Housing associations are increasingly reliant on technology to carry out their day-to-day operations. From managing tenant information to maintaining properties, IT plays a crucial role in the success of these organisations. However, without proper IT support, housing associations can face a range of challenges that can impact their ability to serve their residents effectively. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of proactive IT support for housing associations and how it can help them overcome these challenges.
Common IT Issues for Housing Associations
Housing associations face a range of IT issues that can impact their operations. Some of the most common issues include:
• Network and connectivity issues: Housing associations rely on network connectivity to manage resident information, communicate with staff, and carry out day-to-day operations. Network issues such as slow connections or dropped signals can disrupt these activities.
• Outdated hardware and software: Outdated hardware and software can slow down systems, compromise security, and cause compatibility issues with newer technology.
• Security vulnerabilities: Housing associations are responsible for sensitive resident data, making them a prime target for cyberattacks. Security vulnerabilities such as weak passwords, unsecured networks, and outdated software can put this data at risk.
• Data backup and recovery: Housing associations must have reliable backup and recovery processes in place to ensure that critical resident data is not lost in the event of a disaster or system failure.
Given the number of issues that regularly occur, it's important to consider how these can be overcome and what systems organisations have in place to prevent these from happening.
Proactive IT Support for Housing Associations
Reactive IT support, which involves fixing problems as they arise, is often not enough for housing associations. Proactive IT support differs from reactive support in that it focuses on prevention rather than just fixing issues as they arise. This approach involves actively monitoring systems, identifying potential issues before they become problems, and implementing solutions to prevent them from occurring.
Key steps to achieving proactive support
• Regular system monitoring and maintenance: By regularly monitoring systems for potential issues, housing associations can identify and address them before they become problems.
• Software and hardware updates and upgrades: Keeping software and hardware up to date can help prevent security vulnerabilities, ensure compatibility with newer technology, and improve system performance.
• Data backup and recovery planning: Housing associations should have a plan in place for regular data backups and a process for quickly recovering data in the event of a disaster or system failure.
• Security measures such as firewalls and antivirus software: Proactive measures such as firewalls and antivirus software can help protect housing associations from cyberattacks and other security threats.
• Help desk support and user training: By providing help desk support and user training, housing associations can ensure that staff are using technology effectively and efficiently.
Benefits of proactive support:
• Improved system uptime and performance: Proactive monitoring and maintenance can help identify and resolve issues before they cause downtime.
• Reduced downtime and associated costs: By preventing issues from occurring in the first place, housing associations can avoid costly downtime and the associated costs of repairs and lost productivity.
• Increased security and data protection: Proactive measures such as software updates, security patches, and data backups can help protect housing associations from security threats and data loss.
• Lower overall IT costs: By preventing problems from occurring, housing associations can avoid costly repairs and replacements, reducing their overall IT expenses.
Choosing the Right IT Support Provider
Implementing the multitude of proactive support measures listed above requires a dedicated team of IT experts and continous monitoring and management. Internal IT teams will often not have the resources or capabilities to perform these activites in-house, so they will often work with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) for IT support services.
Choosing the right IT support provider is crucial for housing associations to ensure that they receive high-quality services that meet their needs. Here are some key factors that housing associations should consider when selecting an IT support provider:
1. Assessing the provider's experience in the housing sector: It is essential to choose a provider who has experience working with housing associations and understands the unique challenges and needs of the industry. Look for providers who have worked with other housing associations and have a track record of delivering effective solutions.
2. Evaluating their range of services and expertise: Housing associations should look for IT support providers that offer a broad range of services, including network support, cybersecurity, cloud services, and software support. The provider should also have expertise in the specific areas that are important to the housing association, such as property management software or compliance with industry regulations.
3. Checking for certifications and credentials: IT support providers should have the necessary certifications and credentials to demonstrate their expertise and professionalism. Look for providers who have certifications and compliance adherence, such as ISO 27001.
4. Obtaining references and testimonials: Housing associations should ask for references and testimonials from other housing associations or clients who have worked with the IT support provider. This can provide insight into the provider's reliability, customer service, and the quality of their work.
Proactive IT support can bring significant benefits for housing associations, including improved system uptime, reduced downtime and associated costs, increased security and data protection, and lower overall IT costs. Working with an IT Support Provider can help organisations realise these benefits without adding burden to already stretched internal teams and take them away from other business priorities.
In today’s world it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep up with the ever changing technology landscape. Companies feel the burden of the everyday, yet want to continue to take their next step and drive innovation.
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At Advanced, we understand that every industry faces unique challenges and requires tailored IT services to meet specific needs. With extensive cross-sector experience, Advanced are able to support, design, implement and manage your IT environment and empower your organisation. Learn more about our IT Services for Housing Associations.