To proactively tackle these challenges, a tech checklist can help prioritize what has to get done—or at least get started—before year-end. 

1. Optimizing technology for sustained remote and hybrid workforces 

With the normalization of remote and hybrid workforces, technology leaders must prioritize cloud-native capabilities to align with their technology and business strategies. Secure operations enable seamless remote access to documents and data, but many organizations don’t have a complete IT architectural framework in place yet. 

Executives should keep in mind three considerations when optimizing their technology to meet the new workforce reality: 

  • Get executive focus: C-suite leaders should be having conversations as a team—and with their Board—about current and future technology needs required to realize their strategic objectives. These conversations are no longer the sole responsibility of the CTO. 
  • Examine the technology footprint: Assess the organization’s infrastructure and workforce to determine where they need to upgrade and modernize. 
  • Be open to partnerships: Partnering with a technology provider can help an organization drive scalability and flexibility, enabling business growth with a solid IT foundation in the remote and hybrid workplace. It can also free up internal resources to focus on strengthening client relationships and growing the business. 

A cloud-native data center, combined with harnessing the public cloud, arms companies with a customizable way to gain full control over their data and hardware—particularly those that have to run many types of applications and complex workloads. 

2. Implementing a layered approach to your cybersecurity and data protection plan

Remote and hybrid work environments amplify the risk and potential impact of cyberattacks. The pace and scale at which bad actors operate mean it’s a matter of when an attack will happen, not if. Today, cybersecurity at every endpoint, across all pillars and active vectors, is critical for end clients, vendors, and other third parties. The goal is to create a cybersecurity strategy that provides layers of protection and resilience, including visibility across the entire infrastructure and the ability to aggregate data for better intelligence. And investing in cybersecurity tools, processes, and people helps ensure full protection of an organization. It’s critical to get this right every single day. 

Engaging external experts and strategic partners to help ensure complete end-to-end cybersecurity protection—including a full suite of cyber-defense protocols, tools, and solutions—cross-industry threat intelligence and latest best practices. Weaving this expertise into an organization's security strategy not only establishes the appropriate security posture for operations, but also protects the data of the wider organization and its clients. And by extension, its reputation.

3. Prioritizing workforce acquisition, retention, culture and engagement

Investing in people is one of the most important things companies should be doing now, especially as they establish and begin implementing their technology and business goals into 2022. Employees are looking for organizations to offer leadership training and employee engagement opportunities that foster growth, trust, respect, and understanding. 

Companies that will be successful in the future are those who equip their employees with both business and technological knowledge. The barriers between these two skillsets are rapidly disappearing, and the companies primed to succeed recognize this.

With many employees now accustomed to remote and hybrid work, organizations that don’t offer a flexible work schedule are behind the curve. Employees want to work for companies that value an evolving workplace culture, allowing them to be flexible about where and how they work. And while it has been clear that work can be done anywhere, it is important to recognize that that culture is still best cultivated in person. Finding that balance will require open minds and ongoing collaboration amongst teams, managers and leaders. 

Of course, a top-down approach alone will not get it done. These objectives require employees and teams with the right talent who are engaged in the culture, invested in the organization and motivated to continue growing and learning.

As the tech landscape evolves, technology leaders must prioritize optimization, cybersecurity, data privacy and talent when evaluating their technology and business goals. Those companies who do so will be ready to hit 2022 running.