Technology is huge for small businesses. It empowers them to do more with less and to do more than ever used to be possible. Whatever it is you do, consider whether you could have done it at all 25 years ago, before the internet came to prominence. Even if you could operate, your workflow would be drastically different.
This doesn’t mean that technology is all roses and puppies for your small business. There are numerous pitfalls related to technology that are common to small businesses. In today’s business tech blog, we’ll look at several of these common technology pitfalls, as well as the solution to each one.
Problem: Technology Needs Outpace Hiring Capacity
The first problem is that a company’s IT staff needs can often outpace its hiring capacity. Most small businesses eventually reach a size and complexity that leads to this problem. If you’re a 10- or 20-person company, you might get by with just one IT staffer who does everything for you. (This can be a problem all its own, which we’ll address next.)
As your company grows, though, so does the complexity of your IT infrastructure and IT needs. When your IT needs to grow at a faster rate than you can afford to hire the necessary IT personnel, you’re stuck.
One solution to this problem is partnering with a quality managed service provider to augment or replace your in-house IT capacity.
Problem: Your IT Staff Has Limited Ability
No matter how large your small business, you’ve probably faced problems that your IT staff was poorly equipped to solve. It’s the nature of the beast: the field of IT is far too broad and has far too many specialties for a small team to be great at everything. If your business is on the smaller end and has just one or two IT staffers, you’re likely feeling the pain more acutely.
Managed IT services firms focus exclusively on IT services. It’s all they do. This means they have a depth and breadth of experience and specialization available to them. Partnering with the right managed IT provider can massively increase your business’s IT ability. You’ll also improve your efficiency, as those tough problems get solved quickly and efficiently.
Problem: Your Team Isn’t Prepared for Cyber Attacks
It’s natural to assume that the smaller your business, the less attractive a target you are for cybercriminals. After all, hacking Experian or Target would be a much bigger payday than hacking little ol’ you.
This is foolish thinking. CNBC reported in 2017 on a report that found half of all US small businesses suffered a breach in the previous year. Those aren’t good odds.
Why would hackers come after you?
According to Phil Cardone, who has provided Boston IT support (https://www.radiusits.com/boston-it-support/) for businesses for over 20 years says “Simple. You’re an easy target. At least, that’s true of most small businesses.”
This goes back to the previous point: is your single in-house IT person a cybersecurity expert? Probably not. Your staffer will do the best job he or she can, but there are bound to be holes. You need a dedicated team on your side instead.
Problem: Data Privacy Concerns Are Burdensome
Data privacy regulations can create a real burden on a small business’s resources. Recent legislation like the EU’s GPDR (https://eugdpr.org/) and Canada’s PIPEDA (more info) have implications for all businesses with European or Canadian customers — even businesses that aren’t located in those countries. The USA is considering similar legislation, too: Apple’s Tim Cook recently went on the offensive in support of the idea.
The procedures required by these acts of legislation are daunting, and penalties can be steep. If your small business needs help keeping up to date and compliant with data privacy legislation, find a managed IT services firm that offers this service.
Problem: Choosing the Right New Tech
Unless your business is in the IT field or your leadership happens to be especially tech-savvy, choosing the right new technology can be a problem. There is an astounding number of new devices, services, and software applications launching every year. Your business can’t afford them all, nor does it need them all. It does need some, though, or you run the risk of getting left behind.
Many small business leaders feel directionless about IT purchasing decisions, settling for whichever salesperson talks the loudest. Implementation can be a problem, too. Businesses run into snags where new tech doesn’t work as advertised or doesn’t integrate with legacy systems.
The solution here to is contracting with a managed services company to help you navigate new tech strategy, purchases, and implementation. If you’re ready to solve these common small business tech problems, contact us now to see how we can help.