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Businesses are more reliant on technology today than they’ve ever been. Technology is designed to make business easier, but it’s not always that simple. There are challenges involved in adopting new technology, and there are challenges involved in eschewing it and sticking with old ways of doing things. What are the biggest tech challenges facing small businesses today, and how can they be resolved?
Tech Challenge #1: The Cost of Adopting New Technology
One of the biggest challenges facing any small business is simply the cost of adopting new technology. It’s increasingly difficult for smaller organisations to keep up with big competitors, and for most small businesses this is mainly due to the cost of buying and maintaining new tech.
Resolution: Small businesses may have small tech budgets, but they can work with what they’ve got by making careful and informed choices about what technology they buy into. Do your research and figure out what’s going to benefit the business the most before making purchases. The most common expense is email; other popular options for small businesses include computer hardware, mobile devices, and outsourced tech support, and productivity tools such as Microsoft products, payment processing, and CRM software.
Tech Challenge #2: Lack of IT Skills and Limited Recruitment Ability
Another significant challenge for small businesses is their limited ability to recruit IT talent. Few small businesses have the resources to hire specific IT staff. And IT talent is in such high demand, it’s difficult for small businesses to retain any staff they’re able to attract.
Resolution: For most small businesses, the answer lies in outsourcing IT services as required. Around half of small businesses outsource at least some of their tech management and support needs, so you’re in good company. Make outsourcing work for you by being choosy about the companies you decide to work with, and make sure you don’t end up paying for services you don’t need.
Tech Challenge #3: GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulation is now an ongoing issue for many organizations of all sizes. And due to EU regulations, this includes any organisation that does business with customers within the EU. Whether your small business is currently wrestling with GDPR issues or you’re starting a business for which GDPR will be a challenge, it’s now unavoidable.
Resolution: The fines for non-compliance are hefty, even for small businesses, so there’s literally no choice but to do whatever it takes to comply with GDPR regulations. If you’re unable to do it in-house, look into outsourcing whatever services are needed to make sure you comply.
Tech Challenge #4: Dealing with Security Risks
Hacking, phishing, ransomware—all of these issues have become high-profile problems in recent years. In 2017, for instance, the WannaCry ransomware attack cost the NHS a massive £72 million in IT services, to restore data and systems. Small businesses are increasingly likely to be targets, however, because they don’t have the IT resources to stop a cyberattack in its tracks.
Resolution: For small businesses, outsourced network monitoring is generally the best option for preventing cyberattacks. If your small business doesn’t have the budget? Make sure all staff understand how careless online behaviour may leave the business at risk—and make sure everyone knows how to spot potential phishing attacks and other internet scams and hacks.
Tech Challenge #5: Data Backups and Disaster Recovery
How would your business cope with data loss, if something catastrophic were to happen? This issue isn’t just about protecting your business from data theft, but also loss in general, including the kind of loss that might happen due to file corruption, a fire, or a natural disaster. How is your organization’s data protected?
Resolution: One way to solve this problem, and along with other tech issues, is to move day-to-day business operations to the cloud. Operating in the cloud means your data is automatically backed up as files are created. This helps you minimize downtime due to lost data and ensures you can get up and running quickly.
Tech Challenge #6: Scaling IT for a Growing Business
As your business thrives and grows larger, you may find that your IT setup no longer meets your needs. Upgrading and expanding IT can be extremely challenging, but it doesn’t have to be.
Resolution: The key to hassle-free upgrading is to start off on the right foot. From the beginning, your IT support and services should be organized with expansion in mind. Don’t assume your business will stay small forever—instead, assume that you’ll need to upgrade and expand your IT at some point, and make your initial choices accordingly. Choose productivity apps that are easy to upgrade, and easy to expand when you need to add new users.
If you do come across any significant challenges, working with a tech services consultant may help you find some direction on the best way to upgrade and expand your IT support. For advice on dealing with any of the above challenges, contact ACUTEC today.