Similar to larger organizations, small businesses perform business-related functions such as sales, operations, accounting, and finance. They must compete with the...
Small Business Technology: 3 Key Tech Investments SMBs Should Make
Technology has become an essential ingredient for successful business operations, regardless of size. It is seen as an effective way of building your company, sharing information, and transforming productivity that extends beyond company boundaries. But with how quickly technology is advancing, many small businesses find it hard to figure out what technology to use, when to invest in new tech, and how to prioritize their investment to reap the greatest reward.
Small businesses that stay up to date with technology trends and new software gain a competitive edge and tend to maximize their profit.
A recent study from Statista shows that the estimated IT expenditure of small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) worldwide in 2017, 2018, and 2021 was over $600 billion.
The good news is that today’s technologies are much more accessible for small businesses. Using the right technologies, will also boost your customer experience, and improve security to protect sensitive information while avoiding costly downtime.
1. Strong & Stable Security Measures and Protocols
Cybersecurity is a moving target for many small businesses. Yet, the high cost of data breaches means you can't afford to ignore this essential component of your IT strategy.
Traditional antivirus software isn't equipped to handle newer threats such as zero-day exploits and ransomware, while firewalls aren't effective in protecting remote workers. Meanwhile, it takes only one employee to click on one malicious email to compromise your entire system.
To effectively protect your network, you need multiple layers of cybersecurity measures. Today's threat detection strategies require ongoing management. Having superior antivirus software is just the first half of the battle. The second part is responding to the data being generated in real-time.
We recommend a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity threat prevention. Traditionally, firewalls, software updates, and antivirus products were enough, but that's not the case anymore. Today, Small businesses need to protect their IT environment and their employees with many layers of prevention, policy, and protocol:
Virtual Private Networks
Next-Generation Antivirus Protection
Proactive Network Monitoring
The last few years have been a wild ride, and technology has played an essential role in helping SMBs adapt to various business challenges. With the rise of remote work, a solid security protocol is even more critical to business continuity and disaster recovery.
2. SMBs are Adopting SaaS Technology & Applications
The advance in cloud computing has encouraged the adoption of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) by many small businesses, which further enhances the benefits of using managed services by allowing SMBs to adopt the latest technologies and better manage their budgets:
- The total cost of ownership (TCO): you can access the latest software features by paying a low monthly subscription fee without investing in hardware or long-term agreements.
- Ongoing maintenance cost: most SaaS solutions are maintained and upgraded by the vendors, so you don’t have to hire an IT team to manage your applications.
- Software Integration: most SaaS products offer built-in third-party integration so you can sync them with your existing platforms or combine multiple applications (e.g., eCommerce, CRM, ERP) to create a system that meets your needs at a relatively low cost.
- Flexibility and scalability: you can add features and capabilities on-demand precisely when you need them to support your business growth without having to purchase new equipment or hire an IT staff to upgrade your software.
As an example, the most common SMB tech investment is email. You need email to communicate and run your business, period. Let’s use Microsoft 365 as an example. As small businesses take advantage of SaaS solutions; they face the challenge of “software sprawl” that adds unnecessary complexity to their systems and makes managing all the moving pieces more difficult.
To reap the benefits of cloud computing without juggling multiple tools, more SMBs are switching to all-in-one tools such as Microsoft 365, which packages email, teams chat collaboration, SharePoint file sharing, and more together in one subscription service.
3. SMBs Rely on Managed Services to Implement and Manage their Technology
The reality for many small businesses is that designing the right IT strategy and keeping up with the latest technologies require resources and expertise that could be cost-prohibitive.
Thankfully, you don’t have to do it all on your own. Most small businesses recognize the benefits of outsourcing IT to a managed services provider (MSP), which remotely manages a customer’s IT infrastructure or end-user systems (e.g., eCommerce website, CRM) with a proactive approach under a subscription or retainer model.
There are many benefits of outsourcing IT to a MSP. It allows you to:
- Leverage enhanced expertise
- Reduce upfront investment and operating cost
- Minimize costly downtime
- Access to updates and upgrades
- Ensure code compliance
Small Business Technology and Your Success
It's easy to dole out these buzzwords and technology trends because we live and breathe technology, applications, and service every day. The reality is, we find many SMB owners and leaders are not tech-savvy and often don’t understand the nuances that make running a business and picking technology investments hard to do alone. We get it, and we’re here to help.
As a Managed Service Provider (MSP), you get expert-level guidance and the day-to-day execution service you need to enable your business to run and thrive. With this kind of leadership, your computers and servers won’t just sit there getting old. You will be able to take full advantage of technology and gain some knowledge about it simultaneously—that’s our 5-Star Promise. It’s our guarantee to our fellow small business colleagues in Boise.
Ready to take the next step and take IT management off your plate? Download MicroTech’s tip sheet: The Five Steps to Build Your SMB Technology Plan.