Back about a decade ago, I often found myself relating to the Wizard of Oz when it came to resolving issues that plagued the operating system of the day, Windows XP and Server 2003. Even though technology had come a long way from the good old days of DOS and Windows 3.1, it was still pretty easy to troubleshoot problems on XP and Server 2003. The general public, however, generally had very little technical knowledge, so they saw me as a Techno-Genius. A wizard. In reality, though, when users applauded me for “getting it working again” I knew I was just the man behind the curtain, pulling a couple of levers and pushing a few buttons. Truth be told, business systems back then were pretty simple if you understood the foundation of how they worked; the rest was just finding the right levers and buttons.
Fast forward to today, where business systems are much more intuitive, complex, and vital to everyday living and, especially, to businesses. At the same time, users have evolved, too, and, in addition to possessing customized smart phones and tablets, they also possess a higher level of understanding of what technology is capable of doing. Because they understand more, they expect more.
It’s quite clear: the unparalleled speed with which technology has progressed in just ten years presents both challenges and opportunities for IT companies. Let’s explore this.
The greatest challenge for IT technicians today is operating in a world where a business’s functionality is inextricably linked to IT. Downtime used to be seen as an annoyance; today, however, it’s viewed as a disaster. Quite frequently in today’s small and medium businesses, if a server goes down, the entire operation grinds to a halt.
Other challenges are just as confounding. Back in the day, an occasional virus or bad Windows patch would knock out a system for a while. However, that was rare and it typically required only wizardly pulling of the right lever to get things back on track. Today, we’re dealing with so much more: cyber security threats are everywhere and ever-changing, compliance laws and regulations are becoming much more strict, auditors and insurance adjusters are becoming more and more critical of business IT systems, and end-users expect everything to integrate into their latest smartphone. IT companies and technicians now have to think in a much larger context than ever before, all the while staying up to date on the latest gadgets, operating systems, and other trends.
But with challenges comes opportunity. As was already mentioned, businesses today rely completely on technology to function. That has compelled us to come up with a better way to manage IT systems – and the industry has responded. Today, instead of sitting around like the Maytag Repairman and moving only when something breaks, we’ve pioneered a more proactive approach, called Managed Services. With this model, resources are invested in boosting “uptime” by creating more robust back-up and disaster recovery systems, such as TNSC’s StoreIT. In the old days, it would take hours to restore a file from a tape backup, and days to restore an entire server. Today, businesses can’t and won’t wait that long; StoreIT allows for files to be restored in minutes and servers to be restored in just a couple of hours (and shorter in some circumstances).
Constant increasing cyber security threats has also created the need for much more proactive IT security management practices and policies. To address this threat, TNSC has developed a managed security service called SecureIT, designed around a security model known as “defense in depth,” in which multiple layers of security measures are deployed to prevent, catch, shutdown, clean and inoculate against security threats.
It’s indisputable that in the past decade Information Technology, especially in small and medium business, has evolved to where it’s now more critical than ever to ensure the confidentially, integrity and availability of all business systems and data. Our continuing challenge will be to stay ahead of the curve in what is sure to be further evolutions in technology.