There has never been a more exciting time to be an IT Manager. Technology is evolving at an exponential rate, meaning there are always new challenges to face and skills to gain.
As an IT Manager your job is multi-faceted. You must manage all technological decisions within your organisation, from evaluating new hardware to running cable for new work areas. You must also be able to think quickly and provide solutions when things go wrong, as well as proactively monitoring systems and consulting senior staff members on how they should invest in technology. Not to mention the fact that you’re also responsible for managing a team or department of IT specialists.
Business owners are acutely aware that they need the very best talent in-house when it comes to IT to help facilitate business goals and prevent cyber-attack. But with so much to think about, it can be easy to lose your way and forget what makes you truly excellent at your job. Which is why we’ve outlined our five best kept secrets for good IT Managers – these should be useful for any current IT Managers or anyone considering a career in IT Management in the future.
1. Being an IT Manager is about managing people as well as IT
Your success as an IT Manager will largely come from the people you surround yourself with and how you manage them.
Many IT Managers focus on the strategic aspect of their role, without considering how teamwork, training, and group problem-solving will benefit their team.
It’s important to listen to your team and take their recommendations seriously, they could end up giving you valuable guidance. You don’t have to pursue every suggestion but listening to what they have to say will make them feel valued and encourage a collaborative culture.
2. Be aware of current IT challenges
There aren’t many other areas of business that evolve as quickly as IT, and this can create a unique set of challenges for IT Managers.
When assuming an IT Manager position, it’s important to stay up to date with current IT challenges, anticipate potential issues, and have the technical knowledge to deliver appropriate solutions.
Here are some key things to consider:
- The rate and pace of change in today’s digital world.
- The complexity of integrating systems, processes, and applications, which can sometimes lead to serious outages and productivity loss.
- Pressure to cut costs, whilst meeting the increasing desire to modernise and digitally transform the workplace.
- Increasing threats to your cyber security, particularly following the coronavirus pandemic and rise in remote working.
- The need to meet compliance regulations and audits, whilst also focusing on the strategic use of technology to generate revenue and facilitate business goals.
- Having to manage legacy systems if necessary.
3. Keep up to date with the latest security threats
In the last year, security threats have become more frequent and sophisticated. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the activity of cyber criminals; they recognised opportunity to exploit remote workers and invested time in innovating new, pandemic-related scams.
It’s therefore crucial that IT Managers are always up to date with the latest threats and how to protect against them. If you fail to stay updated with new security risks, your organisation could experience a data breach for which you are held accountable – damaging your reputation as a valued IT Manager and future career prospects.
To prevent this, you need to ensure you have a robust IT security policy in place. Because new scams are emerging every day, this should be reviewed regularly as cyber criminals may find new ways to infiltrate your systems, even with security measures in place.
Penetration testing can help with this. Penetration testing involves ethically replicating the tactics, techniques, and procedures often used by cyber criminals. That way, you can accurately determine any vulnerabilities in your IT security and rectify them before it’s too late. If you are considering carrying out penetration testing, we recommend ensuring it’s completed by a CREST accredited professional.
4. Continuously invest in developing your technical skills
Because technology is evolving so rapidly, it’s vital that you invest time in not only training yourself, but also training your team.
There will always be deadlines to meet and pressing IT issues to solve, but that doesn’t mean professional development should be overlooked. As mentioned above, failing to stay on top of potential security threats could lead to serious consequences for you and your employer.
Continued investment in professional growth is the only way to ensure you don’t get left behind in a rapidly evolving digital world. In fact, because IT Managers often spend more time in high level meetings than they do repairing IT issues, their technical knowledge can become outdated easily.
Even if you don’t use your technical skills daily, it’s critical you ensure they’re updated. Otherwise, your team may lose respect for you as their IT Manager, and you may be unable to solve IT issues if your team are absent. Having the skills to pitch in when needed and understand the technical details of ongoing IT projects is key to maintaining your reputation as a good IT Manager.
5. Know when to get external help
No IT professional knows everything, and everybody has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. This means that sometimes an IT project may arise that falls outside of your team’s skillset. As an IT Manager, don’t be afraid to admit that some projects simply cannot be managed entirely by your in-house team. When appropriate, you will benefit from outsourcing IT projects or services.
Here are some instances where outsourced IT could add value to your IT team:
- You’re lacking a particular technical skill needed to complete a project effectively
- Your team are overworked with a busy service desk and multiple ongoing projects
- You would benefit from a portfolio of tried and tested IT services, so you don’t have to waste time researching vendors
- You require professional help with reviewing your cyber security strategy, policy, and compliance
- You wish to modernise your business, e.g., by implementing cloud-based solutions
- You would benefit from competitive pricing, gained through IT Support companies who have established relationships with respected vendors, meaning you don’t need to negotiate on cost
- Your IT team require specialised training on how to implement manage particular IT services from a team of experts
Having an additional team of experts at your disposal can reduce risk and save you and your team significant time, money, and stress.
What’s more, many IT companies can deliver co-managed IT support without the need to commit to lengthy contracts. At Netstar, we offer a range of flexible outsourced IT options, including service desk support, onsite support, security consultancy, and strategic advice. You can choose whichever option works best for your business and gain expert assistance when you need it most.
We hope you found this article useful. To find out more about our co-managed IT support, or if you need any extra IT support you can: