Cybersecurity Isn’t Enough — Become a Cyber Resilient Organization

Cybersecurity Isn’t Enough — Become a Cyber Resilient Organization


Cybersecurity Isn’t Enough — Become a Cyber Resilient Organization

Cybersecurity Isn’t Enough — Become a Cyber Resilient Organization

“Cybersecurity isn’t enough…really?” you might be asking. Before you throw your hands up in exasperation, a word of explanation. We aren’t suggesting that cybersecurity isn’t important or worthwhile. We certainly aren’t suggesting that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) should skip cybersecurity altogether. Cybersecurity is as essential to the protection of your business assets as locking the doors to your office when you go home at night.

But, cybersecurity plays just one part of a business’ overall data protection strategy. A massively important part, to be sure, but it’s not the whole story. Cybersecurity gets a lot of attention, but an equally important cyber objective for any company in this digital age is cyber resilience.

What Is Cyber Resilience?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cyber resilience thusly:

The ability to anticipate, withstand, recover from, and adapt to adverse conditions, stresses, attacks, or compromises on systems that use or are enabled by cyber resources. Cyber resiliency is intended to enable mission or business objectives that depend on cyber resources to be achieved in a contested cyber environment.1

So, in other words, cyber resilience is all about maintaining your business’ ability to continue functioning normally—even in the face of adverse events like cyberattacks or natural disasters. While cybersecurity is aimed at proactively keeping cybercriminals at bay, cyber resilience is aimed at keeping your systems running even if hackers do get in.

Preventing Data Loss or Destruction

A key objective of cyber resilience strategies is keeping your company’s data safe from loss or destruction. Although cybersecurity strategies limit the risk of data compromise, human error can result in data loss or corruption through accidental deletion or inadvertent malware installation. In fact, 1 in 3 SMBs reported data loss incidents caused by human error2.

As you might rightly assume, a consistent and thorough data backup strategy is integral to cyber resilience. Alarmingly, however, 40% of SMBs conduct NO data backups, and 58% do not have a data backup process for their endpoints3.

A much happier statistic is that 93% of data loss incidents are preventable4. Implementing a disaster recovery plan helps your business to secure its data against adverse events of all types. With routine local backups, you create your first line of defense against accidental or malicious data compromise.

Since some incidents can compromise primary backups, maintaining offsite backups is your second line of defense. For example, ransomware attackers often go after backups once they penetrate a company’s network, because paralyzing their victims’ backups gives them more leverage. Having a second set of backups in another location helps to defang ransomware attackers’ strategy.

Keeping Critical Systems Up and Running

Another major prong of cyber resilience is making sure that your business-critical infrastructure continues to function in the case of crisis events like ransomware attacks. One of the ways that ransomware attackers coerce their victims into paying the ransom is by bringing their business to a screeching halt. Threat actors know that downtime hits SMBs hard—most lose anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 per hour of downtime5.

With critical systems frozen, victims quickly do the math and realize that paying the ransom is less costly than downtime. Many SMBs wrongly believe that this couldn’t happen to them. But the truth is that 20% of SMBs who were hit by a ransomware attack experienced downtime as the result of the attack6.

This is where business continuity planning comes in. With a business continuity plan, your company will have an IT “plan B” should your primary infrastructure falter for an unforeseen reason. With redundant infrastructure at the ready, you don’t have to worry about the tens of thousands of dollars (or more!) your business would lose due to unplanned downtime.

NexusTek offers the solutions your business needs to achieve both cybersecurity and cyber resilience, from customizable security plans with 24/7 monitoring to protect against threats, to business continuity & disaster recovery plans to protect against data loss and costly downtime.

Are you ready to make the leap forward to cyber resilience?


1. National Institute of Standards and Technology. (n.d.). Cyber resiliency.,NIST%20SP%20800%2D172

2. Reilly, C. (2017, August 2). Ransomware shuts down 1 in 5 small businesses after it hits. CNET.

3. & 4. The SMB Group. (2020, February 10). Small business data protection: What small businesses need to know.

5. Infrascale. (2020, May 13). Infrascale survey highlights the heavy costs of business downtime.

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What Is Cloud Migration? A Step-By-Step Overview

What Is Cloud Migration? A Step-By-Step Overview


What Is Cloud Migration? A Step-By-Step Overview

What Is Cloud Migration? A Step-By-Step Overview

Although many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are now running at least a small portion of their workloads in the cloud, 63% still rely heavily on internal servers1. Migrating to the cloud, which involves moving your IT resources from on-premises infrastructure to one or more cloud-based environments, has become increasingly attractive because it helps to future-proof your IT and can reduce total cost of ownership by 30-40%2.

But, to obtain such desirable outcomes, you need to understand how the migration process works and how it can go wrong. Following is a high-level overview of the cloud migration process.

Discover Applications and Servers:

To start, you need to have a full accounting of your IT resources.

  • This includes your on-premises resources as well as anything currently running in the cloud.
  • Be careful to take account of any shadow IT, which are applications that may have been added without your IT team’s knowledge or involvement.
  • Determine which applications are business-critical, which you wish to access remotely, and which you would prefer to keep on-premises.

Weigh Your Cloud Options & Assess Connectivity:

The cloud is not a single environment. There are multiple cloud providers who offer a variety of cloud types and services. You also need to take connectivity into account.

  • Are you interested in public cloud, private, or a combination of the two? Do you want to keep some of your workloads on-premises or move fully to the cloud?
  • Most SMBs choose a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud structure, which allows you to run different applications in different settings based on best fit. A multi-cloud approach can also allow you to get the best price value for different applications.
  • You’ll need to determine your preferred distribution of management of infrastructure elements. Do you want the cloud provider to manage the entire infrastructure, from servers to data and applications? Or would you prefer to manage elements like data and applications in-house and have the cloud provider manage the rest of the infrastructure? Your choice will likely depend on the expertise of your in-house IT team and level of staffing.
  • Keep in mind that your internet connection will need to be sufficient to handle the increased bandwidth of accessing data and applications hosted in the cloud. Given the number of users and the requirements of the applications they will be accessing, make sure that your internet speed is fast enough to handle the new demands.

