Why small businesses should behave like enterprises

  • No matter your company size, you should have a strategy and plan for technology usage.

  • Stay current with technology to help attract highly competent employees.

  • Security is a big issue even for small companies, so you need a plan that identifies what data is important and who can access it.

The differences between the tech needs of small businesses and enterprises may be large in terms of size, but the issues they face and the solutions they employ are fundamentally the same.

As a small business owner, you need to toss out these five common misconceptions. And think like big company execs — to protect your operations.

1. Only enterprises need a strategy. Think again: Smaller companies need to have a three-year plan, understand what tools they currently use, and have a grasp of potential changes. Even though the tech budget for your small business is only a fraction of what an enterprise spends, you should set aside funds for many of the same kinds or purchases.

2. IT specialists are too expensive. Think again: Sure, most small companies don’t have dedicated IT staff because you need to devote financial and HR resources to people focused on core competencies. That makes sense. But there are plenty of IT service companies available to help with planning, deployment, and maintenance of technology systems. Pulling employees away from their area of expertise will result in neither job being done completely.

3Stick with tried-and-true technology. Think again: Companies that don’t stay current with developments that affect operations will be surpassed by those who see opportunities in new technology. Staying with yesterday’s tech will not only put you at a disadvantage but also reduce your ability to attract highly competent employees who regard technology as an indication of a company’s overall culture and strategy for success.

4. Small business aren’t valuable targets for data thieves. Think again: Whether you have three or 3,000 devices, each one needs protection. In addition to maintaining robust data security measures, it’s essential to create an overriding plan that identifies what data and documents are important, how they must be stored, and who is able to access them. Policies need to be clear about responsibilities and privileges.

5. Virtualization only benefits large IT departments. Think again: The ability to multiply capacity using limited computers has become commonplace among enterprises. Smaller businesses can easily take advantage of the same technology on a smaller scale using proven and readily available tools. Virtualization allows companies to run more applications on fewer computers and experiment with applications without dedicating expensive hardware to such projects.

Each of these five missteps can be easily avoided by small businesses when you shift your thinking from small scale to enterprise scale. Big companies have invested large sums to deploy reliable technology in the pursuit of an advantage. Now that these tools are more widely available, small businesses can make similar investments to reap similar benefits.

Read more about enterprise technology solutions from AT&T or find tech answers that fit small business needs at Business Circle.

 

 

Scott Koegler is a technology journalist with a specialization on the intersection of business and technology. All opinions are his own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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