As technology evolves rapidly, small and medium-sized organizations must keep up with the latest advancements to remain competitive in their respective industries. It’s essential to stay ahead of the curve and continuously budget for IT developments, contributing to productivity, efficiency, and security. In this article, we’ll discuss the top 5 areas for small and medium-sized businesses should prioritize in their 2024 budgets.
Area 1: Cybersecurity
Cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and pose a significant risk to all organizations. A data breach can result in loss of sensitive information, financial loss, and damage to a company’s reputation. Therefore, investing in advanced cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, and regular security audits is critical.
According to Trend Micro’s article “4 Popular Cybersecurity Myths vs. Facts”, cybersecurity is a highly diversified and specialized area:
“Organizations often see cybersecurity as a single, comprehensive function when, in fact, it is highly diversified and specialized. Architecture planning is radically different from app development, for instance, and incident response is by no means the same as running a NOC.”
Partnering with a Managed Services Provider (MSP) like ITMedics can provide the added benefit of having a team of experts continuously monitor and update your security protocols, significantly reducing the risk of an attack without increasing overhead costs.
Area 2: Cloud Services
Remote work is more common than many years ago, no matter our role in the organization. As such, cloud-based solutions are becoming an essential tool for organizations. Cloud services offer flexibility, scalability, and accessibility, making it easier for employees to collaborate, store, and access data from anywhere. These cloud services may include providers such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, but these cloud services go beyond providing organizations access to software programs.
For example, when evaluating your organization, ask yourself if your staff is currently:
- Storing valuable work documents on their computer hard drive?
- Saving documents only to their account storage folders?
- Using email to store documents that they have received?
- Searching for the most up-to-date document versions?
If your answer to any of the above is “Yes!” your organization needs to develop a plan, not just to migrate those essential documents to a cloud service but also to retrain staff to protect that information. Relocating valuable data and documents to a single, searchable location will ensure that files are up-to-date for relevant staff to access.
These cloud services provide organizations with flexibility vital for operating multiple locations or with on-the-go employees while saving companies on hardware and maintenance costs reducing overhead expenses.
Area 3: Managed IT Services
Maintaining a reliable and secure IT infrastructure can be time-consuming and costly, and many small and medium-sized enterprises operate without an in-house IT department. Organizations can outsource network management, hardware and software upgrades, and help desk support functions by utilizing managed IT services. An MSP can provide added benefits like:
- 24/7 monitoring;
- Proactively identifying and resolving issues before they cause downtime;
- Ensuring compliance with regulations.
Optimizing your helpdesk services gives employees the tools to be more productive, such as:
- staff needing help with printers and monitors,
- setting up and logging into computers,
- walking new hires through logging on to numerous systems,
- troubleshooting ISP or phone issues,
- and so much more.
Learn More> The Ultimate Guide to IT Helpdesks
Learn More> How to Customize Your MSP Services to Your Business
Area 4: Business Intelligence and Analytics
Business intelligence and analytics tools provide insights into organization operations by analyzing data and identifying patterns. These insights help organizations make informed decisions regarding marketing strategies, customer behavior, and identifying expansion opportunities. Investing in business intelligence and analytics tools can provide a significant competitive advantage by delivering valuable insights that inform a wide range of business decisions.
However, implementing and maintaining these tools can be daunting and time-consuming, especially for businesses without an in-house IT department. An MSP can work with the client to identify the tools that best fit their goals, streamline their operations, and stay ahead of the competition.
Area 5: Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as sensors, wearables, and connected machinery are becoming ubiquitous in business. These devices help organizations automate processes, reduce costs, and improve efficiency. Investing in IoT devices unique to an organization’s needs and goals can significantly benefit productivity and operational efficiency.
Planning Your Budget
In conclusion, small and medium-sized businesses need to stay current with the latest IT advancements. By budgeting for cybersecurity, cloud-based solutions, managed IT services, business intelligence and analytics, and IoT devices, businesses stay ahead of the curve, maintain competitiveness, and prepare for the challenges of 2024 and beyond.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can develop a budget to help your organization thrive in the age of technology.