Category : Technology

The Importance Of Cybersecurity In 2018 For Businesses

Cybersecurity has been considered a vital business element over the last decade but as more operations move into the digital, it’s an area that businesses should be investing in.

2018 should be the year that you assess your current cybersecurity and identify the areas that you need to improve.

Firstly, why is cybersecurity more important than ever before?

Last year proved that no business or organisation is safe from the attention of cyber criminals.

Over the course of 2017, numerous high-profile businesses with a global presence and even public sector services, including the NHS, have found their operations have been hindered by a flaw in their cybersecurity systems.

There’s no doubt that cyber crime is on the rise.

In the UK alone, there are an estimated seven million attacks on SMEs each year, costing the economy a staggering £5.26 billion.

Around two thirds of small businesses have been affected by some form of cyber attack in the last two years.

It has an impact on cash flow but, more than that, it affects your reputation.

On top of the cybersecurity issues that have long been a problem, the incoming GDPR will have a further effect too.

Most B2C businesses today hold personal information on their customers and under the new EU regulations businesses will have a legal obligation to notify individuals when data breaches occur, potentially leading to reputational damage.

Firms that fail to secure the customer data they hold could even face hefty fines if mistakes are repeatedly made.

Forward thinking businesses are embracing more technological advances, from the internet of things to virtual assistants, and it’s creating more access points for would be criminals.

As a result, it’s necessary for businesses in a variety of industries to tighten up their approach to cybersecurity, ensuring they have the level of protection they need.

Making cybersecurity an essential part of business is now vital in the open economy, ensuring that firms continue to run effectively without compromising on their protection.

However, total cybersecurity is no small task for a business, whether large or small to achieve.

As fast as solutions are provided, cyber criminals are coming up with no ways to gain the access they want.

In addition, businesses are faced with trying to source the technology, acquire the talent, and embed the necessary processes to ensure strategies are a success.

How Social Media Can Help Small Businesses Grow

Social media is a powerful tool that all companies can easily utilise to their advantage.

Whether you are sharing eye-catching images of your products on your Instagram feed or encouraging your followers to read curated articles linked to your brand on Twitter, there are so many things that you can now do in order to increase engagement and ensure that you get noticed online.

If you are a smaller business hoping to grow and expand your offering, read on to find out how using social media effectively can help.

It can increase awareness

Social media can help you obtain more customers because often it will get you in front of people that otherwise wouldn’t have engaged with your products or services.

Posting sharable content will help with this so instead of just producing tweets or statuses about your company, choose stuff that is relevant to the industry that you work in and is also current.

This way, more people will be interested in it and are therefore more likely to click share.

It encourages two-way communication

As a small business, it’s crucial that you get to know your customers well.

These are the people that are using your business and investing in your brand, so analysing the way that what they want from your service changes over time is important in terms of development and growth.

Social media supports this well because it allows you to communicate with them and find out about their thoughts and feelings.

You can post questionnaires and there is the option for people to comment and reply to all the content that you post on sites like Twitter and Instagram.

Be sure to ask direct questions on your social feeds that encourage a response from the people that follow you.

It lets you share a lot about your business

Instead of visiting company websites, many people are now choosing to visit social media sites in order to learn about a specific business.

This is because many sites now allow you to share so much about your company, making it easier than ever to market yourself through such feeds.

A high percentage of your activity and profiles on social media sites can also be made public, meaning that they can be indexed by search engines.

How Smartphones Have Revolutionised Business

Technology is constantly evolving.

Generally, things change over time, but occasionally something is invented that totally revolutionises the way we do business.

The smartphone is one such example as it has significantly impacted the way we work and how we conduct business.

Anywhere offices

One of the most liberating things smartphones offered business was the ability to get out of the office and yet still have everything you need in your hand.

Previously staff would have to rely on telephone calls to pass information about new jobs, for example, but now we can use CRM technology and push notifications making it seem like we are all in one location even if staff are scattered miles or even countries apart.

Driving paperless business

The fact that we can now access everything available on office-based desktops, but using a smartphone, has also helped to drive the paperless revolution.

Accounts, invoices, emails, the list is pretty endless, and everything can now be done on the move without the need to print anything.

This means businesses can do their bit to be more environmentally aware, and, of course, save money from this newer printing-free business model.

Apps

Not only did smartphones bring a mobile element to businesses, the introduction of apps has meant that we are still evolving the way we can use this technology.

It is pretty much possible to run your business and personal life from one device because there is literally an app for everything.

