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    The importance of having an IT strategy

    IT strategy is growing in importance every year, and small businesses must keep up with this trend, particularly in the area of cyber security.

    As the year winds down, every functional area of a company will begin presenting its plan for the coming year. They outline the strategies and specific tactics they will implement and show how they fit into the core business goals for the next year. IT is no exception to this, though the way to go about this planning process is slightly different than the other areas of the business.

    IT has taken on an increasingly integral role in the way all other parts of the company operate. Everything from marketing, to sales, to human resources rely on IT to provide support for the applications they use as well as the overall IT infrastructure. 

    IT must fit in everywhere
    When planning ahead for the year, IT must not only chart its own path, but chart the paths of every other department along with it. Forbes showed that IT must start earlier, understanding the business' needs from the bottom up and getting a head start implementing them. 

    For example, if marketing and sales is handling an increasing amount of customer data, IT can start planning for how they will handle that by either increasing data storage on site, moving to the cloud or boosting the capabilities of the data analytics team. If these sorts of data storage and analysis faculties are found to be lacking, then plans can be made to either shore them up internally or to look for an outside IT consultant that this task can be outsourced to. 

    Forbes stated that IT can't just think of its strategy only in terms of technological solutions. They must think in terms of business goals and opportunities.

    IT strategy important for small business security
    According to a study by Kaspersky, only 19 percent of "very small businesses," which they defined as businesses with 25 or fewer employees, said that IT was among their top two strategic interests. The study found that bigger companies were much more serious about having an IT strategy and for good reason.

    A major facet of IT strategy is security, which is of central importance when so much company and customer data is collected and stored digitally. Kaspersky said that while it understands that IT solutions can be expensive, and not every business has the internal expertise to handle cyber security, it really must be addressed even if it has to be outsourced. As soon as a business starts collecting sensitive data, IT becomes drastically more important and should become a key concern when strategizing for the coming years.