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Recognising IT Pros amidst new technologies, business approaches and security threats

September 18th was IT Professionals Day, a day focused on recognising the challenges IT professionals face on a daily basis, keeping businesses online across complicated cloud and on-premises environments.

On the day, many technology companies shared appreciation for the professionals that play a vital role in keeping today’s businesses functioning smoothly, top experts from leading technology companies commented on how the role of the IT pro has changed, the challenges IT pros face, and provided tips on how to make the most of IT during this age of digital transformation. While nuances varied, all stressed the need to acknowledge and admire the work that IT professionals put in to making businesses run smoothly:

Todd Krautkremer, CMO at Cradlepoint: “The IT Pro’s role is ever-changing, but over the last few years, they have been responsible for enabling huge transformation in the technology domains that comprise modern IT organisations. In today’s hyper-connected enterprise, IT Pros are often responsible for managing a network which extends well beyond the traditional fixed location boundaries and across the public Internet – connecting everything from vehicles, kiosks, sensors, cameras, and digital signage.

“This expanded scope of connecting people, places and things everywhere means that 4G LTE, and soon 5G, has become an essential wide-area network (WAN) infrastructure. To enable more agility, especially for lean IT shops, they are also harnessing the power of Software-defined Networking (SDN) to accelerate provisioning times, increase availability, and create a more intelligent and self-optimising network edge that seamlessly blends wired and wireless connections.

“Just around the corner, IT Pros will have another tool in their toolbox – 5G, which promises to deliver gigabit speeds, low latencies, and low-cost IoT connectivity. 5G will enable a new generation of business applications poised to transform workforce productivity and customer experiences by leveraging virtual and augmented reality, remote-controlled robotics, telemedicine, and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

“IT Pros have always been unsung heroes, but with such significant technology developments on the horizon, it’s time we start singing their praises.”

Neil Stobart, VP of System Engineering, Cloudian: “Being recognised for the good work you do is definitely a key motivator to continue to do well, but if you are only ever noticed for the 1% of the time when something goes wrong, it can be hard to keep your chin up. Welcome to the world of an IT professional.

“At the same time as warding off unexpected downtime and system blips, the IT professionals keep up to date with both the old and new technology that the business chooses to adopt, so they are consistently able to provide support to colleagues. Because of this, IT professionals are constantly acquiring new IT skills and training in order to keep up with the ever changing world of technology and legislations. It can be a heavy responsibility, so this IT Pro Day, it’s time to take a step back and take a moment to really appreciate the IT professionals that work for your company and continually keep it running smoothly.”

Gary Watson, CTO and Founder, Nexsan: “IT professionals are crucial when it comes to innovation and technology, but their importance is often overlooked. For many of us we only encounter their services when IT is going wrong, but the reality is that every day they work fiercely to protect infrastructure, keep services running, and drive forwards with new and efficient ways to work.

“In today’s technology-driven age, IT professionals are faced with increasing pressure, and with supporting technology that can help make their lives easier, such as secure storage, easier management and high performance, they can focus their time elsewhere. IT professionals need the correct tools in place in order to keep operations running smoothly, and forward-thinking organisations that take the time to rethink their infrastructure and support IT professionals with their daily role stand in better stead to deal with new IT challenges.”

Steven Armstrong, Regional Director UK, Ireland & South Africa at Bitglass: “IT professionals in modern network environments have the tough job of balancing employee mobility with business security. A poor company culture with respect to employee mobility can open the proverbial floodgates to security vulnerabilities. Data breaches or security issues around BYO (Bring Your Own) devices stem from an organisational failure to adjust to modern workplace needs. A modern security culture should enable users to work the way they want from BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), inside or outside the corporate network.

“The threat of data leakage via unmanaged devices is serious, but having a culture of restricting staff access can actually make an organisation more vulnerable, not less. IT professionals that impose arbitrary restrictions on devices are forcing employees to work around the IT department, instead of with IT and that poses a far greater threat.”

Jon Lucas, Director, Hyve Managed Hosting: “If ever a modern job role needed more appreciation, it’s that of the IT professional. Diverse as they are, the various roles of IT pros are fundamental to just about every organisation out there.

“Many IT professionals are expected to perform minor (often major) miracles as a result of unpredictable technology failures or the most basic, avoidable user errors. This is invariably when they are most appreciated. In reality, IT pros spend much of their time delivering creative and innovate tech solutions which make the world a better place. So, IT Pro Day is a great chance to shine a spotlight on their wider work and achievements, and the fantastic opportunities and experiences a career as an IT pro can bring.”

Paul Parker, Chief Technologist, Federal and National Government, SolarWinds: “Today’s public sector technology professionals face a tremendous amount of responsibility at work, from strategic technology evaluations and IT modernization, to the more onerous tasks, such as help desk tickets and end-user requests. As a result, they have very little time to dedicate to being Tech PROactive.”

“However, tech pros are taking the initiative to go above and beyond their responsibilities to explore how new technology can benefit their organizations, with automation, cloud, and AI/machine learning topping the list of advancements that could solve problems within their IT environments. Additionally, there is a large desire to continue their education, with 44% saying they would focus on developing their IT skillset with one extra hour in the work day. We applaud this commitment and on IT Pro Day we encourage organizations to support their employees’ dedication and development.”

The role of an IT pro is as varied as the different software, services and infrastructures available to a business – but one thing remains consistent. To get the most out of an IT team, and therefore a business’s IT as a whole, it’s mission-critical to respect and recognise your IT professionals every day, but especially during the week of IT Pro Day.

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