In a digital-dependent world, the social housing sector is under more pressure than ever to streamline IT infrastructure, to ensure technology brings benefits across every department. So, what are the main IT challenges faced by the industry and, with limited financial resources, how can you tackle them head on?
Our operations director, John Blackburn, outlines some key IT hurdles and how working with a trusted technology partner can help you overcome them.
Challenge 1: Reliable IT infrastructure
A strong IT infrastructure is essential for success. Outdated legacy software could mean your IT network is underperforming, be unsuitable for your evolving needs, and have flaws leading to several hidden security risks.
Before upgrading or replacing infrastructure, you first need to gain an accurate picture of what infrastructure you currently have, what works well, and what needs improving – along with being clear on what the end-goal looks like.
Challenge 2: Security threats
Sadly, every organisation is likely to encounter a security threat at some point, whether through natural disaster, or for personal data through phishing, hacking or malware that seeks to disrupt the information technology infrastructure. Therefore, being able to keep networks protected should be a priority for IT teams – no matter where staff are located.
Challenge 3: Backup and disaster recovery
Your data is one of the most valuable assets your organisation has. If that data is lost, it could have devastating effects for your reputation, operations, and bottom line. Therefore, it is essential that you have a reliable disaster recovery plan in place. This details the steps to be taken to regain access and functionality to IT infrastructure after events like a natural disaster, cyber-attack, or business disruption.
By having processes and procedures in place, and regularly testing and optimising security and data protection strategies, social housing providers can successfully navigate this challenge. While this might seem to be a complex or overwhelming task, with the support of trusted experts, implementing an effective backup and disaster recovery strategy will be stress free.
Challenge 4: Cost management in the cloud
Factors such as remote working, cyber security, data handling, and safe storage have led many housing associations to adopt cloud-based platforms over recent years to help them work seamlessly and securely. Cloud subscriptions are a significant expenditure within your IT budget, and if you’re not organised in your approach to using it, you risk losing control of your cloud spend.
As usage increases across different teams and departments, the overheads of using the chosen platform can grow rapidly. In addition, Microsoft recently implemented an extensive shake-up of its software licensing arrangements, with a price increase on some of its most popular subscriptions.
To control costs, housing associations should tap into the expertise of a trusted IT partner who can help you understand the difference between the various cloud management systems and licence options available. They can also help you save money on maintenance, unused services, or unnecessary add-ons, to get the best out of your cloud management platform.
Challenge 5: Having a clear IT strategy
Straightforward implementation of IT systems can pave the way for cost-savings, modernisation, and agile working. It’s vital that all elements work together, and that you have a roadmap for your technical approach, to prepare your business for future challenges and support scaling operations. Having a technology partner who specialises in consultancy services will provide clarity and direction for your strategy.
If you need assistance overcoming any of these IT challenges, get in touch with Central Networks today. We pride ourselves on being a strategic technology partner with a human touch — making IT stress free. You can also find out more about the projects we’ve worked on with other social housing providers, here!
Central Networks are a strategic technology partner. Excellent technology is a given, customer service, trust and long-term relationships are what drive our business. We support CEOs, Heads of IT, IT technicians and transformation directors to ensure technology provides an edge to their organisations.