As the holiday season rolls around and businesses wrap up their budget planning for next year, business leaders focus on getting the best return for each dollar spent. Whether it’s cutting excess fat or investing in a plan for the long term, there are multiple ways the owners can go about this. Optimizing technology usage, especially around the holiday season, is advantageous for many reasons. This article covers four technology tips for small businesses that can be implemented during the holidays and throughout the year.
IT spending in the shift toward technology
The ideal dream for business owners is to reduce spending wherever possible without compromising productivity and efficiency. There are many places business owners can address, from negotiating office supply costs and lease contracts to analyzing staffing costs. That being said, another expense to look into is IT spending.
As we begin to rely more on technology, companies around the globe are participating in digital transformation, the practice of adopting new technology. In SWZD’s 2023 State of IT survey, researchers found that 51% of organizations plan to increase IT budgets in 2023. On top of that, only 6% of businesses plan to decrease IT spending. Business owners are increasing their IT spending due to a variety of factors. They plan to:
- Upgrade outdated technology.
- Remove inefficient processes.
- Gain a competitive advantage.
- Increase employee productivity and workflows.
- Save time with automated processes.
- Reduce errors and mistakes.
- Utilize new tools and resources.
- Increase protection for their business assets.
Preparing your business for the holidays
1. Outsource whenever possible
A common tactic small to medium-sized businesses use is outsourcing IT to a managed service provider. IT outsourcing saves money long-term, and managed services spending will account for 18% of IT budgets in 2023, an increase from 15% in 2020. Outsourcing is the best option for small businesses that want to invest in departments other than their IT when planning a digital transformation strategy.
The holidays are right around the corner and having a complete, external IT department to monitor, manage, and maintain your entire IT infrastructure is a must. Outsourcing your IT will make you worry-free when you and your employees are out of the office, strengthens your business’s cyber security, and reduces IT spending. Implementing these technology tips for small businesses will benefit your business during the holidays and beyond.
2. Support your WFH employees
It’s the holiday season. What does that mean? Businesses are closed for the holidays, and more workers will work remotely, in and out of the office. Supporting your Work From Home (WFH) employees is essential in the shift for companies adopting new technology. These employees can make magic happen in the comfort of their own homes, so it’s wise to incorporate systems to streamline processes and enhance collaboration. If your business doesn’t currently have productivity software, look into Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 for businesses to support your employees. By incorporating cloud-based software as the baseline for communication within your company, you and your employees will find it easier to communicate internally and across departments.
Another way to support your WFH employees during the holiday season is by ensuring they have the right technology to work remotely. For example, by incorporating a video conferencing platform, employees can utilize this tool to make meetings more efficient. Furthermore, if you’re concerned about cyber security, set up a secure virtual private network (VPN) for employees who plan on working in public spaces. This gives you and your employees peace of mind when working over a public network.
3. Protect your business during office closures
The scary truth about the holiday season is that your most important business assets and customer data are left alone when your office is closed. Your assets are highly susceptible to cyber-attacks during this time because no one is online. Well, no one should be online. Cyber hackers are putting extra work in to take advantage of the lack of activity within your company during the holidays. So, to stay protected during office closures, it’s crucial to have a 24/7 security operations center (SOC) monitoring your business, especially during the holiday season.
A SOC is responsible for protecting businesses and organizations against cyber threats around the clock. Without active monitoring, your business risks information exposure and data compromises. These are a few ways a security operations center benefits your business:
- Keeps cyber attackers at bay.
- Actively scans for suspicious activities.
- Stops threats in their tracks.
- Performs threat response actions to resolve harmful threats.
- Reduces risk and costs associated with cyber breaches.
4. Look for technology deals of the season
Around Thanksgiving every year, companies will announce their deals of the year in preparation for Black Friday and Christmas gifting. As technology experts, we recommend taking advantage of Black Friday technology deals to finally purchase that laptop you were eyeing a few months back. We recommend looking out for exclusive hardware and software pricing among vendors, either online or in-store. At Parried, we offer exclusive deals on hardware and software to save businesses money through our partnerships with popular software and security companies. It’s a win-win situation – your business gets brand-new technology, and you’ll have more money to spend elsewhere.
Any free IT resource in the digital transformation shift is valuable for business managers looking to improve their technology. These technology tips for small businesses especially come in handy when starting in this shift towards technology. Many technology blogs, downloadable resources, and IT webinars on YouTube provide professional advice on improving your business technology.
Supporting businesses during the holidays
The holidays are a time to relax and not stress about your business’s security or IT challenges. By preparing for office closures with technology tips for small businesses, your business will be set up for success. At Parried, we help companies succeed by monitoring, managing, and maintaining their technology with our managed IT services. You’ll have peace of mind with a robust cyber security strategy, expert IT solutions, and a complete IT department working for you, even when your team is out of the office. Schedule a free IT consultation with our team of experts to start preparing for this holiday season.