As the calendar is set to turn, businesses should be shoring up their end of the year items, and getting their plans in place for moving forward to 2015. For IT Managers, this means there are a number of different tasks and items to check off the list. They must ensure a company’s immediate IT needs are being met while also planning ahead for what’s to come in the next year. Let’s take a look at some of the top preparation items on an IT Manger’s List:
- Eliminate Systems or Hardware that Have Reached End of Life
This is item number one on the list for a reason. Support for Windows XP has already ended. Support for Windows Server 2003 is ending this July. If your business is still running any of these systems—or using other hardware or software that is no longer supported—you need to immediately have an upgrade plan in place. Running on systems that are no longer supported will not only affect your business’s performance, but they will also present security risks.
- Get Your Licenses and Support or Warranty Contracts in Order
The end of the year is a great time to take inventory of your business’s software applications and other hardware or IT equipment. Find out when licenses or contracts are set to expire in order to help plan your budget to pay for renewals. If there your time and resources allow for it, an IT Manager can also begin to evaluate the effectiveness of certain software or hardware that have warranty or license expiration dates coming up soon. This way, your business can make educated decisions about either renewing them or possibly exploring other options.
- Check up on Your Industry-Specific Requirements
Depending on your company’s industry, you may be subject to annual audits or need to file annual reports in order to maintain compliance with industry standards. Even if your business does not have a pending audit, the end of the year is a good time to perform an internal compliance audit to ensure your business is up to code. This would apply to standards such as PCI, SOX, HIPAA or any other federal or private regulations.
- Conduct a Network and Security Scan
2014 was a year filled with many high-profile security vulnerabilities, so information security is a high priority for IT Managers in 2015. Performing a security scan for your company’s network, applications, website and any other systems will allow you to proactively address and potential vulnerabilities. It is also important to scan your network for performance to determine any opportunities to have your company’s infrastructure running faster and more efficiently.
- Perform Capacity Planning
Do you plan on growing your business significantly in the next 1-5 years? If so, now is the time for your IT Manager to start planning for that. You will need to evaluate the physical space of your business as well as analyze certain data like usage rates both in terms of your network and internet as well as other items like electricity and heating and cooling. More users mean more workstations, more network usage and more power for accommodating new hardware. Plan accordingly to ensure that your IT infrastructure growth matches that of your forecasted employee growth.
- Plan Your IT Budget for 2015
The last (but certainly not least) item on our top six list concerns your company’s IT budget. As you plan for all of the aforementioned items on this list, fitting them into your budget is a primary concern. A network assessment might reveal that you could use some new hardware to keep you running faster, but that hardware will come with a price tag. When formulating your budget, it is also highly important to determine how much money you will set aside as “emergency” funds in case something in our IT environment needs to be replaced unexpectedly.
These are just some of the many items IT Managers need to think about to get ready for 2015. What are some other ones that come to mind? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Have questions or concerns about your IT planning for 2015? Contact us today to speak with an IT expert.