Analyze Configuration & Dependencies:

This is a step where many SMBs struggle. In fact, understanding application dependencies was the #1 challenge for SMBs in migrating to the cloud, reported by 57% of technology decision makers3.

  • To plan a migration effectively, you need to understand the relationships between applications, infrastructure, and operations. This is because the functionality of applications may depend upon specific relationships that may not be present or possible in the new cloud environment.
  • If this step is overlooked or not completed properly, applications may not function normally once migrated to the cloud, and in the worst cases, they may not function at all. This is a time-consuming and costly error.

Evaluate Compatibility Issues:

This is another area that can be challenging for SMBs to manage; 43% reported hitting stumbling blocks related to compatibility issues during migration4.

  • It is important to recognize that your destination cloud environment may use different operating systems and APIs than your on-premises environment.
  • Similar to issues of fit related to app dependencies, compatibility problems can create performance issues or even application failure in the new cloud environment.

Decide Which Applications to Migrate:

Once you have taken stock of your current environment and its attributes, you can begin making decisions about your future environment.

  • For applications that will not be successful using a “lift and shift” approach—meaning, they cannot be migrated to the cloud as-is—you will need to decide whether to leave those applications on-premises or modify them so that they will work in the new cloud environment.
  • Some legacy applications may not have a SaaS equivalent and may require refactoring or even rewriting the code to run successfully in the new cloud environment.
  • Whether it makes sense to invest in refactoring or rewriting will vary from one business to the next; many businesses choose to keep such applications on-premises while moving other applications to the cloud, adopting a hybrid cloud model.

Consider Compliance Needs:

If your business operates within an industry that carries additional data privacy and security regulations, this is another important consideration when planning migration.

  • If some or all of your data is subject to regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, or FINRA, it is important to choose a compliant cloud provider.
  • Make sure that a new cloud provider understands your regulations and is willing to complete any required documentation to support your compliance.

Formulate Security Strategy & Policy:

Moving to the cloud requires that you establish new security practices and policies.

  • With your data now in a remote location and accessible from a variety of endpoints located in diffuse settings (e.g., as with remote work), it is important to establish a zero-trust security protocol with a layered security regimen that protects all areas of vulnerability.
  • If you will allow employees to use their own devices (i.e., BYOD) or work from home, it is important to have security policies in place that stipulate cyber safe behavior.

Plan Migration Roadmap:

A careful, step-by-step roadmap is required to make sure that all applications and data are moved successfully while safeguarding against data loss and disruption of your business operations. Completing data backups is an essential step, as is testing the new systems to make sure all data transferred to the cloud successfully and all applications run as needed.

NexusTek offers cloud readiness assessments to help you through each step of your migration, along with IT spend assessment to help you determine the most cost-effective infrastructure choices. Whether you need a second set of eyes or full support with your cloud migration project, our expert engineers are here to help.

Are you ready to move your business forward by migrating to the cloud?

Bridging the Gap Between CIOs and CFOs

Bridging the Gap Between CIOs and CFOs


Bridging the Gap Between CIOs and CFOs

Bridging the Gap Between CIOs and CFOs

Moving your business forward with its digital strategy requires common ground between technology leaders and financial decision makers. When the working relationship between the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is strong, digital strategies are 51% more likely to be funded1. This indicates that a strong CIO-CFO relationship is key to developing digital maturity, which gives a company a distinct advantage over competitors.

What Is a Strong CIO-CFO Relationship?

Unfortunately, only 30% of CIOs and CFOs have “strong digital partnerships,” which Gartner defines along two dimensions2. On one dimension, strong relationships are characterized by high levels of collegiality as opposed to being adversarial in nature. This means that the CIO and CFO view each other as colleagues with a shared mission, rather than as opponents that they need to overcome.

On the second dimension, relationship strength is indicated when both parties have respect for the other’s areas of expertise and unique contributions to business strategy. This means that the CFO views the CIO as more than just a technology manager or budget owner, but also as an important part of the company’s larger strategic team.

Building Stronger Alliances Between the CIO and CFO

Recognizing the importance of collegiality and mutual respect is one thing, but developing these key dimensions of a strong CIO-CFO relationship is quite another. IT and finance are both complex specialties that require enormous amounts of arcane knowledge to master. This intense specialization can understandably lead to technology leaders and financial decision makers developing what seem to be different languages.

To support your company’s efforts to build mutual understanding and respect between IT leaders and financial decision makers, we have compiled the following collection of recommendations:

Involve IT Leaders in Strategic Planning

Involving technology leaders in strategic business planning has become essential in the digital age, as technology is integral to the core functions of most businesses. However, 66% of business decision makers reported routinely purchasing new IT without the involvement of technology leaders3. This problematic practice can not only lead to poor IT decisions, but also to limitations in an organization’s capacity to manage challenges related to new tech, such as integration difficulties and low adoption.

To illustrate, 89% of “collaborators,” or companies where collaboration between IT and financial decision makers is the norm, felt very confident or extremely confident that they could handle challenges related to new technologies4. On the other hand, only 55% of “non-collaborator” business leaders expressed such confidence, suggesting that when technology leaders are not involved in IT decisions, companies are more likely to struggle with their digital initiatives.

Approach Technology Decisions in Terms of Strategic Business Goals

Although it is problematic that CIOs are so often excluded from technology decisions, the reasons for such exclusion are concerning as well. Among decision makers who avoid consulting with IT leaders regarding new technologies, 31% state that they do so because IT leaders’ decisions are not aligned with their digital transformation strategy6. This illustrates how important it is that IT leaders approach technology decisions based on the business goals that non-IT departments are trying to accomplish.

Build Empathy and Understanding

When CIOs and CFOs better understand each other’s roles and challenges, their relationships strengthen; however, such mutual understanding is often lacking. Illustrating this divide, 94% of CIOs feel that they understand how technology impacts company financials; however, only 62% of CFOs concur that their counterparts have such understanding5. On the other hand, the same study found that while 80% of CFOs think they understand how to adapt financial management to support digital strategy, only 55% of CIOs feel the same.

