How much can you handle? You’re about to find out

Marc Thaler

So you think you’re busy now? In the giving spirit of the holiday season, here’s some free advice: Rest up between now and New Year’s, if possible.

Once the ball drops, your next 12 months will likely look like this:

juggling

Maybe that doesn’t seem like a departure from your current day-to-day routine. Wearing many hats, and juggling a variety of jobs, is often a requirement for in-house IT pros. If this is you, hopefully 2014 provided ample time to master the art of multi-tasking.

Your on-the-job training will be tested in 2015.

“IT departments are going to get even busier,” LOGICnow Security Lead Ian Trump says. “The pressure will be on to maintain operational efficiency, but at the same time handle new services and new devices that need to be added to the networks they look after.”

Of course, adding more services to the network gives cybercriminals more avenues from which they can hack and attack. For this reason, IT pros must remain diligent when it comes to guarding against data breaches.

Your network, Trump says, “is going to be under attack.” IT admins can expect to see a rise in the number of patches and vulnerability updates required to protect their networks, which underscores the need for a comprehensive service that automates the process.

At the heart of this busier, faster-paced 2015 is the “Internet of Things” (IoT) – the interconnectivity of web-enabled devices. Yahoo Finance reports that we’re about to embark on a 10-year stretch when business opportunities around IoT are projected to boom:

“The Internet of People runs to billions of devices already. The Internet of Things will involve ubiquitous smart objects that sense and communicate directly over the Internet creating better data without human intervention. Its time has come because there are now enough IP addresses available for tens of billions of items, hardware costs are now affordable and large companies are backing it.”

An increased IoT presence in the workplace will directly impact how corporate networks are managed. The test for IT pros, Trump says, will be meeting the demand while adhering to a budget that is limited in flexibility.

“You have to maintain the same levels of service and take responsibility for the Internet of Things,” Trump says.

And that’s without factoring in the burden IT typically shoulders for policing the likes of voice over IP (VoIP) phones, alarm systems, workstations, laptops and employee’s personal mobile devices.

Searching for the silver lining? While you’re about to face new challenges, you can apply a practice that is tried and tested: Prioritize the projects you deem most important to the livelihood of your business. Address those issues first.

“2015 should be about focusing on what the business needs and not getting distracted with the ‘nice-to-haves,’” Trump says. “Keep the critical business systems running, the email system operational, the database secure. Clean up the shared drive that could be archived.

“Now, you have less data to worry about.”

And, with any luck, perhaps you’ll have a little less juggling to do.