that are working, the solutions that are underperforming, and challenges your employees face that technology could help to solve.
Ideally, you’ll have a strategic IT plan in place before you conduct a year-end technology review. This plan sets out long-term goals for the use of IT in your organisation, ensuring that you make sound, business-focused decisions, rather than adopting tools haphazardly. If you’re yet to put a strategic IT plan in place, speak to us. We can help with creating a plan and conducting your annual technology reviews.
How To Undertake an Effective Year-End Technology Review
Below, we’ll look at the steps you should take to conduct an effective year-end technology review. These are the steps we take for our clients at a high-level. Naturally, there are nuances within every organisation, so the above steps are just an overarching guideline, rather than prescriptive.
If you’d like support with a year-end technology review, we’d be happy to help you enter the new year confident that your technology is optimised.
With that in mind, here’s the typical process:
Gather Feedback From Employees At Every Level In The Business About How Technology Is Or Isn’t Working For Them
Your people are likely to hold the most valuable feedback about the technology solutions you’ve implemented in your company. After all, they use these tools day in, day out! While you might think to only discuss technology with managers and fellow leaders, we recommend speaking to employees at all levels. This way, you’ll get a clearer, more accurate picture of how technology is or isn’t serving your company.
There’s no one way to gather feedback. You could use online survey platforms, paper questionnaires or even in-person interviews. Some questions we typically ask include:
- What applications do you use the most and the least?
- Which are your favourite applications and why?
- Which are your least favourite applications and why?
- Are there any tools you wish we had that we currently don’t?
- Are there any tools we have that you rarely/never use?
- Do you regularly perform any manual, admin-heavy tasks? Please provide details?
- Have you received any phishing emails recently?
- What communications channels do you use the most for communications with employees and clients? Why is this/are these your preferences?
Carry Out A Vulnerability Scan And Penetration Test
A vulnerability is a security flaw within your IT infrastructure. Threat actors can exploit these flaws to break into your systems, launch a malware attack or steal sensitive information.
Vulnerabilities are an inevitable part of using IT infrastructure. Regularly, hardware and software vendors release vital security updates to fix these patches – but some may go amiss. This is why regular vulnerability scans and annual penetration tests are important.
As part of your year-end technology review, we recommend you hire experts to carry out an in depth, manual penetration test for you. These tests are different to vulnerability scans. Scans are fast, automated and prone to false positives. While they’re a good maintenance procedure, they don’t provide the level of assurance that penetration tests do.
Penetration tests, by contrast, are time intensive and thorough, meaning they’re great to use as part of a year-end technology review to gain an accurate picture of your cybersecurity posture.
is a security weakness in your IT infrastructure that malicious actors can exploit to steal data or launch a cyber-attack. Your year-end technology review should therefore include a vulnerability scan or penetration tests to discover such flaws so they can be remediated.
Vulnerability scans and penetration tests require specialist skills, so you’ll need to bring in expert IT specialists to run these tests for you. Ideally, you should carry out a vulnerability scan every month as a maintenance procedure. These automated tests are quick to do and require little human intervention.
Alongside this, we advise carrying out a penetration test each year for a deeper exploration of potential vulnerabilities that an automated scanner might miss. The results of the test can then inform your IT strategy for the next year.
Review The Findings And Make A Plan
The findings from your employee surveys and penetration test can now be used to make necessary improvements to your cybersecurity posture. Often, this means adopting new tools and letting underutilised ones go, as well as remediating any issues discovered within the penetration test.
Ready For Your Year-End Technology Review? Let Us Do The Hard Work For You!
Connected Platforms is a managed IT service provider serving businesses in and around Brisbane. We offer 24/7 strategic security and business IT support.
Contact us to get started!