IT leaders are no strangers to doing more with less. Tech budgets have been shrinking and costs have been growing for most of the past decade. But while financial constraints often mean making sacrifices on purchases and investments, there are a few things you can no longer afford to leave out of your tech budget. From protecting your business from expensive data breaches to identifying the budget vampires hiding in your SaaS inventory, some tech investments can save you a lot more in the long run. As you plan for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018, here are three things you need to prioritize:

1. Employee Training

Are these 3 things missing from your IT budget?If there’s one unyielding constant in the tech world, it’s change. Technology is always evolving, and it’s always growing in complexity and sophistication. Failing to help employees stay ahead of the tech curve can lead to plenty of headaches. Productivity will undoubtedly plummet, and people are more at risk for making mistakes.And while it’s important your organization’s entire workforce keep up with change, your IT team needs to stay several steps ahead. From launching new software to monitoring new environments, this team is on the frontlines. Be sure to set aside time and budget to make sure everyone is fully up to speed.

2. Advanced Data Privacy

Can you say — without a shadow of doubt — you know every single device accessing your network right now? If the answer is “no,” you could be in for real trouble. As the anyone who has been a victim of a data security breach can attest, failing to invest in proper data privacy measures can be the biggest mistake your company ever makes. And while there’s no failsafe method for preventing a breach, being aware of the people and devices using your tools and network is a valuable place to start.Additionally, remember to consider who has login access to various tools. Turning off access and deactivating accounts are crucial steps in any employee offboarding process.

3. SaaS Management Processes and Tools

Sometimes your IT budget is stretched so thin, you’re forced to make a few cuts. But how do you know which pieces of technology are most essential and which can be eliminated with little to no impact to your organization?

The best way to identify where you can make cuts is by reviewing your SaaS usage and inventory. From unused licenses to underutilized products, there’s a good chance you’re paying for technology that’s barely benefitting anyone at all. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that money back?

By using a SaaS management tool and putting a process in place, you’ll be able to pick up on which investments can be slashed or updated. For example, if you notice your organization is only using a fraction of the logins for one SaaS product, you can renegotiate the contract to include fewer logins and thus bring down the price. And by staying aware of renewal dates, you can make sure to cancel unused SaaS items before they auto-renew.

Staying within the confines of your tech budget isn’t easy, but there are a few investments your company simply can’t afford to leave out. And by keeping your IT team well-trained, protecting data and investing in SaaS management to identify where you’re losing money now, tech leaders like you can make sure they’re using even the most meager of IT budgets to their fullest.

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