Small Business Technology Benefits
Given the pace of changes in technology, conducting a technology audit of your business to identify where you can make changes and improvements is essential. It’s important to look at what you already have and to identify places where an upgrade or update can benefit your organization, and set you up for sustained growth.
In many instances, your local Internet service provider (ISP) can serve as an excellent resource to assist in a review and technology audit and to provide valuable insights and recommendations.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few key technologies small business is using today, the benefits, and what you can do to set your business apart from the competition.
1. Update Your Business Telephone Service
Your business telephone service can be more than just a way to talk to people. A hosted voice system, for example, can be a powerful way of bringing more flexibility to your day-to-day operations.
Moving to the cloud means you get better portability and resilience because the cloud hosts it all. On top of that, data about your phone system is easy to pull because everything’s already digital.
Another thing to consider when looking at your business telephone service is unified communications. Combine this with a hosted voice solution to bring all of your business communications together in one place, making it easier to stay on top of who needs what, no matter how the request came in.
2. Add or Upgrade WiFi for Employees and Customers
For employees, your network is one of the key ways they get work done. Make sure your business WiFi is running smoothly and fully up-to-date.
As equipment gets older, security professionals (and hackers) often discover vulnerabilities that can make your data accessible to anyone with the skills to breach your security. Make sure that you’re taking the time to update the firmware of anything plugged into your network to prevent that from happening to you.
For your customers, public WiFi is a great way to get customers through your doors, get them to stick around a little longer, and market your business. At the same time, operating a public network without the necessary precautions is like inviting people to hack into your network. Make sure you know how to insulate your business network from your public-facing one, or work with a managed WiFi provider who can handle that for you.
4. Move Your Business to the Cloud
When you’re conducting your technology checkup, a good place to pay close attention is where you can move more of your business into the cloud. Your biggest priority should be any data you rely on to maintain basic business operations. Moving to the cloud gives these operations the resilience to withstand even the worst case scenario.
5. Increase Your Bandwidth
Take a second look at the internet speeds you’re currently getting from your internet service provider, and make sure that bandwidth is meeting your needs—both right now and in the future, as your business grows. Factor in any additional business technology you’re adding to your toolkit for 2019. Things like public WiFi, cloud-based services, and unified communications all are dependent on your internet connection to work effectively.
6. Add Surveillance Security Tools
One of the most important security considerations is threat detection, which means monitoring for any suspicious activity as comprehensively as you can. For digital security, you can work with a managed IT services provider for 24/7 network monitoring. For physical security, you’ll want to think about surveillance security. Video, for example, protects you from theft, gives you the ability to review footage of an incident if the people involved disagree on what happened, and lets you take advantage of the emerging field of video analytics.
7. Make the Move to Managed Services
Network security, WiFi network maintenance, 24/7 network monitoring—if all of this sounds like a lot of work to you, don’t worry because there’s an easy way to get help. A managed service provider can take care of all of this and more, giving you a well-resourced IT department on a small business budget. Managed services provide you with the support you need now, with the capability of scaling with your company to take care of you in the future.
8. Upgrade Your Video Conferencing Capabilities
As the number of remote workers continues to grow, video conferencing has become more important than ever before to get valuable face-to-face time with your team. Many great apps like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Google Hangouts can help you step-up your conferencing technology and even record your meetings for future reference. Bandwidth is key for video, so make sure that your connection is up to snuff as well
9. Update or Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
You never know when a disaster may strike, and small businesses often don’t have a plan for how to get back up and running again in the worst case scenario. While you can’t make yourself immune to calamity, you can make sure that everyone knows what to do and your core business operations remain secure.
In high-pressure situations, everyone on your team needs to have thought through their decision-making responsibilities ahead of time, and that means making a disaster recovery plan. Moving critical data to the cloud, for example, means that you can focus on more immediate concerns, like getting your doors back open.
What You Can Do Right Now
- Conduct a technology audit to see where your small business technology is working for you and where you can make improvements to get more done with more efficiency.
- Upgrade your business telephone service with hosted voice and unified communications.
- Look at managed services to take care of everything from network monitoring to WiFi networking.
- Move any critical data to the cloud, and make a plan for disaster recovery.
- Add video surveillance to improve your security.
- Consider upgrading your bandwidth.
- Contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or Cox Business, if in Cox Business service area for assistance and recommendations with a technology audit.
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