Which pandemic business practices will we keep and what will we change as we look towards emerging out of the COVID pandemic?
How To Use Technology To Increase Operational Efficiency
Working at the intersection of technology and financial reporting as we do at Risclarity has given us the unique opportunity to understand what helps small businesses leap forward as they move to taking their operations to scale. One of the hurdles in the critical path to growth is operational efficiency. Making strategic technology selections can help a business overcome that hurdle. As we look at 2021, inspired by the mantra “focus on one thing” from one of our recent industry forums, we see that businesses poised for growth can increase operational efficiency if they look to technology to achieve one thing: closing their company’s security and privacy gaps.
Why Close Security and Privacy Gaps First?
There are a variety of reasons why closing security and privacy gaps should be prioritized. Generally speaking, it’s just good business, but in a time of growth, it’s critical. As a company grows, the unaddressed security and privacy concerns grow with them. If a company waits to address this until they have grown, the problem they are facing has only become bigger, more intertwined with their processes, more difficult and more expensive to solve. For many industries like financial services and healthcare, security and privacy is not only important, it is regulated. For companies working in these industries, growth is stalled without starting with security and privacy. Finally, even without growth, issues caused by gaps in security and privacy can sideline a company at unexpected moments. Particularly as the workforce is distributed geographically and working remotely, the potential for serious security breaches that disrupt business operations and foment customer distrust are increasing.
How to Close Security and Privacy Gaps
Depending on the size and nature of your business, security and privacy have a varying degree of visibility and impact. We recommend companies start with these steps:
- Get out of technology debt. For some companies, this is really your second step. If your company is in a position to actually start with an assessment of your security and privacy gaps, by all means start there. But for many businesses (we think most), we have seen that there already exists an assessment of where technology can close gaps. And, then the process has stalled. For those companies, stop procrastinating technology decisions that could solve your security and privacy concerns. We believe if you are knowledgeable yet stalled, you can benefit from the same process as a newcomer to thinking about security and privacy uses.
- Document and assess your workflows. Whether you are new to thinking about technology solutions to security and privacy or simply procrastinating making the decision, you may both be suffering from the same problems - a lack of information, a lack of expertise, and a lack of buy-in. By assessing your workflows, you can establish your current state. By documenting your workflows and the gaps you find, you memorialize what works and what doesn’t so you aren’t specifying solutions blind.
- Address your expertise gap. Add a technology expert to your team, specifically someone well versed on the latest security threats and remedies. This can be a part-time hire, full-time hire, or outsourced expert. However you do it, bring on someone with the knowledge and authority to make informed decisions so you can move forward on a solution.
- Involve your team. This may be a small team or your entire business, but get the input of the actual workflow grievances your individual employees experience when they do business. Any security or privacy technology solution should alleviate and not add to problems. There are several reasons for this, but the most important is that technology that is annoying to use will be worked around. And this will lead to a new security and privacy issue.
Now, more than ever, businesses need to consider the security and privacy of their operations. Technology can provide robust solutions, but only if a business is ready to study their workflows, identify their gaps, acquire the expertise to act, and get the buy-in of their employees. The way we see it, if you keep only one resolution this year for your business, this one will set your company on a path to resilience, scalability, and growth.
Original article published in the Denver Journal Leadership Trust on Feb. 09, 2021.