Top 8 Tech Challenges Facing Businesses in the North East of England

Top 8 Key Tech Challenges for Businesses in the North East of England At a Glance…

  1. Cyber Security Threats
  2. Infrastructure Management
  3. Data Management and Analytics
  4. Keeping up with Technological Advancements
  5. Talent Acquisition and Retention
  6. Ensuring Compliance with Regulations
  7. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

How does Your Business Use Technology?

As a business in the North East of England you are part of a commercial culture, steeped in industrial heritage and brimming with entrepreneurial spirit. We have already looked at some north east based businesses and how as they have embraced technology they have risen to become market leaders and innovators (read post HERE). If you want to embrace digital transformation to remain competitive, you must face a unique set of technological challenges. Everything from ensuring robust cybersecurity to managing IT infrastructure can impact efficiency, productivity, and growth. This post delves into the top eight tech challenges facing businesses in the North East and offers insights into how you can address them effectively.

1. Cybersecurity Threats

Increasing Cyber Attacks

Cybersecurity is a critical concern for businesses in the North East (read our previous post on this HERE), as cyber threats continue to grow in sophistication and frequency, and often lead to massive losses in both data and money. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are particularly vulnerable due to limited resources and often inadequate security measures. Common threats include phishing attacks, ransomware, and data breaches, which as well as significant financial losses can irreparably damage your reputation.

Addressing the Challenge

To combat these threats, businesses need to adopt a multi-layered security approach. This includes implementing firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems. Regularly updating software and conducting security audits are essential practices. Additionally, training employees to recognize and respond to phishing attempts can significantly reduce the risk of cyber-attacks.

A little self-serving perhaps, but you could also hire the services of a north east MSP (managed services provider), leaving you free to concentrate on running your business, knowing your cyber security issues are taken care of. 

2. IT Infrastructure Management

Complexity and Maintenance

Managing IT infrastructure is a complex and ongoing challenge (and often overlooked to the detriment of the business efficiency and productivity). As a business owner you must ensure your hardware and software is up-to-date and functioning efficiently. This includes maintaining servers, networks, and data storage solutions. For many SMEs in the North East, the cost and complexity of IT infrastructure management can be overwhelming.

Addressing the Challenge

Outsourcing IT management to a reliable Managed Service Provider (MSP) can alleviate the burden on internal teams. MSPs can provide comprehensive services, including monitoring, maintenance, and support, ensuring that the IT infrastructure operates smoothly. This allows your business to focus on its core activities without worrying about IT issues.

3. Cloud Migration and Management

Transitioning to the Cloud

The shift to cloud computing offers numerous benefits, such as scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. However, migrating to the cloud and managing cloud services present significant challenges. Your businesses must ensure data security, maintain compliance with regulations, and manage cloud costs effectively.

Addressing the Challenge

A well-planned cloud migration strategy is crucial. This involves selecting the right cloud service provider, ensuring data is securely transferred, and setting up robust access controls. Continuous monitoring of cloud resources and costs can you’re your business optimise its cloud usage. Engaging with an experienced MSP can also streamline the migration process and provide ongoing cloud management support.

4. Data Management and Analytics

Handling Big Data

In the digital age, data is a valuable asset for businesses. However, managing and analysing large volumes of data can be daunting. Companies need to store data securely, ensure its integrity, and extract actionable insights to drive decision-making. For many businesses in the North East, lacking the tools and expertise for effective data management and analytics is a significant challenge.

Addressing the Challenge

Investing in advanced data management solutions, such as data warehousing and business intelligence tools, is essential. These tools can help your businesses organise, analyse, and visualise data, making it easier to derive insights. Additionally, hiring or training staff with data analytics skills can enhance the ability to leverage data for strategic decisions.

5. Keeping Up with Technological Advancements

Rapid Technological Change

The pace of technological advancement is relentless, and keeping up with the latest developments is challenging for many businesses. Whether it’s adopting new software, integrating artificial intelligence, or utilising the Internet of Things (IoT), staying current is crucial for you to maintain a competitive edge.

Addressing the Challenge

Businesses should foster a culture of continuous learning and innovation. Regularly attending industry conferences, participating in webinars, and subscribing to tech publications can help you stay informed about new trends. Partnering with technology consultants or MSPs can provide additional expertise and guidance on implementing the latest technologies effectively.

6. Talent Acquisition and Retention

Shortage of Skilled IT Professionals

Finding and retaining skilled IT professionals is a common challenge for businesses in the North East. The demand for experts in areas like cybersecurity, cloud computing, and data analytics often exceeds supply. This talent gap can hinder your company’s ability to innovate and grow, especially in a crowded marketplace.

Addressing the Challenge

To attract top talent, businesses should offer competitive salaries, opportunities for professional development, and a positive work environment. Collaborating with local universities and tech programs can also help in sourcing skilled graduates. Additionally, providing ongoing training and career progression opportunities can enhance employee retention. Even with this, recognising exactly what to look for in a tech employee can be a challenge all on its own. Partnering with a reliable MSP can also solve this problem.

7. Ensuring Compliance with Regulations

Navigating Regulatory Requirements

Businesses in the North East must comply with various regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and industry-specific standards. Ensuring compliance can be complex and time-consuming, particularly for SMEs without dedicated compliance teams.

Addressing the Challenge

Implementing a compliance management system can streamline the process. This includes keeping abreast of regulatory changes, conducting regular compliance audits, and maintaining detailed records. Engaging with legal and compliance experts can also provide valuable insights and support in navigating legal and necessary requirements.

8. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Preparing for Disruptions

Unexpected disruptions, such as cyber-attacks, natural disasters, or system failures, can have severe consequences for your business. Ensuring business continuity and having robust disaster recovery plans in place are critical to minimising downtime and data loss.

Addressing the Challenge

Developing a comprehensive business continuity plan involves identifying critical systems and data, establishing backup solutions, and conducting regular disaster recovery drills. Using cloud-based backup and recovery solutions can provide added resilience. Partnering with an MSP that offers disaster recovery services can also ensure swift recovery and continuity in the face of disruptions.

How well are you facing the top 8 business tech challenges? 

Businesses in the North East of England face a range of tech challenges that require strategic planning and proactive management. By addressing cybersecurity threats, managing IT infrastructure, embracing cloud computing, leveraging data analytics, staying updated with technological advancements, attracting skilled talent, ensuring compliance, and preparing for disruptions, businesses can navigate these challenges effectively.

Partnering with experienced MSPs and technology consultants can provide valuable support and expertise, enabling your business to focus on growth and innovation. As our beautiful region continues to evolve and grow, overcoming these tech challenges will be crucial for businesses such as yours to thrive. 

If you would like to see how partnering with an MSP managed services provider can help take your business to the next level, click HERE and one of the InfraZen team will be happy to help. 

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