A lot has changed in the business technology landscape in 2018, and things will likely accelerate in 2019. As we move into the new year, make sure your business tech is ready to compete. Between cultivating the flexibility to incorporate new technology and apps into your day-to-day business to taking advantage of the technology that’s already out there, there’s plenty you can be doing to make sure your business stays forward-focused.
1. Be Ready to Integrate New Solutions
You never know when a game-changing app or solution is going to pop up on your radar. Make sure you have the flexibility to work it into your business tech solutions. That means making sure you can pivot when you need to and that you’re constantly on the lookout for the next big thing.
Make sure your IT approach is proactive, not reactive, and that you focus on using technology to improve business processes, rather than putting out fires. If you need help, consider using a managed IT services solution to offload some of the daily work with network monitoring and threat detection.
2. Migrate to the Cloud
One major thing you can do to increase your adaptability is to migrate to the cloud. Moving key pieces of business data to cloud storage makes it easier for your employees to access them from anywhere, ensuring that work can get done no matter what.
This gives you the flexibility to consider potential employees from almost anywhere for remote positions. It also means that your business has greater resilience if the worst-case scenario were to happen because your data is decentralized and distributed.
Data is only the start, however. With hosted voice, you can migrate your entire business phone system into the cloud, giving you greater flexibility over how you manage and route your calls. Apps like Freshbooks and Gusto move business operations like bookkeeping, HR, and payroll to the cloud. Making these moves can make the difference between staying competitive in 2019 and being left behind.
3. Update Your Security
Data breaches for small businesses are on the rise, and 2019 may bring more of the same. If you haven’t taken the basic steps you need to take to protect yourself, you’re running the risk of falling victim to spear phishing, a man in the middle attack, hardware or software exploits, or worse.
The good news is that there are a few basic things you can do to improve your security. The first and most important thing is not to ignore the system messages you get bugging you to update your software.
Generally, updates are released because some sort of security vulnerability needs to be patched. These updates often pop up at the most inconvenient of times, but it’s important to pay attention to them because if the developer knows that something is a problem, then hackers do too.
The same thing can happen with hardware, so it’s important to make sure that all the devices on your network are patched, too. That means making time in your schedule to check for any new firmware updates available for anything connected to your network, whether that’s a printer or a router.
Your network is only as strong as its weakest link, so make sure your data is protected. If this sounds like a lot of work, work with a managed service provider to take care of it for you.
4. Take Advantage of Software-as-a-Service Solutions (SaaS)
When you look to refresh your business operations, consider SaaS options that give you the flexibility to mix and match what works for you. These cloud-based tools can help you with everything from project management to email marketing. If you realize you have room for improvement, a SaaS solution can take you from identifying the problem to solving it as quickly as possible.
5. Update Your CRM
CRMs are constantly evolving, and if you’ve been using one for a while, examine how you can improve the ways you manage your data. Salesforce has gone through some major shifts with Lightning and is adding more and more AI features with Einstein.
It takes a lot of energy to retrain people on your CRM, and it’s often essential to your business operations. While staying in your team’s comfort zone is certainly the easiest thing to do in the short term, you’ll eventually fall behind when it comes to integration and powerful new technologies. Take the time to evaluate your CRM implementation as it currently stands and how you might be able to update it to make the most of new technology.
6. Have a Conversation With Your ISP
Your internet service provider can do more than just connect you to the internet. (By the way, are you sure you have enough bandwidth to meet your future needs?)
Many ISPs offer unified communications, hosted voice, managed services, and more to make sure you’re getting the most out of technology. As you review what you could do better in 2019, don’t overlook your ISP as a resource to help you get more done.
What You Can Do Right Now
As we move into 2019, look at how your business currently uses technology and where you could stand to improve. Take advantage of new SaaS and business cloud solutions, double down on security and make sure you have the tools you need to get more work done in the new year.
- Shift your IT from a reactive to a proactive approach.
- Migrate more core business operations to the cloud.
- Update your devices and software to make sure your network is secure.
- Look at SaaS solutions to solve key business challenges.
- Update your CRM to take advantage of the latest technology.
- Talk to your ISP about what they can do to help and if you are in a Cox Business serviceable area give us a call or chat with us live online.
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