In today’s dynamic cybersecurity environment and considering IT hardware shipping delays, businesses must have an IT strategic plan and budget in place to safeguard their data, make necessary IT updates, and equip their organizations for growth.
What’s your plan?
Too often, organizations make just-in-time IT break-fix decisions. A security threat prompts the need for a more robust end-point detection system. A new, large account requires escalating hardware and software to leverage the opportunity. Software licensing updates fall through the cracks and the business can’t keep up. Too much time is dedicated to help-desk-oriented IT issues, so IT strategy is pushed to the back burner.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
Unfortunately, a lack of IT strategic planning and budgeting can result in damaging cybersecurity threats, outdated hardware, and simply not enough earmarked dollars to address vital IT needs sufficiently.
Let’s discuss what is involved in an effective annual IT strategic plan and how to get your business on track to ensure IT security and prepare for future growth.
Cybersecurity Planning & Insurance Requirements
Cyber criminals continue to evolve and attacks are increasingly sophisticated. Businesses must have an endpoint detection response (EDR) system in place to protect endpoints including desktops, servers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and smartwatches.
Any technology in your business environment is a target.
Even advanced antivirus software is not enough to protect all business endpoints. Because of the potential damage bad actors can inflict on organizations through endpoint targeting tactics, many insurers require EDR and two-factor authentication (2FA) for coverage. This is driven by the increased payouts to policyholders because of data breach claims.
Endpoint security safeguards all technology and information to prevent data leaks and stop hackers from breaking into your technology ecosystem. When EDR is limited to desktops and servers, businesses are vulnerable to attacks. Thoroughly assessing the entire IT environment is critical when developing an EDR system, because there is a lot at stake if a security breach occurs.
Developing a comprehensive endpoint security plan can be complex, which is why we advise partnering with an experienced IT managed services partner that can perform a technology audit to identify security gaps.
Through IT strategic planning, we also identify opportunities to enhance the way you manage and access data. For example, Microsoft Power BI business intelligence helps better protect data across Power BI reports, dashboards and data sets. So while reviewing cybersecurity and EDR systems, we might explore how an organization can benefit from Power BI dashboards that can generate customized reports based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
The bottom line is, these critical cybersecurity measures are mission critical for businesses of all sizes, and they also require an investment. This is why annual IT strategic planning and budgeting is critical. By understanding potential security gaps and essential EDR requirements, businesses can develop a practical budget that accounts for necessary technology and the nice-to-haves.
Additionally, a managed services partner like DMC that is engaged in the cybersecurity insurance world can help complete the necessary documentation for insurers to meet requirements.
Managed IT Services: How DMC Helps Your Strategic IT Planning
Just as an accountant prepares your business taxes and advises on financial matters, an IT managed services partner plays a crucial role in IT strategic planning and budgeting. Managed service providers like DMC begin by conducting a comprehensive assessment of existing IT infrastructure, cybersecurity measures, systems and software. We look at the whole IT landscape to identify vulnerabilities and potential improvements. In doing so, we consider your business goals to be sure technology investments and plans support future growth and your vision.
IT Strategic Planning: How It Works
IT strategic planning is centered on your business goals. Here are other aspects of IT strategic planning that a managed IT services partner like DMC provides.
Technology Roadmap: A managed IT service partner will identify strategic initiatives and projects that require IT support. What upgrades are required to achieve results? What existing technology is in place, and where are there gaps that must be filled to achieve desired outcomes?
IT Budgeting: After a thorough audit to assess upcoming hardware, software and other technology needs, we help build a budget so there are no financial surprises. By involving an MSP like DMC in IT budgeting, we can provide insights into cost associated with various IT initiatives. This allows you to make informed decisions and properly allocate IT dollars. While budgeting for IT needs, we also consider return on investment and your strategic objectives. This way, we can prioritize IT expenses to ensure you’re addressing the most vital technology requirements to support your business.
IT Risk Mitigation: Cybersecurity audits identify potential security risks and compliance issues within your IT environment. As mentioned, cyber insurers now require EDR systems and 2FA as a standard when underwriting policies.
Technology Recommendations: During IT strategic planning, we also explain the latest hardware, software and technology systems available so you can stay up to date with the latest innovations. We also recommend strategic IT solutions to improve efficiency, productivity and ROI.
Managing IT Vendors: With our menu of longtime technology partners, including Dell and Microsoft, we can negotiate contracts and secure IT solutions that are customized for your business. We also ensure compliance with service-level agreements.
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning: Ensuring that your IT strategy includes robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans is crucial. At DMC, we can help create and maintain these plans, ensuring that your organization can quickly recover from disruptions.
What Is Arctic Wolf? And Why Is It Important For Annual Planning?
Arctic Wolf is a cybersecurity provider that offers managed detection and response services, specifically Extended Detection Response (XDR). Basically, the hardware/software solution monitors all cyber traffic that is running through your on-premise network. It analyzes network traffic in real time using AI tools while IT professionals physically monitor your tech ecosystem for active infections and potential vulnerabilities.
If a security incident or breach occurs, Arctic Wolf’s security experts deploy rapid response services including investigation, threat containment and recovery to minimize damage. Arctic Wolf operates 24/7/365, which is essential for cybersecurity threat reduction.
DMC is an Arctic Wolf partner, and we work with them directly to connect our clients with their cybersecurity services. When you choose Arctic Wolf through DMC, you get a dedicated team and direct contact you can access at any time, around the clock. They also offer security awareness training.
As an Arctic Wolf partner, we make sure DMC clients access the best pricing and are connected with top team members to address their business’s cybersecurity landscape. Essentially, Arctic Wolf is a security operations team that a lot of businesses need but do not have in-house because of the sheer cost of employing a cybersecurity team. Arctic Wolf is an ideal fit for mid-size to enterprise businesses. Small businesses willing to invest in rapid response services also benefit from an Arctic Wolf engagement.
Dell, Cisco, SonicWall Hardware
When conducting IT strategic planning, we discuss hardware needs and gather vendor pricing to create an accurate IT budget. At DMC, we partner with reputable technology brands to offer businesses turn-key hardware, software, cloud and systems solutions.
Our strategic hardware partners include Dell, Cisco, Microsoft, Arctic Wolf, IBM, and SonicWall. Through Dell, we have tools to help size an IT environment so we can build a tailored technology solution based on data and best practices. DMC is a trained Gold Partner with Dell.
When enlisting a managed services provider for IT strategic planning and budgeting, find out which hardware brands the MSP aligns with and select a partner that gives you the flexibility to scale up and down as needed.
DMC: Your IT Budget Planning Partner – Start Now!
IT strategic planning and budgeting should be a year-round exercise. At DMC, we are constantly tracking system performance, identifying bottlenecks, and making necessary adjustments to ensure that your IT environment continues to meet strategic goals.
Ready to get started? DMC’s expertise and industry knowledge can help your organization develop and execute a robust IT strategy that drives growth and innovation. Let’s talk tech.
Posted by Greg Gomach, Business Unit Manager at
DMC Technology Group