Ask IT

By on Jan 30, 2014 in Technology

There’s no doubt that 2014 is going to be another big year of exciting enhancements in technology. Improved software, systems and products really came on the scene in 2013, and more improvements are sure to make our working and non-working hours more efficient, secure and fun in the months ahead.

Last year we talked a lot about business intelligence, moving to the right type of cshutterstock_125411825loud for your company, and ensuring adequate security for your valuable business data. These will continue to be important considerations in 2014. To find out what smart companies are thinking about for the year ahead, we checked in with Scott Wiener, Yardi Senior Vice President and head of our Clouds Services division. He’s a longtime technology veteran with his finger on the pulse of the latest enhancements and innovations.

Scott helped us come up with these four key questions that any smart company – not just Yardi clients and real estate-related businesses – should be asking in the year ahead.

1.       If I haven’t moved to the cloud, what am I concerned about?

The options for cloud users are nearly endless, with service providers offering a wide range of options for network configuration, security, replication and access protocols. But some firms have resisted going cloud-based, despite myriad benefits. Partner with a company who has the experience and history of delivering the service; don’t trust the source ask what their safeguards are; how personally identifiable information (PII) is handled are just a couple of items you should be thinking of.   You’re holding out, it might be time to get on the phone with your technology service provider and ask the hard questions. Fears about access limitations and being able to directly connect to your database aren’t good reasons to pass up what could be a groundbreaking move for your firm.

2.       Am I taking advantage of identity management software?

The same type of technology that makes your personal laptop and smartphone function so seamlessly can increase efficiency and security at work, too.  Now many cloud providers can authenticate your  network identity so you’ll always know who is accessing your business information and control authorization permissions. Providers of business software solutions like Yardi have moved to single-sign on models, which makes life for your team members much easier and less complicated, while keeping data protected.

3.       Is Bring Your Own Device really right for me?

Sure, it might at face value seem easier just to let your team members use their personal cell phones, tablets and laptops on the job. But Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) comes with a side dish of risk that can be unpalatable. Setting obvious distraction potential aside, the intermingling of employee hardware with your business software sets up myriad issues down the line and the potential for a serious security breach. If BYOD is your company’s policy, think again about whether the risk is worth it.

4.       How can you work smarter, thanks to the cloud?

If you’ve made your business cloud-based, what can you do to retool your processes and work smarter as a result? Network management, including hardware, software, and support can be self-managed by the client or completely managed by external experts. If you’ve selected the latter route, your IT professionals are free to use their talents and assist you on enhancements of other kinds. What would your like your company’s custom reports to look like at this time next year? How can you deliver better value for investors and shareholders with dynamic business intelligence, drawn from your cloud-based data? Dream big – the possibilities are endless.