This article, “The Top 5 IT Concerns of Small Business”, is a summary of the Tech Tips for Business Podcast – Season 1, Episode 2 which you can find here: https://anchor.fm/cathy-miron
In our first episode, I spoke about my journey to find eSilo. I mentioned that as a part of the preparation for this role, I did market research to understand the top concerns of small business owners that they had with technology. Several of you asked: what were their most significant pain points and challenges? This question will be our primary focus.
The data came from months of internet research, reading every report, survey, industry blogs, news articles, vendor websites, and Small Business Association (SBA) forums to get a feel for what people were speaking of. What were their questions? I also spent much time interviewing small business owners, and others in the tech industry to see what kind of requests and problems vendors and IT people were receiving from their clients. Based on the collected information, I compiled a list of the top five IT concerns of small business owners.
#1 – Technology Is Expensive
The first and most significant of the concerns of small business owners was cost because small business budgets are stretched thin. Businesses often lack the funding to purchase necessary services and technology to keep their infrastructure current. In most small businesses, IT investments don’t directly drive revenue; therefore, unless there is business growth, there is little room for business leaders to increase their IT budget. The industry rule of thumb for large organizations is that 4-6% of revenue should be spent on IT each year. However, for small businesses or ones just getting started, this may not amount to a lot.
So what are small businesses spending their money on? IT spend breaks down into three main categories: hardware, software, and cloud services. This includes offsite backup, email hosting, software-as-as-service and others.
Now, of course, people & resources are also a significant part of any company’s IT budget – which is a nice segway into our second most common IT concern.
#2 – Limited IT Resources
The second of the concerns of small business owners is the lack of access to IT resources. According to studies, nearly half of small businesses outsource most or all of their IT management support. Now, why is that scary? Because business leaders can be less technical and, thus, become overly dependent on outsourced providers. Those leaders may not be in a position to ask the right questions, to probe, or challenge their IT vendor’s actions. They could be paying for services or software they don’t need but are tools the vendor is comfortable with, or worse, financially incentivized to sell through commissions or kick backs.
In a world of unlimited resources, having in-house IT is a better solution, but most small business budgets can’t afford it. Often, when that situation occurs, there is a small team of IT folks who are overworked, stretched thin, and tend to be a jack of all trades, yet are masters of none. Although for critical and intricate matters, like security and data backup, it does make sense to work with specialized providers for their expertise and to avoid headaches if something goes wrong.
#3 – Technology Changes So Rapidly
The third concern is the rapid rate of change in the technology world. Specifically, the proliferation of new technologies, which can be challenging to understand, compare and make the right selections.
I retrieved stats from internetlivestats.com to see what were the five stats on the Internet today, and on this day alone, 6.3 million blog posts were written. Shocking! A busy CEO trying to do a simple google search to compare different technologies, or understand which backup solutions are best, are bombarded with vendors vying for their click! It’s information overload, and these business leaders —that may not be mastered in tech—need help to sort through all the noise.
Here are four areas that small businesses say that need the most help:
- Understanding technology and tool selection.
- Implementing that technology and integrating it into everything else in their ecosystem.
- Educating their employees to make sure they understand procedures and policies, how to accommodate and use these new systems in their everyday work, and get the most value and productivity from them.
- How to secure and protect the data that they have in their organization.
#4 – Cybersecurity Threats are Evolving
This fourth concern of small business owners is crucial to pay attention to. Ransomware continues to make headlines, and last year there were highly publicized attacks on the cities of Baltimore, Atlanta, and several others here in Florida, where eSilo is based.
The cities of Riviera Beach and Lake City were forced to pay a ransom of 1.1 million dollars, in bitcoin, only a few months ago. Beyond just ransomware, you’ve also got data breaches making headlines. The American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA) exposed the data of 25 million patients. There are also new data privacy regulations between GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act— which recently took effect. Those are only a few recent data scares. Law offices, medical offices, and financial firms are also grappling with a variety of compliance requirements including HIPAA, PCI, and GLBA even though they’ve been around for years.
Security and compliance-related threats or concerns often stem back to the management and protection of sensitive data.
#5 – How to Build IT Environments that Scale
The fifth concern is figuring out how to scale their system’s environment as the company grows. Now, it is a great problem to have, but it’s needed to have experienced partners to help them formulate a real IT strategy during their growth. Notably, one that takes advantage of cloud services, which allows flexibility and scalability, and is inherent in a Pay As You Go rental service model.
To recap, the top 5 IT concerns of small business owners are:
- The cost of modern technologies
- Access to IT resources and skills
- The rapid pace of change in IT
- The security and compliance demands on all businesses
- The challenge of growing and scaling effectively
So at eSilo, how are we addressing these concerns? How are we helping our clients sleep better at night?
- First and foremost, we are data backup and protection experts. When you work with us, you work directly with our engineers. These are skills, roles, and resources you don’t have to hire yourself.
- Second, we stay on top of industry trends. It’s the driver of our partnership with Veeam last year – they are leading in innovation in this space. We want to make sure that our customers receive regular feature updates and new capabilities, especially as cloud and other technologies progress forward.
- Third, we’ve built security and compliance into everything we do. No matter what anybody tells you, if you get hit with ransomware, the only surefire way to avoid paying a ransom or losing data is to have secure online backups—end of story. This is incredibly important.
- And lastly, we do what we do at scale. The cost that you pay for online data backup with eSilo is less than 1 percent of the cost of downtime would be if you had a major outage or the cost of what the ransom demand would be – if you experienced ransomware.
We believe in a “pay for what you use” model. As your business scales or needs change, we help you grow as you go! If protecting your data is a priority, please take a look at our services or sign up for a Free Trial. Feel free to reach out to our support team if you have any questions, we are happy to help!
Join our free, members-only Facebook group or drop us a note to let us know what you’d like to hear about next.