By Sarah Good
The year is almost over, and now might be the perfect time to upgrade your office technology — especially if you have extra budget to work with as the year closes out. New office technology can prepare your business to work smarter and more efficiently in the year to come. What's more, new office tech can make your systems more secure. As CIO Dive notes, outdated technology is often more vulnerable to breaches.
With so many options, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are a few ideas for upgrades that can give your office a real boost:
Modernizing Your Mobile
Your coworkers are likely already using their smartphones for work in some capacity — to check email, call clients from the road, or even access the cloud-based services your company uses. That can present a security risk for your company. Instituting a mobile management program can help by providing phones and specialized apps for work. Your technology vendor can provide maintenance and backup services as part of the program as well.
Talk with your company's mobile users to best understand their needs and preferences, and look for a vendor that makes the process simple and has a strong reputation for great customer service.
Looking at Laptops
The speed and efficiency of computer processors improve so much every few years that even relatively new machines could be ready for an upgrade. Laptops are a good place to start, especially if your workers are among the 74 percent globally who still use a desktop in the office, according to a 2016 study conducted by Penn Schoen Berland.
Ask your colleagues for feedback about their computers — do they have to make frequent restarts, or waste time staring at the screen as new pages load? If the answer is "yes," to either, it may be time to invest in new laptops. Before you buy, ask a variety of technology vendors for their pricing and information on extras such as service warranties.
Step Up Your Software
Old software is worth updating or replacing. If the maker no longer supports the version of a program you're using, you could face a disaster if the software goes down at a crucial moment. Remember that the older a program is, the more time hackers have had to scope out its vulnerabilities, making your systems less secure.
Additionally, new products and services are constantly arriving in the marketplace. For example, there are a number of new collaboration software systems that can help teams communicate from multiple locations and help managers coordinate projects and tasks. Or, new artificial intelligence programs can automate appointment setting, scour email for potential sales leads and engage with customers online.
New technologies can make work more seamless as well as secure. With a little planning and research, you'll be able to help your colleagues have a happy, high-tech new year.