5 IT tips every SME should follow

It’s a rapidly changing world out there and taking advantage of the right technologies for your business can help you achieve the growth you’re after in a highly competitive, global marketplace.

Whether you’ve just emerged from the startup phase or are already expanding your offering and opening new branches, there are some solid IT tips and strategies that every Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) should be aware of.

Invest in cyber security

The landscape of cybersecurity investments
Photo: Dan Grytsku, BS

Malware and ransomware attacks are a growing problem for every size business, but smaller businesses can be especially vulnerable, as they generally present a softer target. In fact, small businesses made up a whopping 58% of malware attack victims in 2018 – a pretty frightening statistic.

The heartening news is that while attacks are becoming ever more sophisticated, that means there’s just as big an incentive for the ‘good guys’ to come up with ways to keep those businesses safe. By investing in endpoint security solutions rather than relying just on a simple antivirus program, you’re adding that extra layer of protection that makes it less likely you’ll become a target, and there are several affordable options designed specifically for SMEs on the market.

Embrace all things mobile

google mobile app
Photo: Ingo Joseph, Pexels

The ubiquity of the smartphone has completely changed the way consumers interact with businesses and brands online, with more than 52% of web traffic now coming from mobile devices rather than desktops. That’s right – if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website design, more than half of your potential customers are going to be frustrated by or entirely unable to use your website the way they want to.

If you haven’t done so yet, make a mobile-friendly website your number one priority this year, because that 52% of users is growing rapidly as the functionality of mobile devices continues to expand at lightning speed. Make use of Google’s free Mobile-Friendly test to see whether your website is considered mobile-ready yet, as well as for some suggestions on how to improve it.

Aside from your website, going mobile can pay off in other big ways too. Creating your very own mobile app can be an extremely effective marketing strategy – and you no longer need highly specialized skills to develop one. Platforms like Microsoft PowerApps do most of the technical work for you. Mobile payment platforms can also be a valuable investment for your business.

Hire the latest hardware

Server ralabilitity
Photo: Shock, Bigstock

If you’re sick of forking out a small fortune for the latest IT equipment only for it to become obsolete within a few years, you’re not alone. While purchasing some equipment outright still makes good financial sense, you can save cash and frustration by rather renting the IT equipment you only need for a short term requirement or where you need the very latest and greatest from providers like Tech Brain.

Keep your data safer in the cloud

Getting into the cloud has several benefits for SMEs. Being able to access your files and applications anytime from anywhere, more easily scalable infrastructure, and reduced upfront costs thanks to monthly payment options where you only pay for what you need are just a few of them.

Another big, big plus for small businesses is that it allows you to take advantage of the data security measures the big guys use. Security updates, reduced risk of data loss and disaster recovery are all managed for you by a third party whose business depends on providing the latest and most secure technologies.

Consider automation software

Writing keywords for PPC
Photo: Redpixel, Bigstock

A lot of small and medium businesses spend a huge number of man-hours on repetitive, monotonous and menial tasks that have to be done, but don’t actively add value for the company. Identify what these tasks are and how much time could be saved by automating them, and you could be freeing up a lot of resources.

And lastly – don’t rely on tech to solve problems with flawed in-house processes

While IT can be extremely helpful in many aspects of your business, it’s not going to be able to fix issues and bottlenecks if there are deeper underlying problems with your day to day processes. Make sure you know what you’re actually trying to achieve with a new piece of software before you buy it, and don’t expect any piece of tech to be a magic wand that can make issues with problems like internal communication or employee engagement disappear overnight.

If you have a clear idea of your goals and understand where your bottlenecks are, tech can make finding the solution much easier, faster and cheaper – but you still have to know what you intend for it to accomplish first.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Executive Editor at Best in Australia. Mike has spent over a decade covering news related to business leaders and entrepreneurs around Australia and across the world. You can contact Mike here.
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