When managing your business’s IT, decisions have to be made. From selecting the software and systems required for smooth business operations, to properly training staff for navigating emerging challenges and threats, there’s a multitude of factors to consider to ensure your business’s IT plan is airtight. Possibly the most important aspect to consider for effective IT management is the management itself. Your IT management style can either be reactive or proactive; both are drastically different approaches to handling problems and opportunities. While both have their place contextually, one style is much more valuable for a business that wishes to use the power of IT to its advantage.

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Reactive Management Is Essentially No Management At All

Reactive management is largely an “in the moment” management style; as the name suggests, the management style involves reacting to problems as they arise. Very little planning, contingency tactics, or safety nets are implemented, meaning that IT departments are left to their own devices when situations turn dire, which was an unpleasant reality for companies in 2017 with the advent of cyber-attacks such as WannaCry and Equifax.

With 64% of Americans succumbing to digital extortion in 20161, not having some sort of plan in place to deal with cyber threats and vigilant hackers is not an option. However, most threats to an IT department aren’t external; they pop up as new systems, software, and networks are introduced to existing information technology architecture.

This is especially true for IT departments that are set on getting the most out of outdated technology. While this can seem smart at the time, outdated technology that hiccups or croaks with the introduction of new patches or programs can bring your IT department to its knees, leaving it at the mercy of reactive damage control.

Unforeseen problems can pop up at virtually any time; reactionary management has little to offer to stem the flow of whatever goes wrong in the moment. This approach to IT management can lead to:

  • Decreased productivity due to time being spent fixing new problems as they rear their heads, pulling IT professionals away from their actual duties.
  • Higher stress levels in employees, as they scramble to plug the many leaks sprouting in the metaphorical dam.

Stress can also build as employees struggle to manage their time wisely; with little time to measure the long term effects of a decision, and in most cases, provide a band-aid solution that offers only a temporary solve, the existing stress level will increase as time goes on and as the problem remains.

Proactive Management Means Anticipating the Worst

Proactive IT management means staying on top of any problems that may arise from your systems, software, or networks; instead of attacking problems as they arise, proactive management establishes a clear plan to keep future problems to a minimum, and installs a clear course of action to follow when they do. Not only does proactive IT management catch cyber threats and inadequate technology problems before they arise, but it establishes ways to maintain a business’s network and keep the business informed about the state of its technology.

Proactive management means that IT systems are being monitored, organized, and maintained so that less problems occur, and if they do, they’re extinguished quickly. The benefits of a proactive IT management strategy include:

  • Creating a positive work environment
  • Reducing stress in the workplace
  • Allowing time to be dedicated towards work & future innovation, instead of the problem of the day
  • Catching & preventing cyber threats before they infiltrate your network and compromise your data
  • Providing clients with an added-level of confidence that their data will be secure

Proactive Management Is the Only Management

Essentially, proactive management is the only form of IT management that makes sense. Being able to predict, address, and solve problems proactively is a major advantage for any business, and will let employees do their jobs, instead of burdening them with putting out the series of small fires that are bound to arise when trusting reactive management.

While the short term investment of a proactive IT management style may require more resources and involvement that you’re used to spending, the long term benefits more than pay for themselves. Having a concise strategy for dealing with IT related problems will save your employees’ productivity, and your money, from being thrown into the bottomless pit of the unprepared. A business that moves forward with proactive IT management has a much brighter future than one endlessly chasing its tail with reactive tactics. Prepare your business for a successful future with these proactive IT solutions.

Proactive IT Management Solutions

  1. The Symantec Threat Report 2017, Symantec