Possible ways of building mutual understanding between CIOs and CFOs include job shadowing; for example, technology leaders may benefit from shadowing colleagues in departments like marketing or product development. Creating integrated teams or embedding IT professionals in different departments can also help with developing technology leaders’ appreciation for business needs that may be better served by new IT.

Develop Shared Metrics

Developing shared metrics for measuring the effectiveness of new technologies can also be helpful in creating a common language across CIOs and CFOs. While technology leaders may be more likely to measure IT outcomes in terms of user behavior, CFOs are more likely to focus on relevant financial metrics. When IT user metrics do not clearly map onto metrics that indicate the business value of technology solutions, CFOs might have trouble seeing the true business value of the investment. Developing new metrics that more clearly represent the value of digital investments can help to clarify—for both parties—whether and to what extent new tech investments support business goals.

Bring in an Interpreter

One final suggestion is to involve an “interpreter”: a technology leadership consultant who can help bridge the gap between the IT and financial decision-making sectors of your business. Technology leadership “as-a-service” provides companies with seasoned technology consultants who also possess in-depth understanding of business strategy. Because technology leaders have a foot in both worlds—technology and business strategy—they can foster communication and decision making that helps to align a company’s digital strategy with its business goals and financial realities.

NexusTek’s Virtual Chief Information Officers (vCIOs) provide executive-level technology leadership that helps businesses to bridge the gap between business strategy and technology, providing the expertise and guidance needed to get the most out of your digital transformation initiatives.

Would you like to take your company’s digital strategy to new heights?


1,2,4. Gartner. (2022, July 25). How your CFO-CIO partnership drives digital funding—Or not.

3,5. The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2018). From gatekeeper to enabler: The role of IT when digital transformation is the norm.

Digital Transformation Pitfalls—And How to Avoid Them

Digital Transformation Pitfalls—And How to Avoid Them


Digital Transformation Pitfalls—And How to Avoid Them

Digital Transformation Pitfalls—And How to Avoid Them

Digital transformation is a broad term that refers to the use of digital technologies to accelerate business performance. Although at its most basic level, digital transformation entails movement from paper-based systems to digital, the connectivity enabled by cloud computing, along with technologies like AI and mobile devices, have created a world of possibilities for companies in terms of customer reach and satisfaction.

Enticed by these possibilities, many companies have jumped eagerly into digital transformation, only to find disappointment. It is estimated that as many as 70% of digital transformations fail, at least in their initial implementation1. To help your business avoid the costly failures other companies have experienced, we’ve compiled the following list of common missteps to avoid when planning and implementing your digital transformation:

Lack of Clear Goals

Digital transformation is not an end in itself; it is a process that should be targeted at improving your company’s capabilities to accomplish one or more specific business goals. Such goals are often primarily tied to enhancing customer experience, but they may also be aimed at improving cross-departmental communication, improving collaboration with external partners, increasing operational efficiency, or reducing costs. When digital transformation efforts are not aligned with specific goals, an expensive failure is almost a certainty. Revlon’s high-profile digital transformation debacle of 2018 was partially due to lack of clear vision for the project, and their stock fell 6.9% in the 24 hours after the failure was publicly announced2.

What to Do About It

  • Establish specific business goals that digital transformation can enable
  • Develop IT strategy that clearly links new technologies with specific business goals
  • Get business leaders and technology leaders “on the same page” regarding digital transformation goals and strategy

Choosing the Wrong Technology

This mistake can result when digital transformations lack specific goals, but it can also occur if you become infatuated with a specific technology just because it strikes your fancy. Some refer to this as “shiny object” syndrome, and any of us can be prone to it. However, it is essential that the tech you implement aligns closely with your identified goals for digital transformation, making it vital that you set aside any personal biases and choose the best-fit technology for your goals.

What to Do About It

  • Use team-based decision-making to prevent undue imposition of any one individual’s biases
  • Consider pros and cons of multiple solutions, technologies
  • Include external consultant for an outside perspective

Ignoring Change Management Elements

The term “digital transformation” has an almost magical feel, but don’t let the mystique of the terminology fool you into thinking that the technology itself is all your company needs to be transformed. Digital transformation is a fundamentally human process, and we humans are creatures of habit. For some employees, habits related to current technology are hard to break, and you might see resistance or pushback to new technologies. Do not underestimate the risks of this pitfall—employee resistance to new tech is the #1 barrier to successful digital transformation3.

What to Do About It

  • Enlist “early adopter” employees as change agents to encourage new tech adoption
  • Involve employees in every phase of the digital transformation
  • Make sure employees understand how the new tech will benefit them

Trying to Do Too Much Too Fast

Digital transformation is a complex process that needs to be completed thoroughly to succeed. The pressure to produce quick results has led many firms down the road to failure, as rushing the process can mean that employees are not sufficiently trained, and new systems are not tested thoroughly enough to identify glitches or points of failure. Even large companies like Haribo have had to learn this lesson the hard way. Their rushed digital transformation in 2018 resulted in supply chain issues that caused a 25% drop in sales4.

What to Do About It

  • Create a realistic roadmap that includes time for all required phases, including staff training
  • Prioritize your business goals rather than trying to do “everything” in one fell swoop
  • Include sufficient time for systems testing before going live

Allocation of Insufficient Resources

This digital transformation misstep dovetails with the pitfall discussed previously, but it is an important issue to consider separately as well. Digital transformations cannot be completed in a half-hearted way by skimping on resources, which can happen even in resource-heavy environments. Hewlett-Packard’s famous digital transformation fail in 2004 is a prime example. Insufficient resource planning and poor coordination across departments resulted in the company losing about 5 times what it invested in its digital transformation5.

What to Do About It

  • Create a realistic budget that includes costs of testing, training, and maintaining new systems
  • Determine a realistic timeline that allows for all phases and occasional setbacks
  • Consider external consultation to accurately scope and structure the project

NexusTek provides executive-level technology leadership services, strategic IT consulting and assessment, and ongoing managed IT services to support customers’ digital transformations from initial conception and planning all the way through implementation, testing, and maintenance.

