As 2017 winds down, we are looking ahead to see what the technology landscape looks like for small businesses in 2018.
Technology changes rapidly, but with it comes increases in productivity, avenues of competitive advantage and unfortunately some increasing complexity.
Here is what we see for 2018.1. Security is more important than ever.
Security will continue to dominate the conversation in 2018 as businesses, homeland security, and big business start to come to grips with technology driven business threats.
Security as a Service will continue to ramp up as businesses of all sizes are required to protect their confidential information. As a service, managed security will be a more cost effective and easier way for small businesses to get what they need without breaking the bank or trying to find scarce resources.
We will also see security compliance requirements continue to rise.
Insurance will be affected right out of the gate. A new Cyber Model Law will require each insurer, agent and other entities to design and develop an information security program.
These kind of compliance programs will also be coming down the pike for financial services, banks and anyone touching personal information.
Security will simply be a cost of doing business for all of us.
2. The Internet of Things and mobile devices bring new security concerns.
IoT or Internet of Things will cause some new security concerns. These connected devices like security cameras, come with their own vulnerabilities.
Some companies, like Dyn, have already experienced a denial of service attack that came through malware on one of their connected devices because they had not thought to change the security configuration.
Mobile devices, which are now an integral part of the business landscape also will see an increased need for management. Security and the ability to wipe a folder or apps from a stolen or compromised device will be a growing norm.
3. Cloud usage will become the norm.
We will continue to see businesses move more of their business to the cloud either public, private or a combination. According to IDE’s 2016 report on the state of the Cloud, over 70 percent of small companies with fewer than 100 employees have adopted cloud on some level. Adoption jumps to 90 percent for mid-sized businesses with 101 – 999 employees.
What is driving the most use of the cloud? Cloud based backup, cloud storage, file sharing, email and collaboration tools. Email and cloud productivity suites continue to grow in the cloud. Google Apps and Microsoft 365 continue to duke it out. It seems that the edge will go to Microsoft 365 in terms of market share.
4. SaaS or software as a service also continues to push small businesses to the cloud.
We predict we will see a rise in small businesses using applications in the cloud, which will increase productivity and mobility. On the flip side, we see that SaaS will create some new challenges for small businesses.
While the benefits outweigh the cons, we predict that we will need to look a little more at how these hosted software solutions backup your data and how you access it. I recently had a business owner who in-putted 30 hours of updates in a cloud inventory system. She inadvertently erased the files only to discover they could not get that data back.
We have yet to see all the implications that will need solutions.
5. Collaboration tools will continue to be a big business driver.
The internet has certainly changed the way we do and can do business. Collaboration will continue to grow in 2018 with things like file sharing etc.
Right now, Skype for Business which was bought by Microsoft a few years back is the most widely used. The next two players are Google Hangouts and Slack.
But according to a recent survey, Microsoft Teams, a collaboration tool that launched in 2016 is predicted to become the second most widely used collaboration tool.
As technology advances it brings both exciting opportunities and some un-anticipated challenges. Looking forward, 2018 should be an interesting year of progress.
Restech is trusted technology partner to over 450 small to mid-sized businesses. We are passionate about helping our clients continually succeed with the IT solutions they need to grow and compete.