There are a lot of things that have changed over the past year. There are more employees working from home than ever before, we’ve all gained a new appreciation for Zoom, and “contactless” has become the new keyword for customer interactions.

Hope is on the horizon to get some of our normal lives back, but most people realize things won’t go back exactly to the way they were before.

How we interact with technology has been changed during the pandemic. It’s really been a lifesaver in many ways and enabled people to stay connected even while being miles apart.

We can come out of this disruptive 12+ months even stronger, if we take the technology lessons learned and apply them to our future. Here are several things that that COVID has taught us about ourselves and our tech.

We Haven’t Been Pushing the Technology Envelope Enough

Technology stepped in and helped companies continue to serve customers in new and inventive ways. Organizations also saw what was possible with remote teams, something they may have gone years before realizing without the push of the pandemic.

A survey prior to the pandemic found that 80% of small businesses weren’t fully utilizing digital tools. Those that did earned twice as much revenue per employee.

The pandemic has been a wakeup call about what can be done when you push the technology envelope. This means that post pandemic, companies will want to put more effort into finding new and innovative solutions through technology to help them move beyond their comfort zone and grow.

Future Planning is Vital for Business Continuity

An unfortunate impact of the pandemic has been the closure of many small businesses. It’s estimated that approximately 100,000 that were temporarily closed ended up having to close permanently.

In many cases, the ones that survived were those that had contingency plans for potential work disruptions. The time spent on planning for the unexpected and business continuity strategy paid off for many, when they had systems already in place to handle things like cloud operations and remote teams.

Future planning is not just something a company “should” do anymore, it’s something companies “must” do if they want to survive the next unexpected crisis.

Network Security Needs to Stretch to Remote Teams

One of the legacies of the pandemic is going to be work-from-home employees moving from an anomaly to a norm. It’s expected that in 2021, the number of global employees working remotely on a permanent basis will double.

But remote employees are also part of the reason there has been a “cyber pandemic” along with the COVID pandemic. Hackers have been going after unsecure home networks that are now transmitting sensitive business information.

It’s vital to secure remote workers and for network security to stretch for work done outside the four walls of an office, through use of things like VPN, advanced access security, and endpoint device management.

IRL and Virtual Need to be Balanced Post-Pandemic

Most of our IRL (in real life) work interactions have been curtailed due to the pandemic, and people have gotten used to meetings via video. There have even been popular twitter accounts like Room Rater that rate the background people have in their video conferencing interviews on TV.

But once we can conduct business as usual in person again, companies will need to find a balance between IRL and virtual. The pandemic has taught us that while video conferencing has been a real lifesaver for keeping people connected (and reduces travel costs), it can’t replace in-person interactions completely.

A study of “Zoom fatigue” in the Psychiatric Times found that if audio cuts out during a meeting, that IT issue can cause someone to feel distrust or have a negative perception of a person (even if it wasn’t their fault). There is also a decreased reward perception with virtual meetings as compared to in person.

The Cloud Is the New Normal for Office Technology

There is no more wondering about adopting a full cloud workflow, it’s pretty much vital now if a company wants to weather another pandemic or any other similar large disruptive event.

While most companies used at least one cloud technology going into the pandemic, a majority have now realized that most of their processes that can be need to be cloud based and accessible from anywhere.

One of the biggest transitions has been in company phone systems. When no one can work from the office, the landline system becomes inconvenient, and cloud-based VoIP becomes a necessity.

Now is the time for companies to strategically plan their cloud infrastructure so it’s optimized, reduces the potential for waste, and is cost efficient.

Need Help Optimizing Your Use of the Cloud?

ECN IT Solutions can help your Tucson business put a strong cloud strategy in place that is secure, flexible, and cost saving.

We’re here and ready to talk cloud technology with you! Reach out at 520-200-1055 or through our website.