IT budgeting in 2021 is always an important topic for IT managers. From justifying investments to maximizing budget, it can be challenging to predict what the coming year will hold. With 2020 coming to a close, everyone is hoping for better days ahead in 2021. As the calendar turns over, IT managers throughout the greater Milwaukee area are looking over their IT budgets and trying to make the most of every available dollar.

From lock downs and work at home requirements, to the ever-growing threat of ransomware and cyber-attacks, it’s no secret that 2020 has thrown some curve balls – particularly when it comes to IT operations.

Ransomware became more of a serious challenge for many businesses and proactive protection is critical. Whether you want to protect your enterprise-level IT infrastructure, or that of your small business, organization or local government municipality, you need to maximize your available dollars.

1) IT Budgeting Steps to Prevent Data Loss in 2021

Losing even a few critical files could be devastating – Ontech suggests emphasizing data protection in your 2021 IT budget. Consider these data backup protection tips as you finalize your IT budget.

  • Reliability: Have a solid backup and recovery plan in place. In the unfortunate event you suffer a ransomware attack, an up-to-date, reliable backup will help you survive the attack.
  • Security: Look at the security of your local appliance. Data security is only as good as its weakest link and a thorough assessment is vital. Make sure off-site storage options are secure.
  • Off-site Retention: Check your off-site retention policies. Where you keep your backups matters. Look at how you are handling that important data.
  • Frequency: Assess the frequency of your backups and think about how far back those backups should extend.

2) Avoid Common Backup Mistakes

Sometimes what you fail to do can hurt you. Here are 4 common backup mistakes to avoid in the coming New Year.

  • No redundancy: Your backups are not redundant. Redundant backups are essential for ransomware protection, data recovery from hardware crashes and other problems.
  • No testing: Backups are not tested. If you have not tested your backups, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise when you need them.
  • Reactive instead of pro-active approach: Backup failures went unnoticed. Either in-house IT or your outsourced IT partner should monitoring your backups along with any failures so they are addressed right away.
  • Too little data: Your organization only has three days’ worth of backups. When it comes to your data, three days of backups are not enough. Look for ways to create a comprehensive data backup when building your 2021 IT budget.

3) Move to the Cloud

More than 3 out of 4 of Ontech’s server migration projects today support businesses migrating their operations to the cloud. When evaluating your IT budget in 2021, consider that cloud-based storage is simpler, more robust and far more secure than keeping your data locally.

Need a solid data backup solution? The Microsoft Cloud/Azure platform is a solid choice for businesses who no longer want or need onsite hardware. The flexibility of cloud storage is one of Azure’s best assets, with month to month and annual options along with the ability to pay variable costs based on usage.

Adding users and changing software is easy. With a cloud-based platform, you get access to the latest operating systems, along with the ability to add users any time you need.

Worried about incompatibility conflicts? With cloud-based solutions, you can spin up a virtual server in Azure to test software compatibility and ensure your software is compatible with the cloud.

If your workforce is mobile or employees will be working from home in the near future, make 2021 the year you move data to the cloud.

4) Consider IT Solutions That Support Mobility

With telecommuting becoming the norm and workers demanding mobility, IT solutions that support these changes has never been more important.

With laptop sales now exceeding sales of desktop computers, it is predicted that there could be a shortage of laptops moving forward. If your 2021 IT budget includes buying laptops, you may need to act fast.

If you are looking to improve collaboration in your workforce, tools like Microsoft Teams provide easy collaboration and support for virtual meetings.

In terms of security, mobile device management (MDM) goes hand in hand with mobility. This service is now widely available through GSuite, Microsoft and managed service providers.

Last but not least, consider incorporating VoIP solutions into your 2021 budget. With Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), every laptop or smartphone can become an office phone. This allows employees who are working from home to communicate safely without giving out their personal telephone numbers.

Mobile Security Checklist

Use this mobile security checklist to ensure compliance and secure your IT infrastructure throughout 2021 and beyond.

Building a robust, yet affordable IT budget can be a challenge, but with careful planning, you can maximize your budget and create a strong, stable, secure IT network.

If you need help with your upcoming IT budget, call Ontech Systems at 262-522-8560.

All Ontech customers receive a free IT budgeting meeting, and new customers are encouraged to contact our support team by phone or online to learn how we can help with your IT budget for the coming year.