According to Gartner Research, small business spends three to eight percent of its revenue on technology. The small business IT budget may be smaller, but the technology issues they deal with are nearly the same. Besides the budget size, another difference is that small businesses are more at risk from technical issues than their larger counterparts that maintain a large support staff.
Dependence on the Cloud
An SMB study says that more than half of small businesses are relying on the cloud to support their data infrastructure. It is tempting to put all of your data eggs in one basket. Using the cloud exclusively for your storage reduces the hardware that you have to maintain in your business. However, questions about security and reliability are still being asked of the cloud vendors.
Another approach is to maintain your data in several places. Network attached storage (NAS) and private clouds allow you to keep your data locally and still have access to it over the network. Depending on the applications you use, you could maintain local data storage and sync it up with cloud storage services. The goal is to be able to get to your data any time from any where.
Cloud services are not infallible. Flickr once accidentally deleted 4,000 images from a photographer’s account, according to PC World. Initially saying they were unable to retrieve them, they eventually managed to restore the person’s account. Should you “lose” important customer information in the cloud, the impact on your small business could be substantial.
Good Data Backups
One common technology issue many small businesses struggle with is data backup, says PC World. A poor backup strategy is like having none at all. There is a high risk that you won’t have the data to recover when you need it. This is a good time to bring in someone whose experienced with developing backup strategies. Here are some issues you’ll need to address when devising a good backup plan:
- What data and applications need to be backed up? When and how often?
- Where should the backup files be kept?
- How long should the backup files be kept?
- Can the backup be done while the business is running?
- How long does the backup take to complete?
- How long does it take to completely recover your business from your backups?
A periodic copy of files to a flash drive or DVD no longer works. You need a backup solution that gets you back up and running as quickly as possible with little impact on your ability to work with customers. This is why people specialize in designing backup solutions for small business.
The Mobility Question
Small businesses want to attract and keep the best talent. These people often bring their own technology with them in the way of smartphones and tablets. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement is challenging small businesses to support employees using their own devices at work. This can open up any business to data privacy and security issues.
You’ll start with your own business networking needs. A review of www.internetproviders.com lets you compare various plans to get on the Internet. You will then need the protection of firewalls and anti-malware applications to make sure you’re not vulnerable to attack from the network. But a BYOD environment means you open yourself up to whatever may happen to your system when an employee accesses it with their smartphone or tablet.
Mobile device management (MDM) applications are available to help control employee devices. They provide the tools to register devices, restrict connectivity, monitor use and log activity. For a small business, this may be a costly solution, but the loss or corruption of sensitive company data could have a large financial impact as well. This may also be a situation that calls for a specialist in mobile technology to help you weight the pros and cons of a BYOD policy for your business.