Is your business ready to advance into new realms of possibility through digital transformation?


1. Deloitte. (2020). Digital transformation: Are people still our greatest asset?

2,5. Global Digital Assurance. (2022, May 18). 5 high-profile digital transformation fails.

3. Economist Intelligence Unit. (2018). In brief: Managing the pace of technological change.

4. Kimberling, E. (2021, April 8). Top 10 digital transformation failures of all time, selected by an ERP expert witness. Third Stage Consulting Group.

Recognizing and Preventing IT Employee Burnout

Recognizing and Preventing IT Employee Burnout


Recognizing and Preventing IT Employee Burnout

Recognizing and Preventing IT Employee Burnout

The experience of burnout goes beyond simply having a bad day—burnout is a psychological syndrome that results from chronic exposure to adverse or stressful conditions in the workplace. As a business leader, it is important to understand that when your employees are burned out, both they and your business suffer. A Gallup survey revealed that employees who are experiencing burnout are 63% more likely to call in sick, 23% more likely to visit the emergency room, and 2.6 times more likely to be actively seeking another job1.

Many leaders recognize that IT professionals as a group may be at higher risk for burnout, but would you know how to recognize the signs of burnout in your IT staff? Spotting the signs of burnout early and addressing the underlying causes is vital for supporting your IT team’s emotional health and for promoting retention of your top technology professionals. Alarmingly, 42% of IT employees experiencing burnout expressed an intention to leave their jobs within the next 6 months2.

Recognizing the Signs of Burnout

Scholars who specialize in burnout research often describe burnout in terms of three dimensions. These are (a) exhaustion, (b) cynicism, and (c) reduced professional efficacy:

  • Exhaustion: Exhaustion is the individual stress element of burnout. When employees are experiencing exhaustion, they may feel depleted or overextended. Importantly, a recent study found that 62% of IT workers reported feeling “physically and emotionally drained,” indicating a vulnerability to burnout3. IT employees experiencing exhaustion may show signs like increased absenteeism and lower energy, and express feelings of being overwhelmed.
  • Cynicism: Cynicism constitutes the interpersonal element of burnout. Employees who are experiencing this aspect of burnout may feel distant or disconnected from their jobs and coworkers. They may feel cynical about the importance of their jobs or the company as a whole, feeling as though their work has little meaning or value. Unfortunately, 43% of IT professionals reported feeling less engaged with their work, with 27% expressing a lack of value or purpose in their work, reflecting the experience of cynicism4. IT professionals experiencing cynicism may express negative views about their jobs or coworkers, and exhibit frustration and irritability.
  • Reduced Professional Efficacy: A diminished sense of professional efficacy is the self-evaluative element of burnout. When employees feel a lower sense of professional efficacy, they may start to feel negatively about their own performance on the job. They may feel as though they are not up to the demands of their job, or that they are not as productive as they should be. Of concern, 51% of IT professionals feel that they are accomplishing less than they should, and about 33% feel inefficient on the job, suggesting perceptions of lower professional efficacy5. When feeling lower levels of professional efficacy, IT employees may begin to perform at a lower level, have trouble concentrating, or have difficulty with creativity.

Preventing Burnout in IT Employees

Taking effective steps to decrease the likelihood of burnout in IT employees requires understanding the factors that lead to its development. Researchers have found that three of most common factors that predict burnout are (a) unmanageable workload, (b) unreasonable time pressure, and (c) lack of manager support6. Accordingly, a recent study of IT workers found that 2 in 5 were at risk of burnout, due to longer work hours, poor work-life balance, and more demanding workloads7.

An effective strategy for addressing these predictors of burnout in your IT team is co-managing your IT infrastructure with a managed services provider (MSP). Partnering with an MSP can address predictors of burnout in multiple ways:

  • Managed help desks take day-to-day, urgent requests for technical support off your IT employees’ hands, reducing time pressure. Relying on a managed help desk also reduces the overall workload for your in-house IT team, reducing the likelihood of burnout.
  • Proactive support with routine maintenance tasks (e.g., updates, patching) shifts time-consuming tasks off your IT team’s to-do list, making their workloads more manageable.
  • Taking action to reduce your IT team’s workload and time pressure demonstrates manager support for their well-being, which is also important for preventing burnout.

Talented IT professionals can be challenging to find, and showing that you care about their experiences of their jobs is an important part of an effective retention plan. Co-managing your IT infrastructure with an MSP is a practical way of helping your IT professionals to avoid developing burnout, helping you to hang onto your top IT talent.

Would you like to discuss how partnering with an MSP can improve your IT team’s experience?


1,6. Gallup. (2020, March 13). Employee burnout: The biggest myth.

2,3,4,5,7. ZDNet. (2022, March 4). Tech workers face a ‘burnout crisis’ unless employers act now

Leading Remote Teams Effectively: 8 Do’s and 2 Don’ts

Leading Remote Teams Effectively: 8 Do’s and 2 Don’ts


Leading Remote Teams Effectively: 8 Do’s and 2 Don’ts

Leading Remote Teams Effectively: 8 Do’s and 2 Don’ts

Remote work became a necessity for many firms during the pandemic, but its continued prevalence suggests that the advent of COVID-19 merely accelerated a trend that was already on the horizon. Among workers who report that their jobs can be done from home, 59% are currently working on a remote basis; this compares with 23% who did so before the pandemic hit1. A major change, however, is that most employees who now work from home do so out of preference, not necessity.

The benefits for employees who have the freedom to work on a fully remote or hybrid basis are many. A Gallup poll found that the top 3 benefits cited by remote employees are (a) lack of commute, (b) flexibility, and (c) enhanced well-being2. These considerable benefits have influenced many businesses to continue offering remote options, to the delight of employees.

