8 issues that will derail IT in 2016

Facing an increasingly complex landscape, IT teams are challenged to keep their digital businesses running smoothly around the clock. At the same time, they are expected to be on the lookout for innovative solutions that ensure their colleagues can work efficiently and with the latest technology. With the inevitable issues that arise each day, it’s becoming more of a challenge for IT teams to stay ahead of the curve while keeping business-critical operations on track.

To find out IT’s major pain points, a recent survey polled 2,685 IT professionals around the globe, asking what their biggest challenge would be in the year ahead. The research, conducted by Ipswitch, uncovered that there are eight key issues holding IT teams back that should be prioritised in 2016.

1. Security
IT teams indicated that security was the top challenge, receiving 25 per cent of the overall responses. With more complex breaches occurring each day, it’s no surprise that IT teams have concerns about managing security for their organisation. General security issues like breaches, malware, vulnerabilities and zero-day attacks were the biggest concern in this category, as stated by 55 per cent of respondents. File transfer was the second-leading response, with 39 per cent of respondents noting that moving data safely and efficiently inside and outside the organisation was setting them back. Keeping up with regulatory guidelines and compliance was the third-leading response under security.

2. Infrastructure and network monitoring
Nineteen per cent of those surveyed cited IT infrastructure and application performance monitoring as their top concern heading into 2016. Within this category, responses fell into four key areas: monitoring and visibility (50 per cent), network performance/capability (34 per cent), remote management (10 per cent) and application management (six per cent). As organisations continue to demand a fast network running 24/7, it has become a greater burden for the IT teams tasked with managing it.

3. New technology, updates and deployment
Keeping up with new technology was the third-largest category, securing 14 per cent of the overall responses. Two-thirds (67 per cent) of the respondents in this category said that making necessary updates and deploying new technology was the biggest issue facing their IT department. Staying on top of the latest technology and changes in the industry was on the mind of 26 per cent of respondents, while seven per cent said vendor and solution selection was holding them back.

4. Time, budget and resource constraints
IT teams are constantly charged to do more with less and are confronted with downsizing in the face of increasing competition and a shrinking bottom line. Among those surveyed, 14 per cent of responses indicated that time, budget and resource constraints were the biggest hurdle facing IT. Nearly half (46 per cent) of the respondents in this category said that a lack of time and internal resources hindered their ability to do their jobs. 38 per cent said that limited budgets were a burden, and an additional 16 per cent said training and educating their IT departments was a major challenge.

5. Business issues
Seven per cent of survey respondents said general business issues were a barrier to achieving IT goals. In this category, 56 per cent said that internal problems such as poor communication created difficulties while 17 per cent said customer satisfaction was the main source of problems. All departments have different goals and demands for the IT team, and it’s up to IT to find ways to manage them while still meeting their departmental goals.

6. Data management and storage
How to manage, protect and store big data was on the mind of six per cent of respondents who named it their largest IT challenge to overcome in 2016. The ability to control costs while ensuring data is readily available was the chief concern within this category. While big data continues to be touted as one of the most valuable assets organisations have, the flip side is that the cost and resources needed to maintain and store it are often more than what is accessible to an IT department.

7. Device management and end user issues
BYOD policies continue to grow in popularity and provide unmatched flexibility for employees – however, they are proving to be an impediment for IT teams. Five per cent of survey responses fell into the device management and end user issues category, with a split of 60 per cent citing BYOD and 40 per cent indicating end-user problems like increased pressure from colleagues and customers, and having to educate their colleagues and customers about tech.

8. Automation and reporting
Four percent of survey responses fell under automation and reporting. Automation was the primary concern within this category (63 per cent), with reporting (24 per cent) and troubleshooting challenges (13 per cent) following. Many of the time-consuming tasks that are required to enable daily operations, as well as regulatory and policy compliance, can be automated by incorporating the proper technology. This frees up countless resources to tackle more critical IT projects and concerns that affect business outcomes.

Aaron Kelly, VP of Product Management at Ipswitch