For any business, embracing innovation and adopting new technology can make the difference between thriving and barely surviving. Yet, it can be challenging for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized business owners — in particular, those who are focused on their day-to-day operations, to stay ahead of the rapidly changing technology curve.
Before you can identify the right solutions, you need to understand the various technology categories that can help drive results for your business.
Security threats to an organization’s data, records and networks unfortunately are common and increasingly sophisticated. Protecting your company’s network with robust and reliable security should be at the top of your priority list.
Recovery and redundancy
Even the most sophisticated security solutions still require recovery and redundancy tools. In case of service interruptions or worst-case scenarios like an outage, security compromise or natural disaster, every small business needs an action plan. The plan should include platforms that co-locate sensitive data off-site and mechanisms for continued operation.
Leading internet providers offer supplemental services to keep your business connected, even if you lose power or your internet service drops. Features like a cellular router, universal power supply and external antenna that provides automatic and reliable wireless backup are necessary for a day’s work. For many businesses, especially for firms that cannot justify the larger enterprise expense of maintaining a redundant circuit, such a system can be a modest investment in security and peace of mind.
Cloud technology is no longer a luxury leveraged just by large corporations. Rather, the ability to move and store large amounts of data and functionality to the cloud now is considered a necessity by even single-person operations. Cloud-based solutions that offer flexibility to easily update and integrate as new technology comes online are helping smaller firms cost-effectively compete with the Goliaths in their industry.
As businesses increase their reliance on cloud technology, the need for substantial and scalable bandwidth also grows. Scalable bandwidth is increasingly synonymous with scalable business, streamlining the ability to add new employees, clients, products or lines of service, as well as locations.
It’s important to select an internet service provider that can quickly and cost-effectively increase your broadband speeds as your needs grow.
Beyond the must-haves
New, affordable technology options that can boost operational efficiencies and better position smaller companies to compete with larger, more established firms are regularly coming to market.
No longer futuristic fantasies, artificial intelligence (AI), for example, is helping businesses leverage predictive analytics, route deliveries or calls more efficiently, and monitor and improve customer-facing applications.
Inter-office technologies are essential for any sized business with multiple locations. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solutions make it possible for companies to manage their networks across multiple sites or data centers. Phone systems with follow-me functionality or universal extensions that route to different locations can seamlessly transfer business calls to cell phones and other offices.
Having access to your full suite of technology at every location unlocks new-found efficiencies and operational flexibility. Remote tech access also provides the ability to monitor productivity and network health as well as coordinate activity between team members.
Stay ahead — or fall behind
Software solutions have become so sophisticated in recent years that they typically require less of a hardware investment than ever before. The best tech tools to level the playing field for smaller firms are not only effective, but also cost-effective.
So, how do business owners who are experts in their own products and services stay ahead of technology trends so they don’t fall behind? It’s not reasonable or realistic to expect business owners also to be authorities in the technical architecture that powers their operation.
That’s why choosing a tech partner or provider that does have that expertise is so important. Any smaller enterprise without an in-house IT person should search for a tech partner that is capable of the following:
- Designing and managing a scalable network
- Staying abreast of emerging tech trends
- Mapping out and helping execute a larger strategic technology plan