SCORE Small Business Blog

Growing: Have You Upgraded Your Technology?

How Does Your IT Stack Up?

How do your company’s IT spending plans compare to those of other businesses this year? According to the latest CDW IT Monitor, small business IT decision-makers are in a state of “cautious optimism” (sound familiar?).

While IT budgets aren’t rising (just 24 percent of companies say they expect to spend more on IT solutions this year), small companies are spending where it counts.  This year, that includes virtualization, security and cloud computing solutions.

There are compelling reasons every small business should be making IT investments right now. First, there are some new threats out there. Social networking, mobile devices and plain old internal problems are the key threats that small business IT decision-makers cited this year.

If you and your employees are actively using social networking to market your business, you need to take proper precautions to ensure you aren’t putting your data or your network at risk. And with employees increasingly using mobile devices—both company-provided and personal—at work, there are more ways than ever for your system to be compromised. Last, but not least, human error and poor judgment are still the most common ways that small businesses get hacked. Set policies for safe computing in the workplace, and make sure your employees know and follow them. But for the times they don’t, making sure you have the latest firewalls and other protections in place is an investment you can’t afford not to make.

Second, investing in IT can enable you to take advantage of the power of virtualization and cloud computing. Both are major changes in the way we use computers. And both have the power to lower your IT costs in the end by making it easier to store and secure your data without relying on physical drives or servers in your office, and by ensuring you always have the latest applications you need to run your business without having to physically buy and install software.

An equally useful benefit: Virtualization and cloud computing can allow you and your employees to work from anywhere, anytime. That gives you more freedom in how you run your business. It allows you to hire the employees you need wherever they may be located, instead of being limited to your community’s labor pool. And it simplifies and streamlines your life. If you’re as busy a business owner as I am, I think you can agree that simpler is pretty much always better.

Your SCORE Mentor can help you determine what IT investments will give you the most bang for your buck right now. Visit SCORE’s website to get matched with a Mentor for free advice 24/7.

Rieva LesonskyCEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. | @rieva | More from Rieva

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