“Digital disruption is real. To survive, companies need to embrace and accelerate…The world’s most admired and best run businesses use IT for their competitive advantage”

Ritu Jyoti, IDC Research Director

 

Businesses need to be flexible in order to thrive sustainably. Increasingly, this means being able to embrace the rapidly shifting technological landscape. Where technology was once a small component of a business model, now businesses need to quickly be able to incorporate technological norms and innovations in order to remain competitive.

 

But, most of us business owners aren’t technology experts. While a passing interest may have once served to keep a foot in the door, business technology is now expanding and evolving at such a rate that keeping up to date with new innovations is a full time job alone.

 

So, in 2019, what do you need to consider to be able to keep your business thriving?

 

Cyber Security

 

As businesses have become more digitized, they have increasingly become targets of cyber-attack to steal, spy or hold vital data at ransom: More than two thirds of small businesses in North America have experienced a cyber security incident such as a phishing attack, malware or data breach within the last two years.

 

The primary targets of these attacks are SMBs: 61% of SMBs fell victim to a cyber-attack in 2016 and 71% fell on businesses with less than 100 employees. Despite this, SMBs tend to be the least likely to have invested in sophisticated defences. And as the arms race between security threats and defences develops, increasingly advanced methods and a dedicated, specialised team are becoming more and more necessary in order to remain resistant to threats. Yes, especially for SMBs.

 

Disaster Recovery

 

Data loss through ransomware, natural disaster, water damage, power outages or human error can be devastating for a business: 20% of SMBs have experienced data loss and 43% of businesses experience a serious loss of data without a system for recovering data close permanently. In order for a business not to be heavily affected by data loss, IT professionals agree that data must be recovered within 24 hours of loss. To be able to respond this quickly, businesses need a disaster recovery plan.

 

In 2019, being prepared to recover your data following data loss is much more than creating regular back-ups. Much like cyber security, a solid disaster recovery plan necessitates a dedicated team that are able to execute a pre-formulated disaster plan as soon as something goes wrong.

 

Typically businesses have implemented their own disaster recovery plans using in-house disaster recovery team/ IT support. However, DRaaS (or disaster recovery as a service) has become increasingly popular over recent years as it has been shown to be up to 32% cheaper than disaster recovery planning in house while allowing more sophisticated lines of disaster recovery.

 

The Cloud

 

Cloud storage and computing has been a vital part of allowing businesses to move away from the traditional working model of a centralised working location. Using cloud services and solutions, businesses have found it easier to store, use and share data and applications especially when there are people in multiple locations using the same data. But as using the cloud becomes the norm, security concerns become addressed and its use becomes more tailored – it’s expected that using the cloud will become more complicated.

 

Services such as SaaS (software as a service), PaaS (platform as a service) & IaaS (infrastructure as a service) are anticipated to grow by 23% – even more rapidly than in previous years. Likewise the global hybrid cloud market is expected to grow to a net worth of £46.8 Billion by the end of 2019. And it is anticipated that we will get our first look at a quantum computer which will be capable of AI, weather prediction and data encryption among many others.

 

We are going to see more and more options for business, new ways that we can run our businesses online with cloud functionality but it’s not going to be straight forward. Popular  cloud platforms such as Office 365 are familiar to many, platforms such as Azure or AWS may perform better but still require a ‘hand-holding’ approach to set up.