What SMBs Have Discovered About Their IT During the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic shifted the workplace from office to home, making the need for small and medium-sized businesses to revolutionize their IT. Not only have companies had to change processes and service offerings, but they also have had to incorporate the ultimate IT approach.

In the past few months, SMBs have discovered several IT tools that have been particularly beneficial to their continued success. Understanding what SMBs have learned about their IT during these unprecedented times can help your business take advantage of technology solutions that can help you now and in the years to come.

Your Business Continuity Plan Defines Your Success

One of the first things SMBs have learned is that business continuity planning is key. The current health crisis is impacting workflow, production and supplies in just about every industry. The majority of small to medium-sized organizations have realized that having an effective BCP that meets the ever-changing needs of their business is the only way to remain competitive.

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP)—which some businesses have already developed and implemented—is a plan that precisely anticipates these disruptions and outlines the necessary adjustments in terms of production, organization and employee protection to secure business operations.

The success of a continuity plan depends on the quality of the information transmitted to the staff. A BCP should be simulated and tested to ensure all objectives are continually met throughout each department, whether remote working or on-site adaptations will be needed.

Your Security Depends on Clear BYOD/WFH Policies

Before COVID-19 became a reality, several businesses were unprepared to implement effective Bring Your Own Device/Work from Home (BYOD/WFH) policies. However, with lockdowns, movement restrictions and high infection rates, many SMBs have been forced to adopt these policies to protect their employees and remain up and running.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has become a growing trend in recent years, but the pandemic caused this policy to become somewhat of a standard throughout companies across various industries. SMBs have learned to embrace these types of policies during the pandemic as employers realize the advantages of cost and convenience when allowing employees to use their own devices for work-related tasks. So while BYOD has pros and cons, it’s likely here to stay.

However, with these kinds of policies being implemented on top of Work from Home (WFH) policies (which outline how employees should govern their at-home work tasks), security becomes an issue. SMBs have found that it’s critical your business’s BYOD and WFH policies are clearly outlined to address security issues like Internet use, data sharing and encryption so as to keep sensitive company information secure at all times.

With growing cybersecurity risks to consider, all teleworking businesses require professionally designed and implemented BYOD/WFH policies. These policies should cover how devices need to be configured, any compliance regulations that programs must follow and which programs are safe and acceptable to use. Lack of a BYOD/WFH policy will put a business at serious risk of a data breach.

Telecommunication Tools Make All the Difference 

The current pandemic and teleworking have shaken up the way businesses handle communication. The majority of traditional telecommunication methods have been rendered obsolete by the emergence of Internet-based methods. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which works through routing voice signals over IP networks, is becoming the mainstream communication approach.

Many companies are already taking advantage of the advantages of SIP VoIP technologies, not only to save money but to access the world of unified communications services. By doing this, companies achieve the convergence of data-voice networks. In essence, a telephone call no longer constitutes a separate service, but is an integral part of the data network, making communication more efficient than ever.

Your Network Needs Continuous Monitoring

With working from home becoming mainstream, many small businesses have been experiencing downtime and connectivity issues. The majority of companies without network monitoring plans experience continued downtime after adopting work-from-home solutions.

Preventing security incidents that could compromise the continuity of a company’s activities, therefore, has become a key priority for SMBs. Prevention includes services such as 24/7 network monitoring to ensure any vulnerabilities that arise are immediately detected and patched before opportunistic hackers can use them to infiltrate your systems.

These security prevention services make it possible to analyze in real time the state of your systems and network and fend off increasing cyber attacks. Monitoring also increases the reliability of your system, making it possible to anticipate failures and decrease downtime so that your network remains available at all times.

A network monitoring solution also allows all parties to locate the source of the problems quickly and correct them in real-time. Network performance monitoring tools help detect and diagnose performance inefficiencies, slowness and intermittent problems to save your business money in the long run, as well.

You Should Partner with an MSP

Many SMBs have learned that not only is having an in-house IT team costly, but it can also be somewhat ineffective when your teams are working remotely. To facilitate seamless connectivity and alleviate the problem of downtime, working with a Managed Service Provider is imperative.

A Managed Service Provider offers remote and on-site services as needed to make sure your remote network needs are addressed around-the-clock, not just within your office or during business hours. An MSP can also consult on BYOD/WFH policies, VoIP hosting, business continuity plan strategies, and 24/7 monitoring so you aren’t managing these complex tasks yourself or taking time away from your focus on core business operations.

The Bottom Line

As SMBs have learned more about their network efficiency and security during the pandemic, their advice can help other businesses improve their infrastructures now and prepare for the future.

Trends like BYOD and WFH, coupled with enhanced telecommunication tools like VoIP and security strategies implemented by a reliable MSP, are here to stay. As companies embrace these tools, they can help growing businesses combat the negative effects of coronavirus and become more successful than ever.