2020 has been a challenging year for all businesses, but especially for SMBs. This season has forced business owners to be increasingly nimble, creative, and decisive. One of the areas requiring the most transformation is related to technology needs and implementation. Through the adversity created by a global pandemic, a few trends have emerged that may be helpful to review.
IT Budget Expansion: Whether it’s achieving productivity, flexibility, security, functionality, etc., technology tends to play an integral role. Reports show that over 85% of SMBs expect their IT budgets to stay steady or grow over the next 12 months.
Work From Home Outlasts COVID-19: The workforce has been asking for increased work flexibility for a long time, even though “work-from-home” policies were seen as radical. The global pandemic has changed that as remote work has become the only viable option for many companies. As economies balance their re-opening strategies, more small business leaders will see the remote workforce as a long-term strategy, giving some, or all employees the ability to work from anywhere. Part of what allows businesses to lean on their remote workforce is the fast adoption of modern communication and collaboration tools. These tools connect teams, vendors, partners, and customers in a seamless fashion. A recent U.S. Workplace Survey reported that 43% of respondents consider the “best workplace” as one that promotes team building and collaboration. Segmented offices and communication gaps are not an option in 2020 and business owners will develop strategies to build their teams regardless of where they work.
Focus on Cybersecurity Increases: Cybersecurity threats continue to increase in volume and complexity. SMBs are realizing that collateral damage from a cyber breach is heavy-handed and the statistics for a business, staying in business after a significant breach are not good. To complicate matters, the “work from home” trend continues well past the pandemic and home networks and PCs continue to be the “Achilles Heel” for any business. Businesses are investing more dollars in IT security services to create layers of protection when employees are not operating behind the company firewall and investing in more devices to remove the home computer from the equation. Compliance requirements and market demands will continue to require more investment from SMBs in IT security tools, processes, and procedures.
Utilization of Managed IT Services: With data breaches and user credential theft at an all-time high, cybercriminals are attacking small businesses with increasing velocity. The need for business owners to safeguard and protect their business is critical which is why more businesses are turning to reputable Managed IT Services Providers (MSP) to stand in the gap. MSPs are outsourced IT departments that bring tools, teams, and processes to monitor, maintain, secure, and support technology and personnel for the businesses they engage with. An MSP will reduce the risk for SMBs by bringing a “bolt-on” model for driving results from the IT function and will scale that model based on the size of the business they support. They also function as a strategic partner to help plan and prepare for IT initiatives both short and long-term.
If your business needs help navigating the ever-changing technology landscape, let Connecting Point help you build a plan and play a part in turning those challenges into opportunities.