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Understaffed Tech Teams: What You Need to Know

In a world where damages from cyber crime represents the largest transfer of economic wealth in human history and with 230,000 new malware samples launching online every single day, the need to have skilled, trained, and forward-thinking tech teams at the heart of your business is not only important, but essential.

Still, one new study claims that between 43%–60% of all IT teams around the world are either currently understaffed, are experiencing the devastating effects of a growing skills gap, or both of these at the same time.

When you don't make it a priority to address the problem of having highly understaffed tech teams, delaying the situation only serves to make things worse and routine tasks take longer to complete than they should which can impact your bottom line. You're also opening yourself up to a wide range of potential challenges, many of which would be difficult for any small or medium-sized business to overcome.

Understaffed Tech Teams: The Problem

Perhaps the biggest problem with understaffed tech teams is a massive lack of cybersecurity skills that many other organisations around the world are grappling with. Simply put, if you barely have enough employees to reactively manage your environment and keep everything up and running, how can you possibly expect to have the talent you need to proactively keep you protected from today's biggest threats?

The answer is simple: you can't, and this is something that a lot of organisations around the globe are currently learning the hard way. According to one recent study, 70% of surveyed cybersecurity professionals say that this current skill gap has had a significant impact on their organisation. This leads to situations where available employees are spending so much of their time on fixing emergencies that they can't devote the time needed for strategy planning or ongoing training and education. 

The gap is so severe that roughly 50% of all cybersecurity professionals say that they're solicited by another employer to switch organisations at least one time a week, if not more.

Let that sink in for a moment.

It is equally important to consider the vulnerabilities present in older software applications that may still be used up to this point.

All programs have vulnerabilities — there really is no getting around this. However, an understaffed tech team won't have the time and the capacity needed to properly fix and patch thsese vulnerabilities — leaving you exposed for far longer than you should be. 

Finally, you have to consider both the cost and the time involved with both of the above issues. You're paying so much money to employees who should be helping with business growth, but who are instead forced to spend all of their day preserving the status quo — often inefficiently, at that. All of this leads to a situation where even small tasks take longer than they should, which essentially means scalability is a thing of the past. 

The Evolving Threats: Breaking Them Down

All of these issues segue directly into another important topic — the fact that understaffed tech teams simply aren't equipped to face the constantly evolving threats of the modern era. 

When your tech teams barely have enough time in a day to fix all of the emergency issues that may pile up in a day, this leaves them little to no time to stay on top of upcoming digital threats.

How are they supposed to help you fight off the fact that one out of every 131 emails contained malware in 2016 when they're so focused on trying to figure out why this asset went down or why that server stopped responding? The answer is simple — they can't.

Likewise, consider the fact that an older software solution likely won't be able to handle the modern malware that can be found almost everywhere on the internet. Are you still using that older, outdated operating system simply because your tech team hasn't had the time to research, deploy, and maintain a newer solution? Guess what, your entire organisation may already be exposed by virtue of the fact that it is connected to the Internet at all.

The biggest threat of all is this: a general lack of experience among your tech team leaves your front line of defense vulnerable. Workers are simply unable to identify breaches, let alone handle them when they do occur. This alone could lead you to a lack of compliance with Australia's new data laws — putting you on the receiving end of a massive $1.8 million in fines before ever realising that you even have a problem.

Modern Solutions for a Modern Problem

As is the case with all problems, the silver lining is that there is a solution to all of these issues and it's entirely up to you to take advantage of them.

First, you need to make it a priority to give your existing workers as much practical experience as possible — thus elevating their own skills as a result. You need to do whatever you can to free up as much time in their day so that they can focus on upskilling and learning about the latest cybersecurity measures for the benefit of your entire organisation.

Digital migration can also help address this, creating a much more secure environment that can be used to decrease vulnerabilities in terms of threat detection and prevention, cybersecurity, and more. Even moving to something like a hybrid IT cloud environment can free up valuable time so that your tech teams can focus on more proactive efforts. 

The Advantages of Managed IT Services

But in the end, understaffed tech teams are nothing if not an excellent argument in favour of finding the right managed service provider to meet your needs. From the perspective of an SME, an MSP can help significantly decrease the burden on your understaffed tech team by acting as a true extension of that team in every sense of the term.

Suddenly, not only do you have access to the very latest in modern technology but you've got another team of people dedicated to backup and disaster recovery, asset utilisation, patching and maintenance, threat detection, and more. All of this frees up your current tech team so they can help focus on growth and actually moving your business forward. In a lot of ways, partnering with an MSP is like outsourcing all of those administrative tasks so your team can focus on more constructive tasks elsewhere.

If you'd like to find out more information about how a managed services provider can help close that skills gap and decrease the burden on your understaffed tech teams, or if you'd just like to discuss your own situation with someone in a little more detail, contact Powernet today. 

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