Current and Future IT Challenges Faced by Small Businesses

It is remarkable to think how a decade or so ago, it was almost impossible to predict half of the technologies that we have today. Technology progresses so quickly that many industries are left struggling to catch up to it. Small businesses feel this pressure most acutely. According to a consultant from Prosyn, a company that offers IT support to SMBs in London, small business’ limited resources are the biggest culprit for their technological lag:“SMBs are currently facing several IT challenges and are likely to encounter more as the rate of change in IT increases. One way for them to hedge against this, with limited budgets, is to switch their operations to the Cloud, which can bring many advantages and cost savings.” Below we have laid out some of those challenges and a few solutions SMBs might be wise to explore: Current Challenges 1. Website Design and Maintenance While having a functioning website has many benefits – more exposure, cheaper marketing and increased sales – designing and maintaining a good website is not easy work. You have to think about search engine optimization, site security, user friendliness, content creation and many other aspects. This is why you will find a number of businesses with idle websites. They were excited to create a website but maintaining it proved a bigger challenge than they had expected. Fortunately, a raft of services has emerged offering help with most aspects of creating and running a website. You can get it professionally designed, have it optimized for search engines and get it secured. 2. Data Backup and Recovery According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, 70% of SMBs that experience data loss will be dead within one year. This goes to show just how damaging data loss can be to a small business. Despite this, some businesses still lag behind when it comes to data backup. Usually, their data will be on two or so devices with no extra backups planned. This is often due to constricted budgets. Presently, however, there have emerged cheaper data backup and recovery solutions aimed at small businesses. Most of these allow you to backup your data online (i.e. Cloud backup). Alternatively, businesses can also take the necessary steps to back up their data on an external hard drive and disk. 3. Security Online security is a hot issue in an age where hackers are getting bolder and more cunning. The survival of a business depends on its ability to keep crucial data safe and protect its customers’ information. Many small businesses are still struggling to catch up to the latest security measures. It is time to start looking into available services and products that aim at bolstering IT security for businesses. Future Challenges 1. Scaling If a business is being managed well and it wishes to grow, then it has the ability to constantly scale upwards. This translates into more customers, more employees and more revenue being generated. IT products and services that worked for that business before may no longer be adequate, and many businesses will find themselves faced with the challenge of scaling their IT along with the business. A business’s growth can be easily cut short if it does not have the right IT resources to sustain it. At this point, it is best to have an IT consultant offer some help and guidance, especially when it comes to moving operations to cloud-based services. A reputable consultant can advise what needs upgrading, what can stay and what needs replacing. 2. Integration As mentioned, technology is very dynamic and continues to change at an alarming pace. If the last few years are anything to go by, we are in for dramatic tech improvements in the next decade. Often, this means new devices and new platforms that businesses must make use of to stay in the market. This is where integration becomes an issue. How do you get new technology to work with the old? One hope is that companies will begin creating tech services and products that can be used across multiple platforms. This will make it easier and cheaper for SMBs to integrate. 3. More security The issue of digital security is not going to go away – if anything, it will become even more central to the expected rapid technological growth. How are you going to protect your data across multiple devices and platforms and against increasingly sophisticated attackers?Whether they have the resources or not, security will be a major priority for businesses today and in the near future. Having a team of tech experts or consultants at hand is the best way to take on these challenges successfully. If you cannot hire your own tech team, you may have to consider outsourcing.  

Sean is a freelance writer and big data expert. He loves to write on big data, analytics and predictive analytics.