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Best Practices for 2024 IT Budgeting

IT Budgeting best practices

According to Gartner, worldwide spending on IT is expected to increase to more than $5 trillion in 2024, as businesses strengthen their reliance on technology to streamline efficiencies, mitigate risk, meet growing compliance expectations and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Whether you’re outlaying investments for your in-house IT team to execute, choosing the right managed IT service provider to partner with or planning a combination of the two, preparing your 2024 IT budget should be a thoughtful and considerate process that balances the unique needs of your organization with your overall strategic priorities for the coming year.

Tips to Guide Your Strategic IT Budget Planning

Consider your business’s current objectives and challenges.

Preparing your IT budget is an exercise that can only be effective when you align it with your business’s strategic priorities and goals. Solicit input from management and your functional business leaders to ensure your budget items not only address today’s pain points but plan for tomorrow’s goals.

Here are some simple examples to demonstrate how to align your IT budget with business priorities:

  • Accelerate productivity & collaboration –> leverage Microsoft 365, Azure, SharePoint and other collaborative cloud resources
  • Enable a secure remote or hybrid workspace –> allocate resources for home office equipment, enhance VPN connectivity
  • Mitigate disruptions, downtime & risk –> invest in cyber threat monitoring and detection tools as well as employee security awareness training
  • Free up employee bandwidth –> outsource daily IT administration or after-hours help desk support to alleviate the burden on in-house staff
  • Optimize cost management –> Virtualize server infrastructure and lean into a public or private cloud model that easily scales resources up or down

align your IT budget with your business initiatives

Prioritize cybersecurity risk management (of course).

A significant portion of your 2024 IT budget should be set aside for cybersecurity and data protection. The landscape is evolving at a rapid pace and is impacted – seemingly daily – by savvy threats, growing regulatory requirements, increasing cyber insurance costs, and other changing dynamics.

Your business will need to plan for continuous investments in security management to ensure you not only assess your ongoing risk factors and vulnerabilities, but also evolve your technology over time to keep pace with innovation. Think about the people, processes and tools you may need to help your company prevent, detect and respond to cybersecurity threats.

  • Prevention: risk assessments, patch management, perimeter security, data discovery, zero trust network access
  • Detection: threat monitoring and managed detection, SIEM and EDR, employee awareness training
  • Response: SOC as a Service, backup and recovery systems, cyber liability insurance

Step up your IT compliance, risk & governance game.

Regulatory compliance requirements are constantly heating up, and depending on which industry you operate in, you probably need to plan for investments in IT compliance management in 2024. Not only are expectations for cyber risk management programs becoming more stringent, but the direct financial plus auxiliary cost of ongoing management, reporting, disclosure, vendor risk management, etc. is steadily increasing.

Regardless of industry, you can expect investments in governance, risk and compliance (GRC) management to include some of all of the following elements:

  • Annual IT risk assessments (as well as more frequent vulnerability scans and penetration testing)
  • User security and access controls
  • Written policy development for cyber program, incident response, business continuity plan, etc.
  • Routine employee awareness training
  • Threat monitoring and prevention tools
  • A compliance-as-a-service platform to centralize documentation and ongoing management

Don’t disregard the need for humans.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is only going to become a larger part of your IT strategy as we look to 2024 and beyond, but don’t overlook the necessary role that humans play in managing your technology and mitigating risk. While you may plan for AI or machine learning (ML) investments next year, be sure to consider the level of support you may need from in-house or outsourced teams such as:

  • Security Operations Center: SOC analysts leverage AI/ML tools to make their cyber response efforts more efficient, but leaving security detection and incident response solely to technology may not be wise. While advanced tools like SIEM and SOAR can automate threat response capabilities, trained SOC analysts perform critical forensic analysis and interface with users to effectively communicate ongoing risks, remediation efforts and strategic implications to the business.
  • Managed IT support and escalation: Technology is great – except when it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. In those cases, you need access to trusted IT support professionals who can properly assess your needs and help you resolve IT issues that hinder your productivity and success. Even with internal IT resources, you may need or want to budget for outsourced escalation services to further augment your team when complex issues arise.
  • vCISO consultation: There’s a lot managed cybersecurity service offerings can do to help your business mitigate risks and keep data secure, but sometimes it’s beneficial to speak to qualified security resources who can answer questions, guide decision-making and help you consider the broader context of your security program. Access to a virtual Chief Information Security Officer can be a valuable resource either on a recurring basis or ad hoc to support strategic initiatives.

Plan for worst-case scenarios.

While most of your annual IT budget will account proactively for necessary infrastructure, software licenses and advanced technology to power your operations and mitigate risk, you should also plan to allocate spend for reactive technology measures. Unfortunately, the worst can (and sometimes does) happen, so you’ll need to ensure your business is prepared to respond in the event of a cybersecurity incident, unexpected disaster scenario or other serious event. Some specific budget items to consider include:

  • Cloud backup and disaster recovery (BDR) services to ensure rapid restoration of your data in the event of ransomware, technology disruption or another disaster
  • Breach recovery and remediation services to support any necessary legal, technical or operational implications associated with an incident or cyberattack
  • Cyber liability insurance to protect against potential financial losses resulting from data compromise, cyber extortion or identity theft

IT Budget Considerations

As you think through the areas noted above and prepare your 2024 technology budget, be sure to consider how your future investments may be impacted by the following factors:

Internal Staffing & Bandwidth
Depending on the size of your organization, you may need to significantly outsource IT to a trusted MSP like Omega Systems. But even if you have internal IT resources, you may want to consider additional co-managed IT support to extend their effectiveness. Think about your team’s utilization and if there’s value in leveraging an MSP/MSSP for escalation services, special projects, cloud migrations or other initiatives.

Age of Current Infrastructure
If you’re operating with legacy infrastructure, build refreshes into next year’s budget or consider the benefits of infrastructure modernization. By migrating your environment to the cloud, you can take advantage of increased flexibility and scalability as well as optimize costs for the long-term.

Growth Plans
Speaking of scalability, be sure to take any future growth plans into account as part of your budgeting process. If you’re planning to grow organically, expand to new markets or territories or acquire other companies in the near future, build in scalability that accounts for future hardware, licensing and application costs over the next 12 months.

Need help with your 2024 technology budget and planning?

Omega Systems is a trusted MSP and IT advisor to more than 750 businesses across the U.S. and internationally. Our technology, security and compliance professionals can help you assess your current IT environment and prepare an IT budget that aligns with your overall strategic priorities for 2024 and beyond. Contact our team to get started.

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