With remote and hybrid work becoming “business as usual,” organizations are increasingly turning their attention to questions of how to adapt best practices to the remote modality, and an important area of such focus is leadership. Specifically, how does one translate effective leadership practices to remote working environments? On this topic, we offer the following “do’s and don’ts” of remote leadership:

Remote Leadership Do’s

1. Build Trust
A recurrent finding across research on remote team leadership is that trust is of the utmost importance3. Humans tend to evaluate others’ trustworthiness by observing their actions. With remote teams, we have little opportunity to observe one another, but effective leaders adjust for this by regularly sharing progress updates, keeping team members informed of the status of ongoing projects, and helping team members understand how their actions relate to the larger goals of the company. For new team members in particular, leaders who respond promptly to emails and requests are perceived as more trustworthy.

2. Hold Regular Team Videoconference Meetings
Many employees love the flexibility of asynchronous work, but it is vital for team cohesion that remote employees have routine real-time communication. Video conferencing is an essential technology, as it captures more of the nuances of communication (e.g., facial expression, gestures, intonation) compared with phone calls or chat. Being able to see, hear, and interact with each other in real-time allows team members to develop relationships and group trust. Leaders who show higher skill with digital communication technologies are also viewed as more effective by employees4.

3. Hold Regular One-on-Ones
In an office setting, leaders and their employees may be able to pop into each other’s offices for brief check-ins on an informal basis. But with remote work, leaders need to be more intentional by scheduling regular one-on-one meetings with each of their team members. This helps to build trust and accountability, as well as providing leaders the opportunity to discuss feedback or suggestions. One-on-one meetings also provide employees the opportunity to express perspectives they might not feel comfortable sharing in group meetings.

4. Consider Time Zone & Cultural Differences
Remote teams may be both geographically and culturally diverse, and leading a remote team often means taking important differences into account, such as language differences, holidays, and cultural traditions. When teams are spread across multiple time zones, meetings should be scheduled at times that work for all team members, to the extent possible.

5. Encourage Social Interaction
Socializing helps employees to build trusting relationships, which foster more cohesive and productive teams. Rather than discouraging social chatting as “off task” behavior, effective remote leaders encourage it. You might set aside time during meetings for social chat, or even schedule purely social virtual activities to help team members connect.

6. Provide Reliable Technology
It may seem surprising to include technology on a list of leadership “do’s,” but remote employees interpret the trustworthiness of an organization by the quality of the technology they are provided5. For remote work, having reliable cloud services is key, as intermittent downtime sends a negative message to employees about the quality of the company’s leadership. It is similarly important to ensure that data backups are maintained and retrievable in the event of disaster.

7. Use Shared Files
When employees are dispersed, it is important that they all be enabled to view the same files at the same time, making file-sharing software an essential. For example, shared task planners are useful for communicating expectations and holding remote employees accountable. Sharing documents using videoconferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams is especially handy when multiple team members must collaborate on developing and editing a document.

8. Give Remote Employees Access to Company Data
Effective leaders give their employees the resources they need to be successful, and remote employees cannot get by on email attachments alone. They need access to the same data repositories as on-site staff to be equally productive, which requires that companies institute zero trust security measures.

Remote Leadership Don’ts

1. Don’t Micromanage
For some managers, the inability to see employees throughout the day causes them to feel concerned about loafing or underperformance. If you’re in this group, don’t give into the temptation to micromanage, as this does more harm than good. Instead, set expectations, use communication methods and task monitoring as described above, and monitor employees’ outcomes above all.

2. Don’t Become Intrusive
Just because employees work from home, that does not mean they should be available for work at all times. Unless the employee’s job requires after-hours availability, don’t intrude upon your employees’ personal time with work-related instructions or requests.

NexusTek offers a wide array of solutions to support cohesive and productive remote/hybrid teams—from high-uptime cloud solutions to Microsoft Modern Workplace applications, with the cyber security and managed IT services your business needs to keep your systems running securely and reliably.

Interested in IT solutions to elevate your remote team leadership practices to the next level?


  1. Parker, K., Horowitz, J. M., & Minkin, R. (2022, February 16). COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape work in America. Pew Research Center.
  2. Saad, L., & Wigert, B. (2021, October 13). Remote work persisting and trending permanent. Gallup.
  3. Ford, R. C., Piccolo, R. F., & Ford, L. R. (2017). Strategies for building effective virtual teams: Trust is key. Business Horizons, 60(1), 25-34.
  4. Bizilj, S., Boštjančič, E., & Sočan, G. (2021). Perceived efficacy of virtual leadership in the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. Changing Societies & Personalities, 5(3), 389-404.
  5. Ford, R. C., Piccolo, R. F., & Ford, L. R. (2017). Strategies for building effective virtual teams: Trust is key. Business Horizons, 60(1), 25-34.

The Key to Retaining (and Attracting) Top IT Talent

The Key to Retaining (and Attracting) Top IT Talent


The Key to Retaining (and Attracting) Top IT Talent

The Key to Retaining (and Attracting) Top IT Talent

Hiring managers who have struggled with employee attraction and retention as the Great Resignation drags on can tell you that turnover can be a nightmare to deal with. Not only does your company spend, on average, about 30% of the salary for a position to rehire for it1, but your workplace experiences a loss of skills, knowledge, and working relationships every time an employee leaves the team.

The pain of loss is severe when it comes to IT team members. These are the professionals who understand the technologies that make your business run, the ones who keep your systems healthy, safe, and operational. When you lose your top IT talent, you feel it. Compounding this situation, technology employees tend to turn over at higher rates compared with those in most other job categories. A study from 2018 found that technology workers had a turnover rate of 13.2%, which was the highest rate of turnover of all industries2.

Unfortunately, the turnover rate for IT employees has only continued to climb, with a recent study documenting a rate of 21.3%3. If you are like many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) competing for tech talent in the midst of a highly competitive job market, you have probably found yourself looking for new ways to better attract and retain top IT talent.

When you start with an understanding of why technology workers leave, and what attracts them to new employers, you can design attraction and retention strategies that work:

Provide Opportunities for Advancement

In a survey of IT professionals that asked about their reasons for turnover, the most common reason for leaving previous jobs—shared by 45% of respondents—was lack of opportunity for advancement4. This makes promoting from within the company an important retention strategy to consider.

