IT Pro Day is an opportunity to give thanks to the men and women who, rain or shine, keep our IT systems up and running. IT professionals have faced constant challenges over the last eighteen months, managing IT infrastructure as we moved in and out of lockdowns and navigated new hybrid work models. However, despite their crucial work, these warriors are often forgotten as they work tirelessly in the background.
In order to give IT pros their well deserved time in the spotlight, Top Business Tech spoke to nine technology experts about the value of IT professionals and how we can show them how much we appreciate their work.
IT Pro Day celebrates all the professionals working in IT – from network engineers and system administrators to database admins and ethical hackers. “They are crucial when systems crash and technology goes wrong, working to get their organisation back online as quickly as possible. But their work day-to-day is just as important and it often gets overlooked,” explains Gregg Mearing, Chief Technology Officer at Node4.
“After all, without IT Pros we could still be working on paper and sitting in front of chalkboards. It is the IT Pros who keep us up and running, all the while protecting us from the threats that loom online.”
Thomas Cartlidge, Head of Threat Intelligence at Six Degrees adds that “IT professionals will play a key role in enhancing your organisation’s cyber security posture, as they manage and maintain best-practice configurations of the systems that hackers are targeting, 24×7.”
“As the volume of data increases and the needs of businesses become ever more complex, IT professionals have had to embrace automation to keep up with workloads. Today’s solutions architects are utilising Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as their go-to technologies to identify patterns in the data that go on to shape business strategies, and even ‘self-learn’ to write their own automated scripts,” furthers Terry Mooney, Solutions Architect at Wherescape.
IT Pros face challenges and have to overcome hurdles every day, but even more so in the past eighteen months as they have navigated the transitions to remote and hybrid working.
“It’s an increasingly challenging role, made all the more difficult by the huge number of employees who are now working remotely,” explains Tim Bandos, CISO at Digital Guardian. “IT organisations have had to scramble to connect teams while their security counterparts have had to scramble to ensure it’s being done while minimising risk.”
“As data volume increases and business requirements become more complex, IT professionals will continue to be called upon to power their organisations through the myriad challenges that they face,” adds Neil Jones, Cybersecurity Evangelist at Egnyte. “All of the content and communication tools they manage are vulnerable without proper data governance, so IT Pros are leaders in protecting sensitive data.”
However, it is not just internal changes that pose a challenge for IT pros. External threats are also a major part of their job. In the first half of 2021, the UK encountered a staggering 14.6 million ransomware attack attempts. Add to this the uncertainty of the future of data use following Brexit at the start of the year, and they have a complex IT environment to navigate.
“It’s been crucial – particularly with so many employees working remotely – to ensure that devices and networks are secure, because after all, your data, your responsibility,” explains Jonathan Bowl, VP & General Manager of Northern EMEA at Commvault. “However, ransomware attacks will happen no matter what measures are in place, and if one does succeed, the IT pros are the people ensuring that up to date backups are available and ready to recover the data as quickly as possible.
“And, should data regulations change in the UK in the coming months and years following the split with the EU, we’ll be even more grateful for their support as we all work to meet the new requirements to keep data safe.”
Bandos adds that “with the volume and variation of cyberattacks growing all the time, IT professionals are being relied upon to protect data more than ever. It’s critical for organisations to properly support and equip their IT pros or partner with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) they can trust just as much as their internal teams. MSPs have a privileged view of an organisation’s security posture that few others share. The more closely internal and external teams work together, the more efficient they become.”
“The balance between keeping businesses secure and maintaining company productivity proves just how crucial IT professionals are. However, a recent survey from HP found that more than 80% of IT workers said, “trying to set and enforce corporate policies around cybersecurity is impossible now that the lines between personal and professional lives are so blurred”, and the same number of respondents said security had become a “thankless task,” summarises Craig Fulton, Chief Customer Officer at ConnectWise.
Showing our appreciation
With IT workers feeling underappreciated, IT Pro Day provides the perfect opportunity to acknowledge and thank our IT pros for all their incredibly hard work.
“The best IT pros will often go without recognition because when your IT is running smoothly, you don’t even know they’re working hard behind the scenes,” urges Chris Hornung, COO at Totalmobile.
“Without IT pros, remote workers would be more susceptible to problems – such as server failures, overloaded systems and downtime – preventing them from maintaining high customer service levels. “In particular, platforms such as scheduling software and mobile workforce management tools have been vital for helping frontline workers keep up with customer demands and stay safe. By stepping up, IT pros have enabled workers to carry out their day to day operations largely uninterrupted by the effects of COVID.”
“One way we can continue to support them is by providing the necessary tools and training required to allow them to flourish and deliver their work with as little hindrance as possible,” furthers Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft. “For a job where the technology is constantly changing and evolving, keeping on top of the latest advancements and routinely upskilling workers provides the support IT pros need to continue providing invaluable benefit to their organisations.”
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Craig Fulton concludes: “On IT Pro Day, and every day, it’s important to thank IT professionals for all they do and recognise their impact on the organisation. After all, not a day goes by that businesses and customers don’t benefit from their hard work.”