New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black backgroundAs we celebrate our successful move into new headquarters, it offers the ideal opportunity to reflect on what technology and IT services organisations will likely need in the coming months to remain competitive.

The first trend is explored in our article Improving Healthcare with Innovative Technology. This year should see a continued uptake of visual communications from a sector that has traditionally been slow to adopt new technology. The strain on A&E departments is now an election priority, our ageing population will only add to the burden on the NHS and it is clear doctors are under more pressure than ever before.

Thankfully healthcare trusts, care homes, pharmaceutical research and home-based support services can all benefit from solutions that have revealed their benefits to businesses in recent years. The advantages are waiting to be replicated across healthcare, and with the right deployment strategy focused around best-in-class solutions, healthcare organisations can deliver a number of positive operational, commercial and patient outcomes. Telemedicine is a particularly relevant example as it allows medical professionals to vastly free up their time from bureaucracy and the need to travel so they can focus on what is important, caring for those in need.

For Operations Directors, affordable visual solutions can immediately reduce operating expenditure while simultaneously improving the quality of clinical services, especially for those recovering at home or living in challenging rural regions. Furthermore, waiting times can be cut in hospitals and in GP surgeries by speeding up diagnostics and referral times. The next generation of doctors can access world-class global expertise at a touch of a button and clinical training transforms from a local endeavour to one that can take advantage of specialists and other academics across the globe.

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Visual Communications’ Power

The above examples demonstrate the true power of video. It is a medium that is having a very real impact on those organisations that have embraced solutions, both within healthcare and from a corporate perspective. As visual communications becomes business-critical to more and more organisations, the effective management of video will equally increase in importance.

This means possessing a video-capable network with the appropriate monitoring capabilities to ensure availability, manage video’s impact on other business applications and ensure long-term value. Video is one of the most challenging applications for a network to deal with. It consumes more bandwidth and storage than any other media type, and when implementing real-time visual communications it can bring a network to its breaking point. A business should first begin by defining video at a business level and work back from there.

This is why our new offices include a state-of-the-art Network Operations Centre (NOC). It has enabled us to enhance our IT Service Management (ITSM) capabilities, bolster our managed services portfolio and strengthen our monitoring infrastructure.

In 2015 businesses should assess every aspect of their infrastructure and implement effective content management practices to ensure they are prepared for a more content-rich future. This is key to any effective IT strategy, otherwise organisations will struggle to see their desired results, which leads us to our final trend, data security. As the high profile Sony Entertainment hack showed, the financial, reputational and IT impacts from a data breach can be extremely damaging.

This development has led many businesses to address their IT security. However, for many mid-sized organisations that lack the appropriate security infrastructure, monitoring capabilities and cloud knowledge, this can be a particularly challenging endeavour. The threat landscape is unlikely to provide any relief. A growing number of zero-day threats and organised hacking groups have united into an IT concern businesses can no longer ignore. Cyber theft is becoming a more subtle, pervasive event where criminals leave little evidence of a breach.

There is also a growing trend of video solutions being hacked, both from a nuisance perspective and for more malicious purposes. The only way to combat threats like the above is with 24/7 intelligence gathering and continuous monitoring of the network, including all internal end-points, remote employees and any cloud services.  Visibility and knowledge are the key weapons in the fight against IT security and these should drive many businesses to position security as a priority.

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