2021 Tech Trends To Be On The Lookout For With Small Businesses
Once the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, small businesses were impacted as well. One of the major trends over the past year has been the increase in widespread remote work. Companies had to not only develop, but also execute and maintain policies for employees to work remotely. While 2020 may be over, the impact of widespread remote work is not. This major change from 2020 will likely continue to define the way small businesses operate for years to come. Many of the solutions and tools that were created and used throughout 2020 will continue to help small businesses in the way they increase productivity in the near and distant future. Which trends should be focused on in 2021? Cloud-Native Technological Expansion Small businesses had to significantly change operations and put things back together when remove work started in response to COVID-19 shutdowns. For those small businesses that were already utilizing the cloud, they already had an advantage with application and data accessibility than those businesses who did not. As a result, for the small businesses that got a late start, they were pushed to speed up their digital transformation and move their processes to the cloud earlier than they may have planned, especially since operational software and collaboration solutions had to get there first. Considering that the trend of widespread remote work will continue indefinitely into the future, cloud-native technologies will be integral to maintain business continuity, and companies need to lean on those with the right expertise to transition into the future. Increased Usage of AI Intelligence & Automation Since small businesses usually don't have the budgets that their larger competitors have, they're always looking to maximize return on investment, and that's especially true when it comes to remote work. The previous operational structure for an IT department being pulled in different directions changes even more in trying to fix issues that come up with employees who need troubleshooting assistance when working from home. Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation have had their usage increased in frequency with small businesses, creating the concept of intelligent automation. Combining the two forces, rapid, end-to-end business process automation is empowered, and companies like IBM and Cisco are at the forefront of offering customer solutions to power them into the future of remote work. Decentralizing Security to Maintain and Protect Remote Workforces It's no secret that small businesses are forced to face security challenges on a more frequent basis in 2021. With the increase of people using the Internet in working from home, the number of phishing schemes has increased exponentially from past years, with their level of detail and sophistication rising as well. Businesses that utilize remote workers have to focus their attention on the endpoint with employees requiring network access from more devices, thereby increasing the risk of data being compromised as well. Solutions like Vmware's Carbon Black can be built into cloud environments and ensure a business has protection for all of its users and applications. Therefore, safeguards at every point of entry into a business environment need to be established, not only the data center itself. The importance of security integration into cloud-native applications will be a significant aspect moving forward for small businesses in finding a security partner to maintain these protections. Wi-Fi 6 and 5G Utilization For Peak Connectivity With connectivity evolving and changing in the ways that people are being connected, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G utlization has been centered on its application with the Internet of Things, especially when it comes to industries like manufacturing and energy with employees working in widespread physical areas. Connectivity is absolutely integral in businesses being able to operate across large physical spaces, requiring it to be able to meet the challenging demand. As a result, small businesses who adopt these connectivity forms to empower their workforce stand to gain more accessibility with their company networks than businesses that fall behind in its adoption. Cisco's Meraki is one solution that can be established and set up in homes to provide employees with the same type of powerful connection that they had in the office. Are you ready to implement some of these new technologies in your business? Get in touch with us as we have years of experience to assist is this area!