As mentioned, CRM technology-enabled collaborative working and communication can be as simple as tapping a few buttons.

Jobs can be updated, invoices sent, without anyone actually speaking to anyone else.

Workflows are optimised and streamlined with each member of the team able to see what is coming their way in real time.

Smarter working

Thanks to smartphone technology businesses can now work smarter.

From being able to track where your employees are to being on the pulse of customer interaction, smartphones make it easy to be fast and in control.

While Big Brother style management is not to be encouraged, being able to see where staff are, how long they are taking to complete tasks and where they then head next is vital for some forms of business.

It also means that customers can get responses out of hours.

Some companies still prefer to close at 5pm and deal with any queries the next day, but for others, the bonus of being able to handle a customer enquiry at 3am because your smartphone is in your hand is vital.

Socially speaking

Social media is another massive explosion in the business world, and this is another place that smartphones are excelling.

While not all businesses have embraced the social media platforms, those that have will testify that smartphones make things easier.

In fact for small businesses or sole traders they enable you to create a significant brand presence that suggests teams of staff when in fact just one or two people are doing everything with the help of enhanced technology.

Trevor McClintock Business Guidance Blog

Innovation Through Technology – The Innovation Dilemma

Technology is always evolving.

No technology remains at a standstill and in today’s digital economy, speed matters.

Here Trevor McClintock, entrepreneur and change agent, discusses whether innovation through technology benefits or hinders a business.

Impact of technology

With today’s pace of life constantly speeding up and facilitated through what seems to be an endless use of smartphones, tablets and other devices, we expect everything to be readily available.

Customers expect products at the click of a button.

Employees expect emails to be read and answered immediately.

But could this ability to do business anytime and anywhere in fact be disruptive?

Yes, when leading a business there is tremendous scope to use technology and be proactive in identifying how it can be used to create value, but could this technological takeover in fact make us lose sight of a business’s core values and miss out on potential waves of innovation?

Queue the innovation dilemma.

What dilemma?

Surely advancements in technology will only create value for a business?

Technology allows us to stay connected.

Connected with our employees, our customers, our clients as well as staying aware of what’s happening in the market as and when it happens.

From an internal business perspective, technology allows us to gather data and see what’s going on in all areas of a business.

From the early research and planning stages, development strategy, marketing, sales through to distribution and evaluation, being able to identify and explore how each stage is working will enable you to seek new business opportunities.

So, what’s the problem?

As mentioned, technology is always evolving.

And as new high-technologies emerge (and the challenges that co-exist with it) businesses should adapt accordingly.

But if companies should fail to adopt a new technology that has the potential for revolutionising an industry would they fall behind?

If companies put too much emphasis on their current needs and what their mainstream audience wants without addressing future needs, disruptive innovation may occur.

Innovation expert Clayton Christenson addresses this innovation dilemma in his bestselling book.

In The Innovator’s Dilemma, Christenson states that the innovation dilemma stems from the idea that if a business rejects an innovation based on their current needs, the potential will go to waste.

Christenson calls the anticipation of future needs “disruptive innovation.”

This disruptive innovation is the idea that if a new product/service creates a new market it could disrupt an existing market.

This has the potential consequence of causing damage for established market companies, their products and associations.

But, it’s important to take note that not all innovations are disruptive if they are revolutionary.

Managing innovation

No matter the business or the industry, whether you’re a local store or a blog providing affiliate deals, a successful company needs proficient management to use innovation proactively.

Knowing how and when to use traditional, digital strategy or even a combination of both is extremely important.

When under threat from disruptive innovation, a manager needs to take charge of this technological revolution by doing the following:

Create an agenda

Stay up to date with the latest trends in technology, insights and offerings available for your business.

Identify what the implications could be should you decide to make use of them.

Collaborate with your employees and develop a business and technology schedule.

While creating this vision take the time to identify any weaknesses in the existing strategy which could be benefitted from a business-technology collaboration.

Trial and error

Keep things simple.

First trial innovative practices.

Some innovations will work and some wont.

This is extremely important in any development strategy to secure the best technology innovation service for your business

Be relentless

Innovation shouldn’t be picked up as and when.

Regular collaboration with your team can help spark innovation and as a leader, it’s important to assert a disciplinary force to combine innovation and business changes across the entire organisation.

And you?

Although in a fast-paced technologically driven environment we are faced with an innovation dilemma, I hope that this has given you an insight how technology can assist your business.

If you have any further questions or want to share your thoughts, then get in touch; or leave a comment below.