Businesses use a vast array of technology for several different purposes. Some businesses use a muted strategy, while others depend on a technology-centered strategy to completely run their business’ operations. With businesses really trying to maximize their profitability, many turn to the automated tools offered by technology to cut their human resources costs. This month we thought we’d discuss some of the basic technology that even the smallest businesses are using to get ahead in a time when it is easy to fall behind.
Every business that wants to utilize technology needs to have access to hardware. When we say hardware we mean servers, workstations, mobile devices, printers, routers and other networking equipment, and basically any other tangible technology. The average business will need at least one server, but usually more. Most businesses have multiple workstations to support as well as a number of mobile devices. Additionally, businesses will need at least one modem and a router, and usually some network switches to facilitate connectivity between a business’ hardware and the Internet.
This may seem like a lot already, but those pieces of hardware are the bare minimum that any business will have to procure. Hardware comes at a substantial cost and besides the computing infrastructure, most businesses will also need a printer, a copier, a scanner, and many more pieces of hardware. The longer you are in business, the more hardware you will have.
Inevitably, hardware needs to be replaced every few years. To manage this, many modern businesses have begun to forgo the capital expense of upgrading their physical IT by taking on the operational expense of hosted computing systems. Sure, you will still need a device to access hosted systems on, but companies can get the processing and storage they need without the upfront cost (thousands of dollars) for a server.
Software effectively allows you to run your business. It allows for productivity. It keeps your systems secure. It manages your money. The average small business uses several applications that fit into the following categories:
- File and Document Management
- Tax, Accounting, and Bookkeeping
- Customer Relationship Management
- Project Management
- Human Resources
- Collaboration and Communication
- Website Management
- Marketing Tools
Your business’ software needs will be different than those of other businesses. Many businesses will use multiple titles that basically do the same thing. This is largely because workers have a preference of what software they use, but it can get costly fast. Every enterprise software, if it were to be purchased outright, has substantial licensing fees involved. For this reason—much like we see in hardware—companies are looking to the cloud to get the software they need.
Many of today’s software developers offer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This is where they host and manage the software in their data center and businesses pay per user per month to use the software. Businesses then can pay for just the software they need and have it available for workers around the clock on many different devices. Most of us have gotten pretty used to this model, this is how Microsoft Office is distributed for the most part these days. This is a useful strategy to avoid redundant software costs, while also obtaining a tool that can be used from virtually anywhere.
Businesses pay for security software, sure, but they need to consider that there are a lot of affordable digital tools that can help them maintain their physical security as well. With threats coming from all directions, a business needs to have the tools that will allow them the best chance of staying secure. Today, there are more smart options available that can enhance your business’ physical security if used properly.
Some options of digital physical security tools include:
- High definition camera systems
- Access control systems
- Smart locks
- Smart thermostats
- Smart lights
- Biometric security solutions
- AI-fueled security tools
The more converged a physical security system is, the more effective it will be. With the use of smart technology and cloud computing (and even artificial intelligence) businesses can eliminate those on-premise systems that take up space and need to be maintained regularly.
At CTN Solutions, we work with several AREASERVED companies, delivering the technology and services they need to compete. If your business is looking for technology, whether it be hardware, software, or security systems, give our IT experts a call at (610) 828- 5500.