Get a Quote

Technology Challenges Faced by Small Businesses in 2021

Five people with a man holding a laptop in his hand explaining the top technology challenges faced by the business in the office environment

The year 2020 saw the novel Coronavirus sweeping the world into a pandemic situation, and businesses were totally caught unaware. As lockdown and travel restrictions came into effect, organizations worldwide grappled with the new challenge of creating an online workforce and maintaining business continuity.

Businesses were under tremendous pressure to keep their systems running, manage scalability on demand, comply with regulatory requirements and safeguard themselves from the rising number of security threats.

However, technology indeed helped many businesses thrive in the challenging landscape of 2020. Now, in 2021, as organizations come to terms with the new normal, there are several technical challenges that they need to be prepared for. This is significant for a successful digital transformation of their business and to ensure they are future-ready.

 

Common technology challenges for SMBs

IT Security

IT security is one of the vital aspects of any business. Securing your intellectual property (IP), customer databases, financial documents, etc., is particularly important for you to thrive in a competitive landscape. It has been a common practice for SMBs to struggle with data security and privacy. But it’s time for you to plan your IT security strategy, to ensure that your business-critical information is not compromised.

 

Integrations and Upgrades

Integrations and regular upgrades form the core of any digital transformation initiative. Migration and upgrades are time-consuming processes and require strategic planning and execution. When you set out to migrate your legacy systems onto newer platforms or decide to modernize them with a new architecture, you will realize that the quantum of planning is enormous. Hence it’s imperative that you chart out a foolproof IT management strategy to mitigate the risks associated with such upgrades and increase your preparedness for future IT demands.

Cyberthreats

In addition to creating operational difficulties for many businesses, the pandemic has exposed how vulnerable remote operations are to cyberattacks. This is evident from the unprecedented rise in cyber threats and data breaches in 2020-2021. As an SMB, you might think that your business is hardly a target. In fact, a recent study by Bullguard indicates that at least 60% of small businesses believe they are an unlikely target for cybersecurity attacks. But did you know that at least 43% of all the data breaches that happened in 2020 – 2021 involved just small businesses? So now is the time to ramp up your security framework to safeguard your business and ensure business continuity.

AI and Automation

Thanks to the rise in popularity of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning solutions, you now have access to a gamut of automation solutions that you can leverage for your critical business functions. These AI, and ML models have the ability to harness the power of data and enable predictive analytics that help you overcome many of your business challenges. However, not every solution or algorithm is proven to perfection. Thus, you will be required to do a detailed analysis to identify the best solution that is most suited to your business objectives.

Remote Operations Support

From the onset of the pandemic, work from home has been the only functional option available for most businesses. And, we already realize that this trend is most likely to continue. Hence, enabling seamless collaboration among the remote workforce for ensuring minimal disruption becomes the top priority for all businesses. In this scenario, integrating cloud-enabled workplace solutions and mobile applications into your business operations becomes critical to future proof your functions. Further, it is also important for you to have an optimized IT support strategy to support your remote workforce on the ongoing IT issues that they may encounter.

Business Continuity Planning

The success of any business is largely dependent on its ability to handle disaster situations and come out of them with minimal disruption in operations. Though the past year was not something to treasure, nevertheless, it had brought forth some crucial issues concerning disaster recovery and business continuity. 2020 and the ensuing pandemic situation had left many businesses clueless about their evolving IT needs. Most organizations had to struggle hard to get on board the necessary technology that could keep their business running. Disaster preparedness became an urgent necessity for businesses across the globe. Thus, it would do well for you to have a solid disaster recovery strategy.

Data Privacy and Compliance

It is estimated that approximately 36 million business records have been breached just during the first half of 2020. Further, it’s quite alarming that most of these breaches had a financial motive. Thus, in the wake of the pandemic, data privacy has emerged as one of the most crucial aspects for any business. With the pandemic driving businesses to embrace self-service applications, you must find the right balance between sustenance and data security and governance.
In addition to protecting their business-critical data, businesses often find it challenging to identify the specific regulatory requirements they need to comply with. This is because compliance needs can vary with

  • Size of the establishment
  • Business model
  • Industry vertical
  • Area of business
  • Type of customers

So it is important that you take time to understand the specific compliance standards applicable to your business so that you don’t face non-compliance penalties.

Cloud computing

The need to have a cost-effective and resilient business model has given rise to cloud-enabled services like SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and DRaaS (Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service). However, you should be aware that not every cloud solution will be compatible with your business processes. Before you go with cloud adoption, you should have a clear strategy that includes details on how you would deal with your legacy systems that are not cloud-native.

IT Agility

The evolution of technologies is ever fluid, and it is almost impossible to foresee the impact of some technologies in the future. However, in order to be future-ready, planning an agile IT infrastructure should be at the top of your IT strategy. Improving IT agility is crucial if you wish to thrive in this uncertain, dynamic, and volatile landscape.

The Skill Gap

A recent study revealed that more than half (55%) of the surveyed employers believe that skill gaps exist in their IT teams. Companies are seeing a rising disparity in the skills they possess and those they desire. It is even more challenging to hire and retain employees with the right balance of skills and experience. The solution is to engage in employee development. Training initiatives should form the core of your employee engagement activities to ensure higher productivity and the overall success of your business.

How to Overcome These Challenges

As we sail through 2021 and look into the future, information technology will have a critical role in our daily functions. Any change is difficult. But embracing change and marching ahead is the key to staying resilient to such a change. As daunting as they may sound, some of the above challenges can be overcome by adopting some best practices:

  • Remove or replace some of your legacy software, but exercise caution and retain only those that you absolutely need for your business.
  • Encourage your employees and inspire them to adapt to change.
  • Invest in skill development as a key initiative to stay on top of any challenges.
  • Embrace automation, but create new roles to leverage human capital.
  • Focus on business agility to ensure your business is safe and reliable for your customers.

 

Challenges Can Become Your Opportunity

Despite these challenges, the pandemic has been an eye-opener for businesses having doubts about technology transformation. Many have realized that it has become now more critical than ever to invest in IT. With the right help, you can tide over many of these challenges and forge ahead as a future-ready business. Get in touch with CMIT Solutions to redefine your IT strategy and convert challenges into opportunities.

Remember! Success and growth begin with the decision to move over and beyond the uncertainties of your present circumstances.

GOT QUESTIONS?

We can help. Whatever your technology problem is, chances are, we've seen it before.