Today’s small business owners wear more hats than ever – sales and marketing, IT and finance, and more. As they seek to streamline processes and cut costs with a tight budget, they need a business tech to hit the ground running.
Investing in new technology help alleviate many of the concerns small business have, but if not approached properly, a tech investment can open your company up to an entirely new set of problems. Powerful business tools can quickly become frustrating roadblocks if they are not going well with IT.
As a small business owner, before investing in new technology, educate yourself on the following most common Tech challenges that small business faces and overcome them with the right solution and strategies.
Common IT Challenges for Small Businesses & Possible Ways Out
1. Cyber Crime
IT security is among the biggest challenges for organizations of all sizes. And it’s SMBs that really feel the sting. According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 58% of cyber attack victims were small businesses. That’s no surprise, though. You are lucrative enough to be a major target, but also small enough to lack the sophisticated security systems that are traditionally associated with larger enterprises.
The annual loss of cybercrime was estimated at around $80K on average for small businesses. Spam, ransomware, and phishing are almost everywhere looking for sweet spots. Think of your trade secrets, confidential communication, and customer information. What would be the impact if they fell into the wrong hands? A single breach can be enough to bring your company’s operations to a standstill and completely ruin people’s trust in your brand. That’s why you want to do your due diligence when it comes to security.
How to overcome: Take every necessary step to safeguard your systems and network. These include choosing solutions that come with a robust anti-hacker mechanism and performing continual security precautions. Below is a list of basic measures you should consider to reduce possible threats.
- Maintain a business-class firewall
- Practice password security
- Keep updating the versions of your applications and operating systems
- Secure your WIFI network
- Double layer your communications network with a secure remote access tunnel
- Administer employee cybersecurity training
2. Mobile and Remote Workers – Secure Remote Accessibility
Small business owners are now engaged with a rapidly evolving workplace, 73% of whom will have a remote workforce by 2028. Whether you like it or not, a distributed workforce has become the new norm, and the Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) initiative is part of the workplace now.
To support such a trend, small business will need to allow remote access to the company’s intranet, which is a double-edged sword though – it risks exposing your confidential company data to unsecured networks if not handled properly, posing potential IT challenges for small business
Your remote workers bring in their own devices without sufficient security vigilance. The possibility is huge that they access confidential company data using unfamiliar networks and leave them unsecured with a malware infection. Their unencrypted access might incur potential data breach and lead to huge business loss. Therefore, it’s imperative to limit and control your workers’ remote access.
How to overcome: Deploy a private end-to-end data transmission and communication tunnel for your remote workers. Utilizing highly-secure remote access technology that employs standardized protocols like TLS (Transport Layer Security) and avoids port forwarding anywhere possible, as port forwarding risks opening a hole in your firewall. One suggestion is to leverage cloud-based encrypted tunneling solution like Yeastar Linkus Cloud Service (LCS), which do not require port forwarding to allow remote access, secures all voice and data traffic by encrypting it and routing it via an intermediary private server, and provide necessary communications and collaboration tools for remote workers to stay productive using their own devices.
3. Technology and Application Integration
Clearly, small businesses are willing to embrace new technology with open arms. But sometimes newer technologies just don’t integrate well with older systems or legacy applications. Because of that, business operational efficiency can suffer a negative low unexpectedly. Integration issues might force the duplication of tasks and deter the data tracking process because you’ll need to manually string data recorded in different applications.
How to overcome: When you do thorough planning before implementing new technology or application, you can minimize the efficiency issues that may arise. Finding an all-in-one solution should be the best way out: necessary features and technologies already being included to ensure the least integration problems; high-level operational stability and security can also be achieved with the least outward system interfacing for data transfer. Besides, it’s also recommended to consider if the new technology is equipped with robust API capacity. This can be a great help to tackle your existing and future system integration problem.
4. Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Another big tech challenge small businesses face is establishing reliable backup and disaster recovery systems. But the issues go way beyond tape and disk backups versus the cloud.
Small businesses today don’t really ask if they can recover from a server crash, power outage, or other “data disaster”, but how soon they can be back up and running. And different business applications mandate different data backup and recovery point objectives. For example, it might not be a big problem to use a couple of days for a document’s backup and recovery. But it’ll certainly be fatal if it requires several days to recover real-time business services like online consulting or critical telephony systems.
How to overcome: make an evaluation of every facet of your business and determine the amount of recovery time that you can handle without significant negative effects. This will help you decide which way to back up your data and systems: regular or real-time, manual or automatic, cloud or on-premises; and help you decide whether to deploy different recovery strategies towards different applications and technology.
5. Short of IT staff
IT human resources are often limited to small businesses because of budget concerns. This can be a scary proposition as managing multiple business-necessary technologies requires a certain amount of skill and time efforts. Without proper maintenance and IT management, even a super-duper application or technology will “rust” as time go by and slow you down in the competition, which is definitely not what you expect.
How to overcome: Turn to solution and technology providers that offer well-grounded support, easy-to-use devices/applications, or even managed services to keep your services running smoothly. Reputable providers will make things easy by giving small business IT backup from the first point: dummy-easy product design, simplified or automated operations, and on-going solution update.
Technology should help you grow, not slow you down.
When you invest in new technology, you’re looking for an advantage over others rather than adding extra tech burden. Understanding these common IT challenges facing small businesses will help you find the right solution with the least tech issues and achieve long-term success.
The business phone system is an integral part of business technology. If you’re looking for a telephony solution that requires less attention while delivering a complete range of features to support your growth, read our Small Business Phone System Buyer’s Guide. It’ll steer you clear of your available options and provide an essential checklist for you to find out the best solution that settles your tech challenges – all the while meets all your business needs.