Information Technology And The Year Ahead
In the world of information technology, nothing stays the same for long, and that presents both challenges and opportunities. Staying current with the latest trends may be a business necessity, but it can also be a tall order to cut through the noise and implement the right solutions and systems. To make it a bit easier, we’ve compiled the top IT tips and developments you need to be aware of in 2024.
AI and cybersecurity risk
The fact that AI is at the top of the list will surprise no one. For much of 2023, the business world was abuzz about the promise of this emerging technology. In 2024, all signs point to AI becoming more and more intertwined with how companies conduct their operations. While this is largely a positive development, as AI can dramatically increase employee productivity, it does carry cybersecurity risks.
Data privacy is perhaps the most obvious concern when thinking about the intersection of AI and cybersecurity. When companies integrate programs like ChatGPT or similar technologies into their workflows, such programs may share critical data with the service provider and compromise the integrity of sensitive information. To avoid this problem, a best practice is to develop strict standards for how employees can use AI responsibly and protect personal or proprietary data. Some elements to consider including in an official policy are:
- Risk assessment: Before implementing AI systems, agencies need to have a comprehensive view of their system vulnerabilities and safeguards.
- Access controls: Define the roles and responsibilities of those with access to AI systems on equipment and networks.
- Employee training: Consider what type of training and support staff need to leverage AI effectively without compromising cybersecurity and data safeguards.
- Data protection: Clarify what type of information can be shared with AI programs and what must remain sequestered.
Remote work is here to stay
Four years on from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is clear: remote work is here to stay. Even large companies that have publicly resisted telecommuting have begun to signal that the pre-pandemic, fully in-office model is not coming back.
This has clear implications for our industry. As more employees come to expect flexibility, companies will need to adapt their technology suites. Prioritizing connection and collaboration tools, cloud computing and advanced security solutions like endpoint threat detection can help you succeed in an era of dispersed workforces. Companies will also need to build a remote onboarding program that can help them bring new employees into the fold from anywhere.
To learn more about the devices, tools and technologies that make remote work possible, check out our blog on mobility solutions.
Keep sustainability front and center
Businesses are under ever-increasing scrutiny to incorporate social and environmental concerns into their decision-making. Naturally, this also extends to IT. By making it a priority to implement sustainable solutions into your tech stack, you will enhance your reputation and become a more attractive partner to stakeholders.
Even better, making technology decisions through a green lens is also good for a business’s bottom line. In an earlier blog I wrote, I outlined how green IT tools do more with less, leading to better productivity and lower costs.
Building durable cyber resistance
Recent cybercrimes targeting major mortgage and title companies stand as a stark reminder that criminal activities can have enormous consequences in our industry. Successful attacks can have short and long term implications – ranging from service disruption and compromised systems to stolen credentials, reputational harm and sizable monetary loss.
At Alliant National, we take such threats extremely seriously and have implemented a variety of safeguards to better protect the stakeholders who rely on us every day. Just a few of these strategies include:
- Hosting our servers at a secure data center protected by redundant firewalls.
- Utilizing email filtering, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and endpoint threat detection and response (EDR) software.
- Routinely backing up all email accounts, documents, and mission-critical data.
- Conducting quarterly and annual network penetration and phishing tests.
- Deploying cloud-based solutions and software for added security.
- Adhering to a strict schedule for installing security patches to all relevant tools on servers and workstations.
In the wake of recent cyber attacks in our industry, we are also moving to implement additional security tools to further solidify our defense posture. We encourage agents to take a similar approach and see the New Year as a critical time to continue moving toward what’s known as “cyber resiliency.” This involves assessing the following dimensions of your cybersecurity strategy:
- Robust risk management: Tackling your organization’s security involves creating a comprehensive view of your policies, procedures, data resources, vulnerabilities and protections.
- Employee investment: Strong organizational cybersecurity relies in part on employees who have been trained in industry best practices as well as organizational safeguards and procedures.
- Data security and recovery: Data is an enormously valuable business asset and requires strong security protocols and a comprehensive backup strategy.
- Incident response: No security system is complete without a detailed approach to incident response. That includes the software and hardware that needs to be installed across your company, a business continuity plan as well as documentation procedures.
Stay apprised of new developments to win in 2024 People always say that the one constant in life is change, and that adage applies to technology. As we move into the new year, new developments, technology solutions and tools are sure to emerge. The points that we have discussed here are a solid foundation as you start thinking about your 2024 IT strategy. At Alliant National, we are also committed to sharing relevant IT updates and tips for you to further refine your approach going forward. Keep checking in on the Alliant National Advantage blog to learn about building a solid security stack, protecting your company’s data and much more.