Despite the pummeling small- and medium-sized (SMB) businesses took in 2020, the SMB scene has found new grit in 2021. As SMBs make new game plans for not just surviving but thriving, technology is at the top of their priority lists – as it well should be. Research from Parks Associates1 shows that 43% of SMBs are “very likely” to invest in additional IT capabilities over the next six months. And even 57% of bars, restaurants, and other food-service related SMBs – the businesses that got hit the hardest during the pandemic – are showing the highest interest in IT services and the highest intention to spend despite still being at risk of going out of business.
Perhaps that’s because SMBs have caught on to the truth that shoring up IT and telecom is essential for making it through unforeseen events. There are a few solutions, though, that should be closer to the top of any SMB’s list. Read on for the four must-have SMB solutions that will carry your small business through the next decade.
Cloud: King of SMB Scalability
The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council2 found that small businesses have been increasing their use of cloud services, and the pandemic only drove that trend further. 63% of SMBs surveyed were using cloud storage, and 35% use cloud computing for communication and collaboration, video conferencing and webinars, and invoicing, sales, and expense tracking. Small businesses have developed a dependence on cloud because of its flexibility, scalability, and cost effectiveness. Any small business looking to achieve scalable operations must look to the cloud. Soon, the legacy systems SMBs host will be outdated, unserviceable, and unsupported. If they look to the cloud then, they will be behind the 8 ball.
SD-WAN: Not Just for Multi-Location Businesses
It used to be that software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) was touted as the solution for multi-location businesses that needed to centralize their IT and network management. While that still certainly holds true, SD-WAN has also shown itself to be a boon for the SMB as well. Smaller businesses – without the robust IT staff of larger enterprises – can add, change, and manage their networks from centralized consoles with SD-WAN. And it’s the ideal solution to support a network that needs to run multiple cloud applications.
Cyber Security: The Elephant in the Room
All of your networking technologies and cloud solutions will be no good if your business is vulnerable to malicious actors, and SMBs are particularly notorious for not onboarding the cyber security they need to stay adequately protected. BullGuard3 found that one-third of companies with 50 or fewer employees are using free, consumer-grade cyber security, and one in five companies use no endpoint security at all. Cyber security is an absolute must in today’s IT environment where hackers get more sophisticated by the hour and SMBs are racing to catch up. The right security technology will keep your business proactive against damaging attacks.
A Telecom Audit: The Real First Step
The money for new technology doesn’t just materialize, but SMBs can find it by conducting telecom audits. An audit will show you where you’re overspending, what solutions you don’t need anymore, how vendors are duping you into paying for services you aren’t using, and where you can save. An expert such as PAG can take a look at all your existing solutions and bills and show you where you’re leaking money. With that savings, you’ll be able to invest back into the right technology to keep your SMB solutions working for your business for the long term.
Set Up for Success Today
PAG’s experienced technology experts and auditors have been helping businesses like yours save millions of dollars for years. When we conduct an audit for your SMB, you don’t pay us a dime until we discover where you can save money. If you’re interested in learning more about telecom audits or have other questions for us, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help you grow.