5 Technology Challenges Small Businesses Face
There’s no way around it — businesses of all shapes and sizes face technology challenges when operating their business, but it’s the small business owners who often struggle with technology solutions the most. Technology challenges faced by small businesses stem from small budgets, lack of knowledge, and general complexities associated with system integration and troubleshooting when problems arise.
While technology is necessary, it can be extremely overwhelming, and with rapid shifts in the tech sphere, it’s especially difficult for small businesses to keep up with the changes when focusing on day-to-day business operations.
There are five standard technology challenges that many business owners encounter.
Data Backup and Recovery
Data is essential to all businesses, and business owners and leaders must develop plans to protect critical data. When data is stolen or lost, it can be damaging to any business regardless of its size. So it’s necessary for companies to have a plan to backup critical data, including financial data, contact data, and sales data (such as partner or client contracts.) Various reasons for a data loss include:
- System breakdown
- Human errors
- Environmental issues
- Hardware failure and many others
Saving your data on devices is simply not enough. Having a data backup means that you’ll have a protected copy of your data, and that it can be quickly restored to the network. Typically, data backups are stored remotely in a different location than your network servers. Our recommended approach follows the “3-in-1 backup” rule, which means keeping critical data backed up in three other places: production, local devices, and the cloud. However, it can be challenging for business owners to manage the network system and data backups themselves because they may lack the necessary skills or knowledge, don’t have a dedicated IT team, or work within a limited budget.
Small businesses are prime targets for cyber criminals because they typically lack the security needed to deter security breaches. We’ve heard about the large-scale breaches with larger organizations, but attacks on small businesses are not usually, or widely, mentioned. According to CyberSecurity Magazine, 61% of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have experienced at least one cyber attack within the last year. Even with the increased threat to SMBs, 43% don’t have a cyber security plan. This could be because 52% of SMBs don’t have any IT security experts on staff. Managed service security providers can provide business owners the support they need with network and data security audits that identify specific cyber security risks across a range of technology solutions.
Keeping Up with New Technology Solutions and Integration
Companies need to adopt new technology solutions to stay competitive. But knowing which solution is best and whether it integrates with current systems can be challenging for SMBs with inexperienced IT staff. Staying current with new technologies requires investing a significant amount of time in understanding the different components and how they technically fit within your network.
Integrating upgrades or new technology can take time and may not always go as planned. This can result in system disruptions and even downtime. Minimizing downtime is usually the number one goal of any implementation and upgrade. Managed service providers assist many businesses with integrations and upgrades because they can do it with minimal downtime. The small cost to business owners outweighs the loss of revenue due to system interruptions and loss of productivity.
Without proper and strategic IT planning, companies will make reactionary hardware, software, and security decisions which often drains the already low budget they have for IT projects and security. Having an IT strategic plan is just as important as having a marketing plan or a business plan. The benefits of an IT strategic plan include:
- Identifies decision-makers
- Outlines proactive and emergency response to changes
- Guides creative thinking
- Communicates IT intentions to leadership and other departments or staff
Lack of Skilled IT Staff
In today’s environment, there’s a lack of skilled IT workers. With an abundance of opportunities available, SMBs compete against larger companies with larger budgets for the same people. This means that small businesses may end up with an IT staff with limited skills. There are ways that companies can navigate through the gap in IT skills. Also, finding a partner before IT issues arise can save you time and money in the future. Waiting to find an external IT services firm until you need them will cost time and money. Find a partner you trust and someone who can learn your system before issues arise, so there’ll be a plan to use when challenges happen.
SMBs will face technology solutions challenges because of the lack of skilled staff and small budgets. Large organizations can manage and plan for IT challenges by investing in qualified and experienced staff. Small businesses have difficulty attracting the same talent because of smaller budgets. SMBs may also have more extensive IT staff by using the resources of a managed service provider to receive the same attention and services as large organizations… without the expense of hiring full-time IT staff. Additionally, with a regular monthly cost, small businesses can budget costs more effectively.
Visual Edge specializes in managed IT services and security, cloud computing, and print/copy solutions for businesses across the US, including remote offices. The company has more than 20 years of technology service with a national network of expert engineers. Request your no-obligation assessment today and get a free dark web analysis.