3 Tech Trends for Small Businesses

Business is changing, are you ready?

Small businesses often live-and-die by the technology decisions they make. One smart move can catapult a company’s stature while failing to spot an important trend can spell disaster.

While there are many high-tech trends to watch, there are really three that rise to the top because they will most likely affect your business at some point, if they haven’t already.

Here are the most vital technology considerations your business should be tackling - now:

1. Endpoint Device Security

Did you know nearly two thirds (63 percent) of companies today have remote workers?
That’s a whole lot of people sitting outside corporate firewalls with laptops and notebooks that may not be as protected or secure from potential cyberattacks as they should be.
Do not take this risk too lightly. With vendors doing a bang-up job in recent years of shoring up the security of software, hackers have naturally turned their attention to hardware, which doesn’t always contain as many security features as it should. Indeed, the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike tells the story of how just one corporate laptop being used in a coffee shop allowed a sophisticated cybercrime group to penetrate an organization’s entire IT infrastructure.
By the way, endpoint security isn’t just about computers; it also extends to network printers. Those lonely machines, which often sit in some closet or corner of your office, have many of the same working parts as PCs and are just as digitally connected to the outside world.
But they are often overlooked as potential entry points for hackers. In fact, a Quocirca survey a few years back found 61 percent of large firms admitting to suffering at least one data breach resulting from unsecured printing. Those printers, therefore, also need to be protected against cyber-attacks.

2. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) may seem like a futuristic technology that has nothing to do with your day-to-day operations. But it’s actually here now, and many of your competitors are already putting it to use.
As a matter of fact, a recent Salesforce survey found nearly half (46 percent) of SMBs believe their businesses are ready to use AI. While only 8 percent of SMBs use the technology today, an additional 32 percent plan to implement it, representing a potential growth rate of 310 percent, according to the survey. Salesforce says among those already utilizing AI, the most common use cases involve automated service chatbots, lead prioritization and predictive analytics for marketing.
AI has direct and immediate application for your business. Its automation capabilities allow you to potentially offload many of the time-consuming and tedious activities that take you away from more important matters – such as driving new business and making money.

3. Computer Maintenance

You’ve invested hundreds or thousands of dollars in your computing equipment. But are you doing what it takes to maintain that equipment the way it deserves?
Too many small businesses don’t hire the proper staff or invest the time that’s needed to keep their computing equipment in tip-top-shape. At some point, this lack of attention ends up causing systems to slow down or perform poorly. Employee productivity often suffers as a result.
If you’re not going to upgrade those aging business computers (and experts say you really should every three to four years to stay current with technology), then the next-best thing is to either make sure you properly maintain them yourself or hire a qualified service provider to do it for you.
As a small business owner operating in the Digital Age, it’s important to stay abreast of most big technology trends coming down the pike. But few are more critical to your survival and success than protecting your endpoint devices, looking at ways to utilize AI and maintaining your computers. That’s where many prospering organizations are focused right now. You should be as well.
Thinking about putting new technology to work for your business but not quite sure where to start? Let an HP business expert help. They’ll work with you to identify the right technology for your business now and into the future, can assist with custom configurations, flexible financing options and much more.
Article reposted with permission from HP Tech Takes.

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