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Whether your organization has its own internal IT team, or you contract out to external IT service providers or a tech consulting firm, fulfilling a business’s IT function has never been more complex. IT management providers are tasked with delivering agile and robust tech solutions within continually squeezed IT budgets, against a problematic backdrop of ever-increasing cybercrime and security threats. Here are three of the biggest ongoing challenges we see IT consulting firms and in-house IT teams facing in the coming months.

  1. IoT security. As businesses connect more and more “smart” devices to their networks – from factory sensors to office lighting and heating control systems – the threat of a cyberattack via the “Internet of Things” (IoT) becomes ever greater. Recent research by Forrester revealed that 82 percent of organizations struggle to identify and secure network-connected devices, and many are unclear who holds responsibility for managing the security of such devices.
  2. Legacy systems. IT service providers come across this problem both with larger, well-established businesses using outdated or obsolete hardware and software, and in smaller businesses and start-ups who may have opted to purchase pre-owned or repurposed tech in an effort to save costs. In both cases, the result is the same: systems or applications that are no longer updated or supported by their manufacturers, which absent the necessary security patches and updates can leave organizations vulnerable to cyberattacks.
  3. Upskilling and retraining. This is particularly an issue for in-house IT staff. There’s an attitude or assumption in many organizations that IT professionals should be responsible for their own upskilling and retraining to ensure their skill set is up to date. Unfortunately, in the highly complex tech landscape of the 21st century that’s practically impossible – especially alongside the challenging day-to-day demands on tech staff. The reality is that businesses need to make time and budgetary provisions to ensure their in-house IT staff’s skills are up to date. They can do that with the help of online courses and tutorials for Java and other programming languages, that include details about hashmap java or similar data types, for instance. An alternative solution is to outsource to an external IT management provider, thereby reallocating this responsibility – and its associated costs – to the contractor.

The past few years have been tough for IT consulting firms and in-house tech departments alike, and we don’t see this easing off in 2018. For both businesses and IT service providers, it is more important than ever to think strategically and wherever possible invest in keeping your hardware, software, and your employees as up to date as possible.