Support Career Path Development

In addition to promoting IT employees to higher positions within your company, it is also important to provide access to developmental experiences that help to strengthen an IT employee’s skills and capacities in their chosen career path. This is so important that 59% of IT professionals reported that this is what attracted them to a new employer5.

Offer Competitive Pay

If you guessed that pay was the most influential attraction and retention factor, you’re in good company, but the truth is that pay ranked below advancement opportunities and career path support. Interestingly, a higher proportion of IT employees (54%) felt that pay was compelling when choosing a new employer, compared with only 34% who reported leaving a job because of dissatisfaction with pay6.

Provide Opportunities to Make an Impact

Another factor that was important to IT professionals was the degree to which they are able to make an impact on their company. Specifically, 42% of IT professionals reported that this possibility is what drew them to new employers7. This indicates that environments in which IT employees are able to stretch, make improvements, and exercise their creativity are more attractive than those in which the IT role is more repetitive and focused on maintaining the status quo.

Avoid Work Overload

Finally, stress and burnout are known predictors of turnover among IT talent. Research established that work overload can influence IT workers to feel less committed to their organizations, which then increases the likelihood of turnover8. Even IT positions that seem attractive at first glance will eventually lose their appeal if job demands are too heavy on a chronic basis.

The Key to Strengthen Your IT Talent Attraction & Retention Strategy

Attraction and retention strategies are often developed using solely in-house resources, but many SMBs have found that partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) strengthens their ability to attract and retain their own in-house IT talent. This is because the MSP often assumes responsibility for routine, repetitive, time-consuming IT tasks, allowing in-house IT professionals to:

  • Pursue new training and mentorships that build their career path capacities;
  • Take on more challenging, creative IT projects that make an impact on their companies;
  • Increase their skillsets in ways that lead to promotion;
  • Avoid burnout by maintaining a reasonable workload and pace.

Co-managing your IT in partnership with an MSP allows you to create working conditions that are more attractive to top IT talent—and that help to retain them once they sign on. Containing turnover costs relieves pressure on your budget, allowing you to offer more competitive pay for IT employees. In these ways, partnering with an MSP can be key to retaining your top IT talent.

Interested in exploring managed services as an attraction and retention strategy for IT talent?


  1. Work Institute. (2020). 2020 retention report.

  2. Booz, M. (2018, March 15). These 3 industries have the highest talent turnover rates. LinkedIn.

  3. Silverman, R. (2020). Retail sector wages are rising due to higher employee turnover and e-commerce demand. Aon.

  4. 5. 6. 7. Thomson, L. (n.d.). How to attract and retain top technology talent. LinkedIn.
  1. Harden, G., Boakye, K. G., & Ryan, S. (2018). Turnover intention of technology professionals: A social exchange theory perspective.Journal of Computer Information Systems, 58(4), 291-300.

Structuring Remote and Hybrid Work to Drive Innovation

Structuring Remote and Hybrid Work to Drive Innovation


Structuring Remote and Hybrid Work to Drive Innovation

Structuring Remote and Hybrid Work to Drive Innovation

With the restrictions of the pandemic mostly behind us, businesses that were forced to adopt remote work are now free to decide whether to continue with remote work or return to in-person work. Recent Foundry research on the “future of work” reveals that, even with the newly regained freedom to restore pre-pandemic work conditions, remote work is here to stay: 68% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) intend to retain either hybrid or fully remote work options into the future1.

The decision to offer remote or hybrid work on an ongoing basis is certain to please employees, and many employers have found that offering remote or hybrid options has become central to staying competitive in a tough employment market. And this is for good reason: Remote employees reported higher levels of satisfaction on all eight dimensions of “employee experience” in a recent survey, from work-life balance to productivity2. But in spite of these bright points, many leaders still have their reservations when it comes to remote work.

Does Remote or Hybrid Work Degrade Innovation?

Offering remote or hybrid work means happier employees and better retention—what’s not to love about that? If you ask executive-level leaders, however, many will tell you that the trend toward remote work jeopardizes innovation—and hence their firm’s bottom line. In fact, 51% of C-level executives expressed concern about the adverse effects of remote work on innovation3. A similar proportion of SMB leaders expressed concern that remote work dynamics fail to stimulate the type of interactive processes that foster collaboration4.

Leaders’ concerns about impoverished interaction and dampened innovation are intertwined. For decades, physical proximity has been viewed as an essential factor in facilitating innovation, mainly because employees are more inclined to converse with one another if they are physically closer to each other. But, are impromptu chats truly the main driver of innovation? An examination of the research suggests a more complex dynamic.

Facilitators of Innovation for Remote and Hybrid Workers

To more directly answer the question posed above, the fact is that in-person interaction is not required for innovation, and in fact, virtual teams may be even more innovative than in-person teams. However, the switch from office-based to virtual work does undeniably change team communication patterns, and there is a risk of silo effects or even individual isolation with remote work, which could certainly dampen innovation.

The important lesson to take from the research is that leaders have to be more intentional in prompting innovation with remote or hybrid teams. The following practices are recommended:

  • Diversity: Whether in-office or remote, diversity is still an important factor in promoting innovation. One study found that businesses that were more diverse outperformed their less-diverse competition by 36%, an outcome that researchers attributed to higher levels of innovation in diverse firms5. Because remote work options allow employers to hire from a broader geographic region, companies may be able to boost their diversity by offering remote work.

  • Moderated hybrid meetings: Teams that innovate well are those that make sure all voices are heard. Hybrid meetings, where some team members are in-office and some participate via video conferencing, run the risk of excluding virtual members. To counter this risk, designating a moderator is recommended. Having an employee monitor the remote chat ensures that attempts to contribute by remote members are not overlooked by the in-person team members.

  • Regular videoconference meetings: Innovation thrives within an environment of trust, and regular contact with team members is important to build this trust. Remote and hybrid work lends itself well to asynchronous work, which helps some employees maintain work-life balance. But maintaining a certain degree of real-time communication is important for building the group relationships that give rise to innovation.

