How To Optimize Your IT Department

How To Optimize Your IT Department

One common challenge many organizations need help with is how to improve IT department efficiency. After all, a business is only as efficient as its IT department. 

Operational inefficiency is a significant area where businesses experience direct and indirect financial losses. While more companies are conducting their operations remotely and across unsecured home-based networks, improving IT efficiency is often overlooked.

It’s not just for convenience or reducing costs—although both may be ideal—it also matters for security reasons. From 2020 to 2021, cyberattack and data breach events increased by 15.1%, and new cyber threats are constantly emerging. If your IT team doesn’t have what it needs to operate efficiently, it won’t be able to respond to threats as they occur, leaving your business operations at a standstill until you address them.

Luckily, you can take several proactive steps to avoid worst-case scenarios and ensure your IT department operates efficiently.

Make Communication a Two-Way Street

Clear and consistent communication is critical for most workplace processes and is just as vital when creating an efficient IT department. Unfortunately, many organizations make the mistake of establishing IT departments that are siloed from the rest of the organization.

The most effective IT departments are integrated with the organization and its operations, whether in-house or outsourced. IT team members need regular updates on company goals and initiatives to inform their priorities. Those include:

  • Preparing new system frameworks
  • Setting up new accounts
  • Installing new programs
  • Anticipating the need to respond to technical issues as processes adjust

That said, communication can’t be a one-way street. 

IT departments should regularly communicate with the rest of the organization about its progress, updates and existing concerns. For example, if there are practices that are slowing down operations or creating security threats, other departments should know about them so they can course-correct. Or, if a necessary network-wide update is going to interrupt internet access temporarily, employees should know about that, too.

The benefits of strong communication go beyond efficient business operations. 

When IT is aware of your organization’s priorities and stakeholders, it can offer valuable insight into what tools or processes they could utilize to maximize ROI. Further, they could pave the way for new partnerships or solidify existing ones.

Prioritize Security Company-Wide

Cybersecurity has to be a priority for organizations. This can’t be overstated, especially when the costs of a data breach average in the millions of dollars.

That said, cybersecurity is more than vigilant IT members scanning for threats. When an IT department is constantly in security threat mitigation mode, it won’t be able to address other IT needs. Having the proper security protections in place today can protect you from disruptive interruptions tomorrow.

To keep your IT department operating proactively, ensure that the following are all part of your regular workflow:

  • Provide training for employees on cybersecurity best practices.
  • Automate security processes where possible to help detect threats early on.
  • Monitor systems regularly and adjust protections as needed to avoid future security concerns.
  • Review and consolidate software to minimize application sprawl and unnecessary security risks from programs that are no longer frequently used.
  • Verify that systems and procedures satisfy any applicable security compliance standards.
  • For faster response time, have plans in place in case a security breach occurs.

Partner With an MSP

Building a team of IT experts is easier said than done. Fortunately, managed IT service providers (MSPs) can operate as seamlessly as in-house departments while reducing organizational costs. Plus, outsourced MSPs can offer organizations access to specialized expertise as these services are built to optimize IT efficacy. 

Organizations don’t need to choose between in-house IT or MSPs, either. MSPs can supplement existing or understaffed IT departments so your in-house department can focus on more critical projects.

Here are just a few examples of services an MSP could provide for your business:

  • Penetration testing
  • System intrusion detection
  • Network segmentation
  • Employee training
  • Antivirus and vulnerability scans
  • Disaster recovery services
  • Compliance standard management
  • Employee computer workstation management
  • Help desk support
  • Software as a service (SaaS) support and solutions
  • Data storage management

Automate Rote Tasks

It’s never been easier to automate processes. Doing so frees your IT staff to focus on high-value tasks that directly benefit your business in meaningful ways.

An efficient IT department has the potential to make your business scalable. As you strategize for future growth, an optimized IT department ensures you have the resources necessary to keep up with increased demands and new requirements.

Consider automating the following:

  • Tech support requests
  • Portal for frequently asked questions and troubleshooting that employees can refer to before submitting help desk requests
  • System updates
  • Certain paperwork
  • Email and vulnerability scans
  • Any simple, repetitive tasks 

Hold Training Sessions with Non-IT Employees

Technology and security threats are constantly evolving. Even when you onboard top IT talent, a lot changes over time. For that reason, IT employees must be able to stay up-to-date on emerging trends, and organizations should invest in training opportunities to use new communication tools and procedures.

Likewise, IT departments can also benefit from creating training opportunities for employees in other departments.

You can reduce the load on your IT department by training non-IT staff on best practices. For example, consider a collaborative series on best cybersecurity practices annually to keep the organization’s sensitive information secure. For example, educational seminars on phishing scams and compromised business emails could prevent some of the most common vectors for cyber attacks.

When the rest of your staff has the technical know-how to prevent security risks, your IT department will have far fewer support tickets to wade through. As a result, your organization will become more competitive, better protected and more efficient.

Migrate to the Cloud

Gone are the days when organizations were required to house their own servers. Transitioning data storage and applications to cloud-based services can reduce server maintenance costs under the right circumstances.

This can give your organization one less IT maintenance item to worry about while granting employees access to the most up-to-date versions of applications.

Of course, security standards may dictate what kinds of information you can and can’t take to the cloud.

Use Helixstorm to Make Your IT Department a Well-Oiled Machine

At Helixstorm, we know what it takes to optimize IT. Our managed IT services provide the resources you need to help your in-house IT department run more efficiently—without sacrificing service quality or security.

With Helixstorm’s IT services, you can add multiple lines of defense for your organization, from ongoing network security management and employee training to multi-factor authentication implementation and backup as a service.

Plus, you’ll receive around-the-clock monitoring, help desk support for faster IT ticket resolution, data storage management and consulting to align your IT strategy with your business goals. 

Schedule a meeting with us today and get your efficient IT strategy underway.