(This is a guest post by Ashley Lipman)
Small business owners often make the tragic mistake of thinking they aren't at risk. IT support and security are just for big companies. However, hackers and criminals often target small businesses as they tend to be far more accessible. This misconception about the need for support is what makes small businesses a target.
As the dawn of a new decade approaches, small business owners can learn from the IT trends of 2019. Here are some valuable IT considerations to incorporate into your organization's 2020 technology budget.
Data Backup Is a Priority
Data backup is the number one priority for IT professionals working with businesses. 94% of businesses that lose their data never recover, and many are out of business by the end of that same year.
As a result, one of the most important IT trends has been encouraging companies to back up everything. From accounting records to customer data, having a separate storage option for retrieval is vital for success.
When it comes to lost data, external breaches aren't the only concern. A significant portion of data loss is caused by human error.
Updates and Maintenance Matter
IT infrastructure and updates can be easy to ignore. Many of the inner workings of small business technology fall victim to the out of sight--out of mind mentality. However, the status of your infrastructure and software is something that investors and brokers who are buying and selling small business establishments look at closely.
Work with an IT consultant to see if you need any upgrades to improve your security. Schedule regular maintenance to prevent downtime and stop clicking the "remind me later" button on your computer prompts. Updates and maintenance keep data safe and secure.
Promote Employee Education
As previously mentioned, human error is mostly to blame for data loss and security breaches. While many small businesses worry about protecting data from hackers and external threats, it's often the employees who accidentally open the door and invite them in. There is a reason that some malware is referred to as a Trojan.
Prioritize employee education in regards to protecting sensitive data. Even simple reminders of not opening email links or downloading things to the computer can be useful. It's also essential to present information in a way that makes it a priority for them. In other words, identifying that these issues could ultimately result in a loss of job security.
Separate Public and Private Wifi
One of 2019's IT trends was a simple yet effective way to improve your business. Separating public and private wifi not only adds another layer of security for the transmission of sensitive information, but it also ensures higher performance.
Consider this: if you own a small coffee shop or other business where people love to come and work on their laptops. Security should be a main concern-- you don't know what you're inviting into your network. Additionally, the increase used of bandwidth could create a slower connection. Rather than worrying about your transactions timing out, have a separate, locked wifi account to ensure your business transactions run smoothly and securely.
Use the Cloud
More businesses are making the shift from traditional, in-house infrastructure to the cloud. There are many reasons for this burgeoning IT trend. First of all, less in-house infrastructure means reduced overhead costs. Using the cloud also increases flexibility and scalability, both for storage and access. Finally, it's bringing the business into the future and getting ahead of the curve.
Small businesses should also evaluate their options and determine how to use the cloud in their organization. From file sharing to replacing archaic accounting programs, cloud computing is a trend that will revolutionize how everyone does business.
If you haven't already implemented these significant IT trends from 2019, you'll need to create enhanced security and adaptability within your organization in 2020. Don't hesitate to invest in an IT audit from a reputable professional to get you started.
About the author: Ashley Lipman is a content marketing specialist at OutreachMama