This strange and tumultuous year has led many companies to rethink their operations, procedures and processes. What may have worked well in a pre-pandemic world no longer flows as smoothly these days.

As we approach 2022, your information technology (IT) team and your strategy, in particular, will likely be the most important thing to you and your company. As many companies continue to operate largely remotely, IT will continue to serve as the backbone of your business and allow you to continue seamlessly despite disruption.

That means you’ll need to put a lot of thought into your IT goals for 2022, as your digital environment will be a defining factor for businesses, no matter their industry or niche. So what should you focus on in terms of your IT strategy in this new year? Here are some ideas to incorporate into a year that will hopefully be less fraught with challenges and disruptions.

Prioritize Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has never been a “nice to have,” it was always a mandatory part of your IT strategy, but now it is more essential than ever. This is particularly imperative as many companies make cloud computing an integral part of their workflow, more on that below, as personal and confidential information is in the ether and must be protected.

Considering how many of your employees now access important data from remote locations while working from home, you must ensure that all protections extend to anyone who has access to your systems and information. A robust cybersecurity infrastructure can stop data breaches and other attacks before they happen, repair them quickly, and curb potential damage.

A September 2020 Kaspersky report found that the percentage of enterprise IT spending on cybersecurity had increased by three percent in 2020 compared to 2019. In the future, it is likely to grow even more, as security and data breaches grow in sophistication and ubiquity.

Rely On Cloud Computing

You’re probably already very familiar with cloud applications by now. Even if you didn’t rely on them before the pandemic, they are now critical to keeping work going while employees stay home for the most part. They allow you to access important files, use critical tools like word processing, and collaborate with colleagues and others.

Next year, cloud computing must be a central part of your IT strategy as the pandemic continues and people must be able to access important materials and work with others in different areas and environments. We are heading toward a world where people in all industries will work remotely or at least partially remotely, and this is truly a step toward independence from your company’s location.

Embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Have you already harnessed the power of AI? This can be a game changer for your business, allowing you to resolve customer queries quickly and easily, enabling you to provide personalized and customized experiences for your users, and much more.

Take the chatbot as an example. It seems simple enough, but it can completely revolutionize customer service, reducing the time a human customer service representative needs to spend resolving issues and giving them back time to work on more complex problems that require their intervention. Meanwhile, the chatbot helps resolve customer issues in record time, much faster than a human could.

As technology becomes more sophisticated, more and more organizations are looking to incorporate AI into their business models for a variety of purposes, with substantial benefits, from efficiency to cost savings to improved experiences.

Take Advantage of 5G

5G offers many advantages, from increased bandwidth and capacity to significantly lower latency. While previously discussed as something of the future, 5G is becoming more of a reality, with many cities around the world, including New York, Seoul, London, Dubai, Rome, Shanghai, Mecca and others already offering it. By 2022, it will become increasingly ubiquitous.

What does this mean for companies? One big opportunity is the development of Internet of Things (IoT)-related initiatives. Because the capacity of 5G substantially exceeds that of 4G, the network can accommodate many more users and devices. This means that more users and devices can communicate with each other, with little or no interruption or delay, thanks to ultra-fast speeds.

As 5G becomes more widely available, enterprises will see many new opportunities for enhanced services and products and will rely on a robust IT infrastructure to make these possibilities a reality.

Consider Edge Computing

Along with cloud computing, edge computing is becoming an important resource for remote work. This model is decentralized and brings applications closer to the sources of their data, such as repositories, edge servers and devices. This offers better bandwidth, reduced latency, efficiency and more useful qualities.

Unlike cloud computing, edge computing is largely used for time-sensitive information, such as when people control a driverless car. Gartner predicts that there will be a move away from more traditional data centers, saying that approximately 80% of companies will close these centers by 2025, and edge data centers offer better opportunities for remote work.

Certainly, we’ve had a lot to deal with in the enterprise world and beyond over the past year. Hopefully, we are emerging from a crisis-plagued 2021 into a better landscape (technology, labor and otherwise) by 2022. But companies will need to adapt to the current circumstances while developing, growing and innovating, thriving, not just surviving.

Defining and refining your IT strategy in 2022 is an important step in evaluating your entire business plan. While it’s always important, it’s absolutely critical to make sure you have solid technology in place now. From increasing your cybersecurity efforts to considering new delivery models, these strategies will help you stay resilient in the coming year and ensure you are prepared for new and current obstacles.