“Fad” is a dirty word for many small-business owners. Whether it’s what they’re selling or what they’re investing in, business owners need long-term and reliable investments to secure their future. With 2017 in the rearview mirror, we finally know what was a fad and what was a smart investment. See for yourself!
Small Businesses Love the Cloud
According to research from IDC, more than 70% of businesses with 10-99 employees took advantage of cloud technology in 2017, and that number is expected to rise this year. This is largely due to IT providers demonstrating that the cloud is just as, if not more, secure than on-premises solutions. The list of possibilities for what can be hosted in the cloud on a small-business budget is getting longer every day — if you’re not devoting resources to this technology, it’s time to jump onboard.
Mobile Payments Earn Users’ Trust
Like the cloud, making credit card purchases using a mobile device suffered from a trust deficit in its early stages. For good reasons, consumers have been conditioned to treat IT security with caution, and storing financial information on a smartphone that could wirelessly transmit that information to cashiers sounded dangerous.
However, after two years of availability without any major incidents, the number of users who have used smartphone-based wallets like Apple Pay has doubled. Accepting these payments is relatively simple for small businesses and opens up new business opportunities.
Cybersecurity Becomes More Affordable
Ransomware had yet another year of explosive growth, and small firms and medium sized and businesses were a primary target. Thankfully, managed IT services providers met the increased demand for cybersecurity services with intelligent data backup and network protection solutions tailored for SMB budgets. There will be even more ransomware attacks in 2018, which means you should be investing in more cybersecurity services than you did last year.
The Internet of Things Gains Popularity
Just a couple years ago, Internet of Things (IoT) devices were novelty gadgets for people with money to burn. Everything was being connected to WiFi networks: egg trays, pet-activated video chats, belts, you name it. But due to more useful applications in 2017, nearly a third of US businesses are now taking advantage of IoT gadgets. Connected thermostats, door locks, and AI assistants make it easy to save money, increase security, and boost productivity.
“Artificial Intelligence” is Widely Adopted
Although we’re still far from building computers that can truly think for themselves, 2017 was the year that computers got much better at creatively organizing and interpreting data for us. From digital assistants that answer your phones to customer relationship management platforms that intelligently uncover sales opportunities, IT solutions for business are getting significantly cheaper and smarter. Experts predict that more than 30% of businesses will use AI by next year and we recommend you join their ranks.
Technology investments are no different from any other investment. There will always be risks and you should always consult with an industry expert first. When you’re ready to get more value out of your IT, give us a call at 800-421-7151 and we’ll get started on your 2018 plan!