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Here we are, at the end of the year. It’s the time when we all plan vacations, wrap up projects, and enjoy the reprieve of fewer meetings on the calendar, right? Or, for those looking to take advantage of the world’s downtime, it’s a season to plan ahead for business growth in the coming year. 

If you fall into Group B, there’s no shortage of considerations to ponder when it comes to tech decisions in 2022 and beyond. Instead of combing the latest tech articles (you carve the turkey, and leave the research to us), we’ve put together a quick reference list of the upgrades you should be directing your attention to in the New Year. These recommendations come from trends we’ve seen over the last year, and news we’re hearing about what’s on the horizon in the world of IT.

Stretch out on the couch, serve yourself a plate of leftovers, and get out a notepad. Here are our recommendations for the business technology upgrades that will prepare you for a productive, enjoyable and secure 2022 ahead. 

Business IT Upgrades to Make for 2022

Workstations & Hardware

If the new work-from-home culture has taught us anything, it’s that hardware has a limited lifespan and needs to be replaced at least every three to five years (laptops and mobile phones may even need replacing earlier, depending on how much time they’ve spent jostling around in your bag). Newer hardware solutions offer features far beyond those offered only a few years ago, including more intuitive user interfaces, enhanced security, and cloud integration.

We’re also looking at 2022 being the year of expanded 5G network technology, which offers faster connectivity speeds and obvious benefits for remote teams – quicker response times to messages, larger file transfers and more. However, your hardware can be a roadblock if it’s not updated. Remember that not all smartphones and devices connect to 5G (including some iPhone models), which may mean it’s time to update your staff’s mobile fleet. 

Operating Systems

Most of the big players, like Microsoft and Apple, have made it easy to keep your operating system updated on your devices – as long as you have a device that can handle the software. Make a point to regularly check your devices, including smartphones and tablets, to make sure you’re running the latest operating system version. Enable automatic updates where and when they’re available.

Even missing a few updates can leave your equipment vulnerable to cyber attacks, which can put your entire business at risk. By keeping your software as up-to-date as possible, you may be able to ward off the kind of devastating data breach that would make 2022 a year to remember for all the wrong reasons.

Wifi & Networking

Unless you’ve performed a network overhaul recently, your connection speeds are likely being slowed by old networking devices that are often overlooked – routers, network switches, wireless access points and other key pieces of office technology. 

Did you know that networking equipment 3-6 years old could actually be bottlenecking your internet speed? This means that devices inside the office are moving data slower than your connection to the outside world. Are those web pages loading slow? Slow printing? Large delays in web page loading? This could be why! If you need to rationalize your spending on new equipment, consider the time lost while your staff waits for documents to load, or troubleshoots slow-moving hardware.

Cloud Environments

Between 2021 and 2022, cloud computing investment is expected to grow from $396 to $482 billion, the largest year-over-year increase yet. Why? Because cloud solutions offer the flexibility and security that a remote or hybrid working environment demands (and any modern in-office environment, for that matter).  The impacts of COVID have led to new developments in cloud solutions that just keep getting better, reducing downtime and enhancing businesses’ disaster recovery options. 

At the same time, cloud environments can be tempting playgrounds for cyber criminals, and a focus on security should be paramount. Upgrading your cloud solution for 2022 can not only help your team work more efficiently, it can also save your valuable data from getting into the wrong hands.

Communications

Most of us have been on more video conference calls in the last two years than we care to count. The trend of virtual meetings isn’t going anywhere in 2022 that we can see, and there are more ways than ever to “meet smart” online, with integrations that allow for recording, chatting, document sharing, calendar booking and more. 

We predict that you and your team will need to continue interacting reliably with your customers, clients and suppliers in the year ahead to maximize your chances of success. So, you can streamline your company’s digital communications by investing in the right communication and collaboration tools. We recommend choosing solutions that feature cloud-based technologies to make it easier to share, communicate and collaborate from anywhere. 

Swap Your Fork For the Phone, and Give Us a Call

As businesses in our valley and across the world continue to progress on a work-from-anywhere path, the need for new technology infrastructure will grow ever greater. Many of the top tech predictions for 2022 that we’ve seen revolve around making businesses more connected, productive, and collaborative — no matter where employees may be.  

Taking the time to strategically think about upgrades now will lead to increased productivity, less downtime, and greater defenses against cyber threats in the year ahead. If you’d like to talk specifics, we’re here (even around the holidays). Set down your fork and pie — just for a few minutes — pick up your notepad, and give us a call at (541) 779-4777. There’s no other way we’d rather wish you Happy New Year than with tech solutions to make 2022 your best year in business yet.