Each year new challenges arise for small and medium sized businesses, and this year has been no different. From both research, to our work with businesses in the Austin area, we've identified four of the biggest technology challenges we see most often when it comes to businesses struggling with their technology.
This really applies to two things:
We talk a lot about how cybersecurity is constantly changing, and as hackers get smarter and businesses continue to introduce new technologies into their spaces it's getting harder and harder to ensure that all areas of vulnerability are accounted for.
As we open ourselves and our businesses up to cybersecurity risks with things like smart TVs, Next thermostats, and other Internet of Things devices, it's important to make sure you're staying up to date with the latest security tools and are training employees on cybersecurity best practices as well. In 2016 it was reported that 24% of breaches were due to human error, so make sure you're also making sure to take the time and effort to train the employees that are using all the technology.
The other complexity issue facing businesses comes down to infrastructure. For small to medium sized businesses who may be operating with a sole "IT Guy" it's not always easy making sure your businesses infrastructure is:
- well planned
- designed for your business
- monitored and backed up 24/7
- set up to alert for issues
- up-to-date with the latest security updates and patches
- replaced when necessary
Your business infrastructure, including hardware, software and all cloud based resources, is not one size fits all or a "set it and forget it" task, it's a constantly evolving task, and if you don't have the right people to help design and maintain it, you could be looking at big trouble in the future.
Lack of Budget
Spiceworks 2019 State of IT report shows that 55% of small businesses (1-99 employees) and 68% of medium sized businesses (100-499 employees) expect their budgets to stay the same or decrease. Many of us know that technology isn't getting cheaper, in fact a lot of it is getting more expensive. So if budgets aren't increasing, what are the current budgets being spent on? Well, for 2019 an overwhelming amount of budgets are being put toward outdated hardware and software, as some very important parts of many business infrastructures are going end-of-life this year. Now we know that replacing outdated hardware/upgrading software if important, and necessary for the overall security of your business, but if that is where most of the budget is going, it takes away from IT staff and other various technology needs. This includes training for current staff and any budget for outside resources to help the current IT staff, or decreased service levels for assistance for the non-technical employees from any outside tech support, like an MSP. It's important for small to medium sized businesses to understand how they are spending their IT dollars, how to plan for the future of your technology, so when replacements need to happen it doesn't affect your staff and their day-to-day, and also find out where trade-offs might be made when one type of spend needs to outweigh any others.
Compliance Needs & Changes
- ISO 27001
I'm not going to lie...even i needed to look a couple of these up. Security and compliance needs are always changing, and because of this it can be extremely hard for small businesses to keep up with, let alone always understand the changes we need to make to stay compliant. But without this knowledge/ability to make the necessary adjustments businesses leave themselves open to security breaches, lack of customer trust, and legal consequences should something happen as a result of not following the regulations or being 100% compliant.
No Disaster Recovery Plan
This is one of the bigger issues we see small businesses dealing with. We get it, no one starting a new business wants to talk about what to do in an emergency or in the case of something that could potentially destroy the business. But, disaster planning is essential. If you now for how to handle a disaster scenario, the odds it will take down your business are decreased. It's better to be over prepared and proactive than underprepared and forced to be reactive. Business continuity planning is something that we talk about a lot and make sure to bring up with our customers, as it related to all ares of your business, not just technology.
All fo these challenges are things we see in business a lot, but they are something that you can address if you've never thought about them or have struggled with them in the past. Just because they were a challenge doesn't mean they always have to be a challenge.
If you're looking to take the fear or uncertainty our of your technology, give us a call. We work with businesses all over Austin and would love to help your business overcome any challenge!