The on-going COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the IT industry and service delivery. Cash flow problems, setting up remote work, and even everyday challenges, like pricing models, are now all common. The pandemic has also laid bare how fragile supply chains are, and just how vulnerable ecosystems are, including IT-oriented ecosystems.

True, lockdowns are slowly being rolled back in some countries and regions. Yet even before official lockdowns set in, many businesses were struggling. Government-action or not, the pandemic poses many challenges. Even if the government isn’t shuttering an office, many business leaders are trying to limit social contact and closing shop when cases arise on site.

Work-from-home has emerged as the answer for many organizations. And yet, providing all of your workers with the tools, guidance, and support needed to ensure your business thrives is easier said than done. Even as the world economy slows, workers need technologies that allow them to act quickly, securely, and efficiently while also maintaining quality.

Seemingly simple things can pose a major obstacle. Consider that some businesses opted for desktops because they’re cheaper. Selecting desktops for office personnel made perfect sense a year ago. In a remote-oriented world, however, laptops are easier to move around. A mundane choice months ago could have a major impact today.

Even if your employees have access to a laptop, do they know how to use all of the software? Meeting software, task management tools, even simple email can confound some employees. So then, how can you manage your IT environment in a work-from-home world? What are the trends? We share them with you below.

1. Cyber security outsourcing is still the number one trend

There are really only two ways to separate businesses: Ones that have been breached, and those that will be breached. Consider the fact that a data breach takes place every 39 seconds. It makes sense that cyber security would be the number one IT outsourcing trend – especially as businesses continue to move more of their data and infrastructure online.

Not to mention, there is a vast cyber security skills shortage. Further, many companies aren’t adequately prepared for a cyber-attack. The best way to remain prepared is to outsource your cyber security.

2. Updated business continuity plans

Many IT-based business continuity plans were built around localized disasters. Even big companies with a global presence often only planned for disasters striking one country or region at a time. A global pandemic is simply something few have ever prepared for comprehensively.

Continuity measures and on-going operations must now be assessed, and where gaps are found, they need to be addressed. Even if the stock markets perform well and many return to optimism, continuity plans need to be redesigned so that they can adequately address the worst-case scenarios too.

Globalization has brought about many benefits for businesses. Yet, globalization also exposes businesses to the risks brought about by a global pandemic. Supply chains have shut down, teams have been disrupted across the world, and coordinating far-flung staff is especially difficult in a remote landscape.

Having the right IT partner can be of significant advantage to ensure your IT infrastructure is still up and running – and most of all, that it’s protected during vulnerable times.

3. Cloud migration

In the digital age, cloud migration – and usage – has skyrocketed. By 2021, Gartner predicts the cloud market to be valued at $266.4 billion. Not only does the cloud help to alleviate the costs associated with maintaining an onsite physical infrastructure with an expensive IT team, but it is also always available via Internet connection.

4. Ever-shifting service levels

Many organizations have been stressed and strained. Service levels will change because work might be disrupted, some employees will need to have their security systems updated as they work from home, and many team members will be naturally distracted.

Business must go on, even during a widespread pandemic. You don’t want to add to the emergency by adding an IT disaster on top of it.

With the shifting service levels, companies will expect flexibility and an increased number of options for their remote teams. The biggest component will be better cyber security.

Capacity adjustments will need to be adjusted at times, and resources may need to be reallocated.

5. Managing resiliency in applications and networks

Many companies have been shifting to remote work models for some time, letting team members work from home a certain number of days per week. Now, many companies are instructing as many employees to work from home as often as possible. Unfortunately, this is taxing IT systems.

Companies need to account for this. More redundancies, extra capacity, increased efficiency, are required to ensure networks remain functional. And, many companies don’t have the resources in-house to manage the new way of working and fluctuating demands.

Small-to-midsize businesses, in particular, will struggle as hiring and retaining an in-house IT department is quite costly. This is especially true amid a global pandemic when simply scheduling interviews is a daunting task. As a result, more companies are turning to managed services providers to take care of these overwhelming responsibilities. Subscription, and pay-as-you-go support models, are becoming the norm in the work-from-home world as they are reliable, scalable, can mitigate issues immediately, and offer access to IT experts 24/7.

6. Management of core business services

For many small and mid-sized businesses, resources and budgets can be tight. Yet, these companies still need experienced leadership. So then, it makes sense to outsource core business services and even to outsource their CIO role. As a result, they still gain the benefits of hiring qualified executives without having to pay a full-time salary and benefits. Of course, the key component is working with a dependable IT outsourcing partner.

Looking ahead: The strongest will thrive

Undoubtedly, this is a transition period for everyone. Many of the challenge’s leaders are now facing are all but unprecedented in modern times. Past business school classes and regular training likely never covered the risk of a global pandemic.

In the years ahead, scholars will likely study the pandemic in-depth. Right now, many leaders are reacting and learning as they go. This gives organizations an opportunity to stand out.

Many individuals, and organizations, will be stretched to their limits and beyond. The same is true of IT infrastructures and associated management. Those companies that can best adapt to the changing consumer demands, and use the right technologies to do so, are in an excellent position to not only survive but improve their market position.