Top Small Business IT Tips for 2024
Posted 12 Feb at 6:21 pm in Productivity
Let’s face it, the IT industry moves fast, so fast it’s nearly impossible to keep pace with all of the new products or features available today. But evaluating your existing Small Business IT services, familiarizing yourself with what your peers are doing, and identifying ways to be more efficient through technology is a strategic necessity for continual growth.
As your small business starts to scale, automation technologies for example free up time for you and your team to focus on dynamic tasks and seize growth opportunities as they emerge — all while your software handles the redundant work.
With the right mix of technology and talent, you can elevate your customer experience, and deliver seamless support (on par with that offered by big brands) while still maintaining the personal touch that propelled your small business to success in the first place.
Here are five IT tips for 2024 that every small business should know about:
1. Get your Small Business Cybersecurity Up to Par
Many SMBs believe that cybercriminals only target enterprise-level companies and don’t waste their time on smaller, less-fruitful prey. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Small businesses are ripe targets for hackers!
Did you know 61% of SMBs were hit by a successful cyberattack in the past year?
The truth of the matter is that small businesses are usually much more susceptible to cyberattacks than larger corporations — typically due to smaller cybersecurity budgets and the aforementioned false sense of security. As a result, only 14% of SMBs are prepared for a cyberattack.
Leveraging cybersecurity tools such as Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) and End-Point Detection and Response (EDR) are just a few ways that small businesses can level up their cybersecurity in 2024 to combat the evolving threats today.
Talk to your IT provider today to make sure they are up to date with a modern cybersecurity strategy to keep your data and your business protected.
2. Save time by leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI has been the hot topic for the past few years as enterprises have officially embraced it across many parts of their business. Now that it has officially gone mainstream, small and medium businesses are getting their feet wet identifying ways to leverage the power of AI to complement the way they work. These technologies can allow you and your team to focus on high-value work while simultaneously reducing the likelihood of human errors.
According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, 48% of small businesses started using AI tools from 2022 to 2023. Adopting AI is no longer optional — if you want to keep pace with the competition, you’ll need to jump on the AI bandwagon.
Copilot is Microsoft’s generative AI technology that comes free with some Microsoft 365 licenses. We’re seeing just about every department take advantage of this tool. For example, Copilot can summarize your meeting notes, help you draft an email, create a pivot table in Excel or PowerPoint presentation from an outline you created in MS Word. Or, let’s say you’re starting a project from scratch and need some ideas to jump start the process, Copilot can help get your creative juices flowing.
If you haven’t tried Copilot – or Chat GPT for that matter, you will be blown away by how it can get free up time in your day and make you more productive in your career and in your personal life.
3. Improve Collaboration by Migrating to the Cloud
Do you still have servers in your office for file sharing or to manage your legacy line of business application? That means in order for your employees to get to the data they need they are likely using a VPN or RDS to securely access that data. This can be a cumbersome, old-school way to manage your IT.
Today, by leveraging cloud-based platforms like Microsoft 365 or Google for Business, your employees can quickly access the data they need as long as they have an internet connection. Collaborate on documents in real-time, share files, and communicate with each other from anywhere in the world.
Today, in order to attract and retain top talent, you need to offer work-from-home flexibility to your team. By leveraging cloud services from Proper Sky, you can now collaborate and be just as productive as if they were still in the office.
4. Make Data-Driven Business Decisions
Data-driven decision-making is one of the most impactful changes you can make to your workflows in 2024. And by expanding your data collection and analytics capabilities, you can take a lot of the guesswork out of running your small business.
Power BI is a great tool for visualizing your data to make informed business decisions. Adding data to your decision-making workflows can be a true game changer for your business — according to Southern Oregon University, data-driven decision-making results in a 10% reduction in costs and an 8% increase in revenue on average. Instead of wondering whether you’re making the right decision, you can confidently move forward, knowing that your choices are supported by timely, relevant data.
5. Recession-Proofing Operations Through Outsourcing
According to Reuters, 52% of small business owners believe the U.S. economy is already in a recession. In response, many business owners are recession-proofing their businesses through strategic outsourcing. By outsourcing, business owners can control back-office costs and provide much-needed stability to their administrative processes.
Roughly one-third of small businesses outsource both IT and accounting services, with many more planning on outsourcing at least one process in the near future.
By partnering with an outsourced IT provider, you gain access to a team of experts on call 24×7 to support your business needs. A managed services provider like Proper Sky not only delivers IT helpdesk support services for your business, but they are working around the clock to make your environment as quiet as possible. Coupled with a team of cybersecurity experts, and a dedicated client strategy advisor available to ensure your IT decisions are aligned with your business goals, and maximizing your ROI.
Which of These Current IT Tips Should You Prioritize?
At Proper Sky, we talk to several small businesses a day to help them identify which processes and shortcomings are holding them back and how to leverage technology to eliminate any barriers.
If you’re not sure which of these current IT tips to prioritize in 2024, give us a call at 215.305.8899 and we’re happy to talk with you about where you’re looking to go in 2024 and make recommendations to help you get there.
Remember, the journey toward digital excellence is continuous, and you must remain agile, informed, and proactive to thrive in 2024 and beyond.