Some 20 years ago, small-business technology was restricted to hulking beige desktop computers, plain-text email, and painfully slow internet. Many of the things we all take for granted today like instant messaging and social media were non-existent. The cloud referred to the weather, and today we look back with a grin at the times when the internet was quaintly referred to as the information superhighway.
We’ve come a long way since then. As technology continues to progress at an exponential rate, small businesses must focus on developing long-term IT strategies to maintain their competitive advantage. Today’s employees need constant access to important office files and businesses need to be protected from numerous cybersecurity threats facing them.
#1. Mobile Computing
20 years ago, mobile computing was very different from what it has become today. The only portable computing devices that were available were bulky laptops and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Smartphones were almost unheard of until the early 2000s. Furthermore, mobile internet didn’t exist, and even the short-lived popularity of WAP didn’t happen until 1999.
Today, mobile devices form a critical component for many businesses as the ability to work anywhere at any time becomes ever more important in modern organizations. Employees nowadays can get a head start on the day’s chores using their smartphone or tablet on the daily commute. Thanks to mobile computing, the modern worker no longer needs to be permanently restricted to the office desk.
#2. Cloud Computing
Like many computing technologies, the cloud can trace its history as far back as the ’60s when large data centers started using virtualization technology to use available computing resources more efficiently. However, the world of cloud computing has long since extended its boundaries to encompass a huge variety of workload types, including everything from customer relationship management to disaster recovery.
Cloud computing first appeared in its current form in the early 2000s, and it has seen an unprecedented level of growth since. With rapidly increasing internet speeds and more reliable networking technologies, businesses are migrating more and more systems to the cloud. Some even have entire virtual workspaces hosted in the cloud that they no longer need to maintain expensive in-house hardware.
#3. Internet Telephony
Like the telegraph before it, the trusty old landline seems doomed to disappear in the years ahead as it makes way for newer, cheaper, and more reliable technology. Back in the ’90s, the landline offered the only practical and reliable way for businesses to keep in touch, but that’s changed with the rise of web-based telephony and the many advantages it brings.
Today, internet telephony offers plenty of benefits to small businesses, including reduced call costs, centrally managed unified communications, and higher call quality. Thanks to VoIP, companies now enjoy a similar degree of the functionality previously available only to large enterprises. Better still, with a hosted VoIP service, you can stay in touch anywhere!
#4. Network Security
When information technology was still in its infancy around 20 years ago, cybersecurity was relatively simple. All you’d need to do is keep the latest antivirus software installed on your computers and implement physical and administrative safeguards to keep your data safe. But as technology continues to evolve, so does the cyberthreat landscape.
Though still a threat, computer viruses are now comparatively old-school. Far newer (and more dangerous) threats include social engineering scams, AI-powered attacks, ransomware, and new vulnerabilities in modern technologies. As such, keeping your network safe in today’s threat landscape needs a whole lot more than just antivirus – it requires round-the-clock monitoring, proactive threat detection, and staff training.
Navigating the complex world of modern business technology is never easy. That’s why Level 5 Management is here to provide you with IT solutions that align with the goals of your business and help set your organization up for success. Call us today to find out more.