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Seven tech changes to look out for in 2024

Tech expert Kyle Holmes of Black Nova Designs based in Wiltshire, shares some tech trends to be aware of in 2024 - which will affect businesses, charities, organisations and households. His mantra is 'be prepared and plan' to stay ahead of the curve

Looking ahead to 2024 the tech industry is always evolving, and change happens quickly, so we make it our business to stay ahead of the curve.

We have nurtured an environment at Black Nova Designs where everyone is encouraged to speak up and share their thoughts and ideas. This means that we are well-placed to help people with their tech problems, and issues and we can give people advance notice of important changes that everyone needs to understand.

Here are seven things we think you should all know:

1. The switch-off of PSTN and ISDN services

Did you know both the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) in the UK will be switched off by the end of 2025? It is because neither can deliver the same volume or quality of voice data as internet calls, video conferencing and other online collaborative tools and so in the future voice calls will also be made over the internet.

It is crucial for businesses to transition to Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services, These changes won’t be finalised for just over a year, but it has such far-reaching ramifications that we wanted to flag it up to you now, as you will want to make sure you address this in 2024.

2. Windows 10 End of Life (EOL)

This is another change that will not take place until 2025, but that you need to address as soon as possible to avoid issues. Windows 10 will finally reach its ‘end of life’ on of October 14 2025, and if you are still using it, then it is time to plan for the future. Just migrating to Windows 11 might not be the solution for you, as it introduces new hardware requirements. If your PC or laptop is very old, you might find it will not run Windows 11. We recommend you start exploring your options now. That way you can ensure a seamless transition and avoid potential security risks associated with running an insecure operating system or a sudden need for new hardware!

3. Taking steps to reduce technical debt

The speed of change in the world of tech can put pressure on developers to code solutions quickly to meet demand (or risk) rather than considering how something will fit into an organisation’s overall tech stack. That can lead to technical debt, where the complexity and silo nature of a tech stack increases costs and security risks for a business and can even inhibit innovation. To combat this, we recommend more careful planning when adopting newer technologies that orchestrate business processes and taking the time to identify any opportunities to consolidate systems.

4. Incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) continues to be a game-changer and presents so many opportunities for businesses. We recommend taking the time to read the latest news around AI and ML throughout the year, and experimenting with them whenever you can. Exploring how these technologies can enhance your business operations now, from automating tasks to gaining valuable insights that drive informed decision-making, will pay dividends in the future.

5. Protecting data access and privileges

In an era where cyber threats are indiscriminate and increasingly likely, businesses, especially small ones, must prioritise cybersecurity. Attacks are becoming less target-driven and more opportunistic. We recommend you take steps proactively to protect your data by ensuring robust access controls and privileges to mitigate the risk of unauthorised access. Train your team on what to look out for and avoid, and make sure you have antivirus software for all devices and backups for all systems.

6. Microsoft licensing will get stricter

This one is important for small businesses and sole traders. Microsoft is tightening its grip on licensing, especially in the business realm. If you use a personal Microsoft licence for business purposes, you risk being handed a fine - and it could be a big one. If you run a business and utilise Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, then please ensure you have the appropriate business licence. Contact us for information on compliant licensing, starting at £15.59 per month, which includes a business email address.

7. Check your tech bills for cost efficiency

We recommend reviewing your monthly tech bills. Regularly. That way, you can understand exactly what you are paying for and who you are paying. Then, you are in a good place to explore alternative providers if something proves to be ineffective or more costly than it should be.

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