  • Asynchronous brainstorming: For many leaders, the notion of “team innovation” is synonymous with the group brainstorming process, which derives its synergies from in-person interaction. Because virtual meetings have a different “flow” and interactive dynamic, many fear that replacing in-person meetings with virtual meetings will stifle the brainstorming process. The surprising news is that asynchronous brainstorming using virtual communication tools actually outperforms in-person brainstorming in terms of numbers of ideas generated6.

    Asynchronous brainstorming begins by providing team members the topics to think about on their own. Each team member then submits their ideas anonymously (e.g., using applications like Forms). All ideas are then circulated among the whole team, with further rounds of iteration proceeding as desired. Finally, the team comes together in a video conference session to review the final set of ideas.
  • Planned spontaneity: Some employees feel that the loss of impromptu “water cooler moments” with remote work reduces their innovative output. To accommodate employees who thrive on spontaneous interactions, some businesses leverage the breakout session functionality of video conferencing platforms to create brief meetings for randomly-grouped employees. Although the meeting itself is planned, employees never know who will be in their breakout session, adding an element of serendipity to their encounters.

  • Virtual whiteboards: Collaboration platforms like Teams allow you to create chat channels that are dedicated to specific topics or types of conversation. To create a venue for innovation among remote or hybrid workers, some firms designate specific chat channels as “virtual whiteboards,” where employees are free to randomly suggest new ideas for solutions, contribute ideas for solving problems, or evaluate others’ contributions. One firm, Rite-Solutions, created a virtual whiteboard and allocated $10,000 in virtual currency that employees were encouraged to “invest” in ideas that had been suggested. At the end of its first year, the virtual whiteboard yielded ideas that accounted for 50% of the company’s new business growth7.

NexusTek offers the full spectrum of solutions your business needs to create a vibrant and innovative remote/hybrid team—from cloud infrastructure to Microsoft Modern Workplace applications, to managed services and cyber security to keep your systems running smoothly and securely.

Would you like to discuss IT solutions to facilitate innovation for your remote or hybrid team?


  1.  Foundry. (2022). Future of work study.
  2. Molla, R. (2022, February 1). Remote work isn’t the problem. Work is. Vox.
  3. Northeastern University. (2021). Employers’ post-COVID business strategy and the race for talent: A view from the C-suite.
  4. Foundry. (2022). Future of work study.
  5. McKinsey. (2022, June 6). How virtual work is accelerating innovation.
  6. Tsipursky, G. (2021, October 14). Remote work can be better for innovation than in-person meetings. Scientific American.
  7. Sullivan, J., & Cox, M. (2020, June 1). Increasing innovation among your remote workers. DJS.

Succeeding in a VUCA World: Give Your Business an Edge

Succeeding in a VUCA World: Give Your Business an Edge


Succeeding in a VUCA World: Give Your Business an Edge

Succeeding in a VUCA World: Give Your Business an Edge

In the modern world, companies of all sizes must contend with a business environment that changes by the minute and is full of surprises. “It’s a VUCA world,” some may say, in reference to the often confounding conditions that businesses now must manage to stay afloat. But what exactly is VUCA? In this article, we’ll answer this question, helping to clarify how you can equip your business to cope with the challenges of a VUCA world.

What Does VUCA Mean?

VUCA is an acronym that stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. The term was introduced by the U.S. Army War College to describe the global environment that resulted from the end of the Cold War1. As business leaders began to recognize that VUCA also characterized the modern external and internal business environments they face, the term came into use in the business world as well.

V = Volatility

Magnified by technological changes and globalization, volatility refers to the modern business world’s tendency toward constant change of ever-increasing rapidity. Although volatility does not make it difficult to understand changes, it does challenge business leaders to keep pace.

U = Uncertainty

Uncertainty refers to a tendency toward poor predictability in the external environment. In other words, it is becoming harder to predict when important events will happen using yesterday’s knowledge and paradigms.

C = Complexity

Complexity in the business world arises from the multiplicity of interacting factors that make cause-effect relationships difficult to determine. Complexity therefore creates challenges to decision-making because of the potential for unexpected reactions. Stated differently, where conditions are complex, an action can have consequences that are not foreseen. 

A = Ambiguity

Finally, ambiguity refers to conditions in which there is a lack of clarity about a specific problem. Such lack of clarity is not due to a lack of information, but instead arises when information is difficult to interpret. This may be due to contradictory information, multiple viewpoints, or lack of precedent2.

Technologies to Thrive in a VUCA World

As technological advancements have played a key role in the development of a VUCA world, it is perhaps a bit ironic that technologies can also help your business to cope and thrive in these turbulent times. Following are suggested solutions for managing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

Cloud-Based Infrastructure:

  • Businesses that use solely on-premises IT must upgrade their hardware regularly to keep pace with relentless technological advancement. Moving to the cloud, or moving a portion of your infrastructure to the cloud (i.e., adopting a hybrid cloud model), reduces capital expenses associated with hardware upgrades while ensuring that your business has access to the latest technologies.
  • Cloud-based infrastructure scales easily as your computing needs increase or decrease, allowing your business to respond nimbly to rapidly changing markets.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provides your business with on-demand access to cloud-hosted applications that are fully managed by the cloud provider. SaaS helps with managing volatility specifically related to technological advancements, as you always have the latest versions of applications and never miss an update.

Business Continuity Planning and Backup Services:

  • Disasters and cyber attacks are unpredictable by nature, and both can result in data loss. Whether you use a cloud-based or on-premises infrastructure, data backup services ensure that you always have a copy of your business data, no matter what happens.
  • Unpredictable events can also knock your critical business applications offline, costing most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 per hour3. Business continuity planning helps your business to prepare, making sure that your critical business applications keep running regardless of unforeseen circumstances.

