Among all the challenges small businesses face, technology-related ones can be some of the toughest to overcome. Many founders and their tight-knit teams are well-versed in revenue-producing skills such as sales and marketing. However, they aren’t necessarily as confident in their IT abilities. This leaves the company open to a host of problems, not the least of which is security breaches.
Though data breaches at big corporations tend to get more press, companies of all sizes can be targets for cybercrime. A reported 700,000 small businesses were targets of data breach activity in 2020. Other common tech-focused challenges include website issues, e-commerce difficulties, remote worker connectivity and collaboration issues, and system incompatibility. While these challenges are undeniably frustrating, they can be maddening when taken together.
If you can relate as a business leader, consider trying the following tactics to resolve your biggest tech struggles.
1. Assessment and Planning
Before initiating any technological overhaul, evaluating your existing technology environment and plotting a strategic direction is crucial. This involves understanding where your business stands, identifying bottlenecks, and charting a clear path forward.
- Technology Infrastructure Assessment: Carefully evaluate your existing technology systems, hardware, and software to comprehensively understand their effectiveness and limitations.
- Tech Challenges Identification: Identify technological challenges hampering productivity, efficiency, or customer satisfaction.
- Clear Technology Goals: Set short-term and long-term technology objectives aligning with your business goals, enabling systematic progress toward improved infrastructure and processes.
2. Cybersecurity and Data Protection
Safeguarding sensitive information is important. Addressing cybersecurity and data protection concerns ensures the integrity of your operations and maintains trust with customers and partners.
- Robust Cybersecurity Measures: Establish a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, encryption, and routine vulnerability assessments.
- Employee Education: Train your employees to recognize and respond to potential cyber threats, building a culture of vigilance against phishing, malware, and other attacks.
- Response Planning: Develop a comprehensive plan outlining the steps during a cyber incident, including containment, recovery, communication, and compliance with data breach regulations.
3. Move Operations into the Cloud
Transitioning to cloud-based systems can enhance flexibility and scalability while reducing operational costs. However, careful planning and execution are crucial to a successful migration.
- Benefits Assessment: Evaluate the advantages of migrating to the cloud, such as improved remote access, automatic updates, and potential cost savings.
- Migration Strategy: Plan the migration process meticulously, ensuring minimal disruption to business operations and data integrity during the transfer.
- Data Security and Compliance: Choose a reputable cloud provider that adheres to data protection regulations and implements security measures to safeguard data stored in the cloud.
4. Centralize Your Data and Communications
Do you and your employees constantly have to move from one platform to another to see or retrieve different data sets? Not only is this inconvenient, but it’s a waste of time. Break down your data silos by centralizing all the data in your company. For instance, you might want to update a customer relationship management (CRM) system that can easily house all your information. Having data in one place makes communicating with internal and external stakeholders easier, streamlines analysis and reporting, and helps you optimize all your processes.
5. Remote Work Infrastructure
The rise of remote work necessitates a robust digital infrastructure that supports seamless communication, collaboration, and productivity, regardless of employees’ physical locations.
- Remote Work Tools: Identify and integrate tools such as video conferencing, project management platforms, and virtual collaboration software to facilitate efficient remote work.
- Connectivity Assurance: Ensure remote workers have reliable internet access and can easily connect to necessary business resources.
- Security Considerations: Address security vulnerabilities associated with remote work by implementing secure connections, access controls, and data encryption.
The point is this: You don’t have to be a technical wizard or even have one on your team to overcome your tech and infrastructure dilemmas. Just be willing to acknowledge your technical deficiencies so you can put measures in place to make your hassles go away so your company can be more secure and successful.