- Small and midsize businesses lack the resources that large companies have.
- Technology can empower small businesses to operate more efficiently.
- Investing in innovative technology can ensure businesses are resilient and stay competitive.
Being a small or medium-size business — defined as organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees — has its advantages: flexibility, a leaner operating model, and a personal connection with customers and suppliers. But there are challenges as well, such as greater risk and fewer IT resources, which means most don’t have custom software or a data center filled with rows upon rows of high-powered servers.
Luckily, tools are available today that can help SMBs operate more efficiently without breaking the bank. Here are four ways businesses can streamline operations and build sustainable infrastructure.
Use cloud-monitoring tools
In a cloud-dependent world, it’s vital that companies keep an eye on all the metrics that could cause interruptions to their customer experience or employee productivity. While large companies achieve this with sprawling IT departments and outsourced network monitors, smaller companies need to be a bit more resourceful.
There are now several cloud-monitoring tools on the market that not only provide full visibility into the performance of your IT architecture, but also help analyze and diagnose any problems. For example, IBM Storage Insights is a cloud-based storage management and support platform that provides visibility across your storage environment while alerting you to — and helping you track down and troubleshoot — capacity or performance issues. Such tools are increasingly necessary for any company that relies on a private or public cloud, or some combination of the two.
A survey released in May of businesses in more than half a dozen Western countries found that 23% of SMBs said they’d fallen victim to a cyberattack in the past year, with an average cost of $25,000 per attack. Yet many SMBs haven’t taken steps to protect themselves. Because email is still the preferred method of entry for most hackers, every company should consider a good email security system.
An email gateway monitors incoming and outgoing email for threats such as malicious code, malware, or phishing attempts and helps protect against data loss. Although there’s no substitute for training when it comes to safe email practices, having a secure email gateway can ensure one absent-minded click doesn’t become a company-wide fiasco.
Store data with IBM FlashSystem
The ability to store and easily access data can spell the difference between success and stagnation for companies of any size. As hybrid work becomes the norm, employees need to access company apps and data from anywhere without compromising speed or security. Meanwhile, the growing reliance on analytics and AI solutions has created an unprecedented need for large-scale data storage.
For companies that can’t afford a data warehouse or a giant engineering team, the smartest storage option is IBM FlashSystem®, a family of data storage solutions that reduce complexity while delivering the lowest cost and highest-performing storage options available. Starting at $13,336, the single-platform FlashSystem family consists of five models designed for the broadest set of performance demands and is built to grow with your company.
The newest addition to the IBM FlashSystem family, the FlashSystem 5200, brings enterprise-class data services to entry-level workloads, delivering 1.7 PB of effective capacity in just 1U and 70μs of latency at a price range SMBs can afford.
By easily integrating with other apps, systems, and leading cloud providers, FlashSystem makes it simple to manage, move, and store data efficiently and securely, enabling faster business decisions and streamlining operations. It also comes preloaded with IBM Storage Insights.
Ensure broadband bandwidth
Forty percent of SMBs operate in at least five physical locations, a recent study found. Maintaining smooth broadband connections among various far-flung locations can be a challenge. If one branch is eating up broadband with long, multiparty videoconferencing sessions, for example, it could slow down traffic to the rest of your locations, potentially causing service disruptions and missed communications with customers.
An SD-WAN, or software-defined wide area network, is a cloud-based network that allows you to avoid broadband “traffic jams” by prioritizing certain connections over others and making routing decisions in real time. Though SD-WAN is typically employed by larger companies, there are providers who offer services designed for SMBs.
Thanks to tools like these, gone are the days when the only way to overcome the disadvantages of being a smaller company was to become a bigger company. With the cloud, data, and storage solutions now available, no SMB needs to waste time on inefficient operations. Start investing in a sustainable architecture today, and you’ll have more time tomorrow to focus on what matters.
Learn more about the IBM FlashSystem options that would be right for your company here.
This post was created by Insider Studios with IBM.