Cyber Security Monitoring and Business Intelligence Software:

  • Recent research reveals that 58% of businesses make decisions based on outdated information4, a risky practice in a fast-changing world. Business intelligence software (like Microsoft Power BI) provides your company with streaming data, allowing you to maintain real-time visibility into your company’s sales, production, and other operations. This helps you to keep your finger on the pulse of your business so that when changes happen, you find out fast. Real-time data analysis can also help to clarify key variables that may be driving desired or undesired outcomes, taking some of the complexity out of decision-making.
  • When making security decisions, relying on your “gut feeling” or strategies that have worked in the past can lead you down disastrous pathways in a VUCA world. Cyber security monitoring gives you real-time visibility of your network and endpoints to ensure they’re secure and provides alerts on immediate threats, while also collecting valuable data on cyber threats to help support your cyber strategy.

Modern Workplace Solutions:

  • Ambiguity can often be alleviated through group discussion, which video conferencing and collaboration solutions make quick and easy, regardless of where team members are located.
  • Questions of social and cultural significance can be highly complex as well as ambiguous. The sharing of multiple perspectives among team members increases awareness and empathy, reducing both ambiguity and complexity. This in turn helps you to make decisions that are socially and culturally appropriate, and that avoid unintended consequences.

Co-Managed or Fully Managed IT Services:

  • SMBs in particular tend to have minimal IT resources, with IT management tasks often falling on the shoulders of top leaders and managers. Shifting your IT management to a managed services provider allows you to redistribute work so that key thinkers can remain focused on your business’s strategic problems.

Are You Interested in Learning About IT Solutions to Cope and Thrive in a VUCA World?


  1. Sinha, D., & Sinha, S. (2020). Managing in a VUCA world: Possibilities and pitfalls. Journal of Technology Management for Growing Economies, 11(1), 17-21.
  2. Wood, W. (2020, November 11). What is VUCA and why is it important?
  3. (2020, May 13). Infrascale survey highlights the heavy costs of business downtime.
  4. (2020, September 29). Exasol research finds 58% of organizations make decisions based on outdated data.

Which IT Solutions Are a Perfect Fit for Growing Businesses?

Which IT Solutions Are a Perfect Fit for Growing Businesses?


Which IT Solutions Are a Perfect Fit for Growing Businesses?

Which IT Solutions Are a Perfect Fit for Growing Businesses?

Growing businesses face a unique collection of challenges. There is never enough time in the day, your budget only goes so far, and opportunities for growth are often coupled with overwhelming demands on your company’s resources. IT systems can help small and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders to manage growing pains more effectively, but only 18% of SMB leaders feel confident in their ability to implement technologies in a strategic manner1.

If selected carefully, IT solutions truly can help to reduce strain on growing businesses. In particular, the cloud-based services referred to “as-a-service” solutions are perfectly tailored to the needs of growing businesses. Common solutions in this category include:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): IaaS refers to on-demand computing, storage, and networking resources that can be accessed via the internet.

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): SaaS refers to specific software applications that be accessed through the internet rather than by installing the programs directly onto your devices.

  • Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS): Also termed virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), DaaS is also accessed via the internet but includes a full suite of applications that together make up an employee’s desktop.

Not only are these services delivered in the cloud, but they are managed by an IT services provider that will handle maintenance and regular updates. To understand why these cloud-based, as-a-service solutions are such a great fit for growing businesses, it is helpful to evaluate them in relation to critical factors for such businesses: cost, IT expertise, time investment, flexibility, and scalability.

Make Efficient Use of Smaller Budgets

In an investigation of barriers to adoption of new technologies by SMBs, the most frequently cited barrier—reported by 68% of leaders—was budget constraints2. Solutions like SaaS and IaaS are more affordable for smaller businesses because their pay-as-you-go pricing means that you only pay for the amount of licensing or data your business needs. Because payment is proportioned according to usage, growing businesses can obtain top-grade software and cloud computing resources with less expense compared to the equivalent on-premises software and hardware.

No Need for IT Expertise

Growing businesses typically have limited IT capacities, and in many cases, they lack an IT department altogether. On average, SMB leaders fulfil the responsibilities of 3 to 4 organizational roles2, which often includes IT management roles. As-a-service solutions are a great fit when IT expertise is lacking or in short supply, because they do not require that you set up and maintain complicated networking and hardware. If you know how to connect your device to the internet, you have the requisite level of IT expertise to set up and maintain IaaS, SaaS, or DaaS environments.

Time-Saving Implementation & Maintenance

For leaders of SMBs, insufficient time is one of the top 3 constraints on business growth2. This makes the fast and convenient nature of as-a-service solutions attractive to time-strapped leaders. Because applications, storage, computing, and networking are accessible through the internet, the setup process is just a matter of logging in. In addition, the service provider takes care of patches and updates for you, taking another time-consuming task off your to-do list.

Access Business Data Anywhere, Any Time

SMB leaders put in heavy hours, which is easier to manage if you can work from anywhere. DaaS or VDI solutions make this possible, providing users with their full desktop experience on any device and from any location with an internet connection. VDI solutions also allow growing businesses to offer remote or hybrid work, which has become essential for staying competitive in a tough job market.

Scale Usage Level Easily

With a growing business, it is important to be prepared for increases in demand while also keeping your costs as low as possible. Reflecting the difficulty of striking this balance, 50% of SMB leaders cited scaling technology as a major challenge to growth for the next 2 years2.

With SaaS and VDI, you can quickly and easily increase the number of software licenses without buying and installing new software; you just contact your service provider and submit a request. Similarly, IaaS data usage can be expanded with short notice, allowing you to quickly jump on growth opportunities that require greater computing power.

On the other hand, seasonal downturns or unexpected drops in business require downward scaling, which is just as quick and easy to accomplish. Because as-a-service solutions are subscription-based, you have the freedom to decrease usage levels as needed to control costs. This helps growing business leaders to avoid paying for unused software licenses and hardware, which is always a risk with on-premises deployments.

Offering a variety of cloud-based solutions including SaaS, DaaS/VDI, and IaaS, NexusTek supports SMBs to implement IT infrastructure that is tailor-made for growth.

Are you interested in exploring IT solutions for your growing business?


  1. (2019). Tech buying trends among small and medium-size businesses.
  2. (2019). Small & medium business trends report.