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As 2020 drew to a close, it was time for many organisations to take stock and begin to plan ahead to 2021 and beyond. What are some of the key lessons 2020 taught us? And what should we be taking with us into this new year?

Cloud isn’t going anywhere

In fact, its use will only increase. Where consumers had long been familiar with the use of cloud, the business world has been forced to catch up in the digitally accelerated environment of 2020. Remote working has boomed - official figures suggest that homeworking has risen in the UK from 5% before the pandemic to around half (45%) at the beginning of the lockdown, and it continues to remain high. Cloud has enabled this new model, providing the agility, flexibility, on-demand services and access to tools you wouldn’t get otherwise, in a much more cost effective manner than more traditional on-premise solutions.

We’re most likely facing a world where hybrid working will become the norm. Gone are the days of being officebound 9-5. It’s likely that many working lives will be much more fluid, with a mix of home and office based working. Is your organisation fully prepared for this new working model, and all the connection, collaboration and security implications it entails? Do you have peace of mind that you are working with the leading vendors in the connectivity market such as Extreme Networks?

Security in particular should be at the forefront of every organisation’s mind, especially in the context of hybrid working. With over 96% of mobile users having communication or social apps on their phones, maintaining a robust security posture in these more muddy waters is essential for the safety of users from both a personal and a corporate perspective. Security should be integral to every stage of the decision-making process, evaluating the potential impact to minimise any risk, and using key vendors such as Rapid 7, Palo Alto and Radware to deliver the best protection possible..

Being a Teams player

 2020 was the year of Microsoft Teams. By Q3 2020, Teams reached 115 million daily average users - impressive growth if you consider that the company only had about 75 million daily users in mid 2020. Off the shelf Teams can provide many organisations with everything they need, but there are functional areas of the business that cannot be covered with MS Teams alone. When you delve a little deeper it becomes clear that what they need is the user friendly, familiar front end of Teams that’s supercharged behind the scenes with the functionality of UCaaS and CCaaS solutions from the likes of 8x8, Mitel and Gamma.These types of organisations should look to integrate Teams at the front end with a robust voice platform that offers stability and enhanced functionality now that we are in 2021.