In a constantly evolving digital world, small businesses need to keep up with IT in order to stay relevant and meet evolving consumer demands. Even before the pandemic, many small businesses operated on tight budgets and faced unique challenges keeping up with their competition. In many circumstances, these issues were highlighted in the transition to working from home, as many small businesses lacked the necessary infrastructure to ensure business continuity in a remote landscape. A recent survey from CDW looking at small businesses found that 19 percent were prepared for remote work but faced some challenges, while 12 percent weren’t prepared but were able to pivot successfully. So, what should small businesses consider as we continue to navigate the remote landscape’s increasingly long-term horizon?
The new workplace
The pandemic forced organizations of all sizes to rethink their office of the future. While many small businesses may have been hesitant to allow employees to work from home, they have likely seen that productivity remained, regardless of where employees were sitting. The new reality will be work from anywhere, not work from home. CDW’s survey found that 42 percent of respondents noted employees will have the flexibility to continue working from home, meaning many business owners will need to increase or shift their IT investments to accommodate.
Cybersecurity is more important than ever
A data breach can be financially costly to any business and do irreparable damage to its reputation. It’s vital small businesses understand where potential cybersecurity gaps lie in their organization and how these may have increased in our new normal. With employees outside the office, devices connected to corporate networks have increased, similarly expanding the threat landscape to potential bad actors. Thankfully, small businesses took important steps to rectify this amid COVID-19, as our survey found that 20 percent of respondents invested in security software, and looking to the future, 22 percent of survey respondents will continue optimizing cybersecurity. While it’s important for organizational leaders to take cybersecurity seriously, they need to ensure the knowledge is shared with their employees. We found that only 48 percent of small businesses provide cybersecurity training or resources to small businesses, which can leave critical gaps as employees may not be aware of the threats they face.
Consider future-proofed data storage needs
Like organizations of any size, small businesses need to store data securely while giving all employees convenient access to important files.
The pandemic forced many small businesses to migrate to the cloud for the first time, which 55 percent of small businesses did at the outset of the pandemic according to a recent survey. Thankfully, small businesses did see value in the transition as a separate survey found 19 percent will continue to optimize their cloud infrastructure looking towards the future.
Where small businesses can begin
We know the pandemic has been difficult for all businesses and that IT investments can seem like a daunting challenge. Our survey of small businesses found that some of the key challenges amid the pandemic for small businesses looking at their IT infrastructure were not knowing where to start (13 percent) and being unsure of their needs (22 percent). Looking past the pandemic and into the future, small businesses foresee similar barriers as 11 percent don’t know where to start while 14 percent are unsure of their needs. For any small business looking to update their IT systems or just looking to understand what the starting point is, connect with one of our small business experts by visiting cdw.ca/smallbusiness.
Kale Johnson is a senior sales manager at CDW Canada. He works to develop small, medium and enterprise sales teams to provide the right IT solutions to customers across Canada.