Does It Make Sense to Invest in Technology During a Downturn?
In the past hundred years, the world has experienced a couple of notable recessions; all leading to significant economic dips and rebounds. And the most recent huge economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses around the world to rethink their priorities once again.
After all, corporate debt is incredibly high, and millions of people have been left unemployed. While the stock market has rebounded, millions of dollars have been lost in its initial plunge. And the world-spanning nature of the current crisis means that a worldwide recession is inevitable.
For executives and small business owners, the fight to stay afloat has been a difficult struggle. The need to focus on bare necessities and simply “keep the lights on” has left plenty of small business owners without the luxury of thinking about scaling, scope, and business development.
However, the reality of the matter is — recessions don’t last forever, and you need to be proactive while they’re still going on. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that the more adaptable competition will be leaps and bounds ahead when the dust has settled.
Why is investing in technology a good idea right now?
Instinctively, you may not consider investing in technology a priority during a downturn of this magnitude. The reality is a bit different — mainly due to business trends that haven’t been caused by COVID-19; they were merely exacerbated by it.
For one, the world has been moving towards a bigger focus on remote work for two decades; we’ve had the hardware and software to facilitate work in virtual teams for ages, but it took a pandemic and shuttering of social contact to push this line of thinking into the business mainstream.
And now, for better and for worse — every single business is more reliant on technology than ever before; even traditionally analog service sectors that had little to do with the digital world. On the one hand, this has obvious benefits in terms of process efficiency and communication. But on the other, the new state of affairs requires small businesses to invest in technology on a bigger scale than ever before.
Proactive IT Support is becoming a necessity
In most cases, corporations that reach a certain level of size and revenue usually have their own internal tech support teams. And seeing as such large companies have a sprawling IT infrastructure that requires constant maintenance, this is no big surprise.
However, one of the biggest changes we’re witnessing today is that small businesses are starting to require a similar level of tech support on a constant basis as well. Traditionally, their needs were sufficiently met by ad-hoc “break-fix” IT support services.
In other words, whenever small business owners noticed something acutely wrong, they’d hire an IT service provider to fix the issue. And that’s completely logical, because a small business usually doesn’t have the budget to staff an internal IT support team on their own.
The issue with this is that the technological needs of the modern 21st century small business are fast outpacing their scale and budget. Plenty of small businesses now use complex technologies on a daily basis; technologies which require constant maintenance as wells
That’s why investing in proper IT support is important — luckily, managed IT service providers (MSPs) are becoming more and more affordable. And unlike traditional “break-fix” IT service providers, managed IT support receives a monthly fee from their clientele — something like a retainer.
In return, they provide a host of continual services, including around-the-clock IT support and constant monitoring for any issues or threats. This kind of proactive approach to tech support will make the difference between successful and sluggish businesses in the coming years; with those who are always on top of their tech needs having the upper hand.
Cybersecurity requires immediate responses
With small businesses relying on the Internet and other digital technologies more than ever before; any glitches or issues can result in downtime and a costly business interruption. Naturally, this is the most obvious reason for investing in technology even during a downturn.
However, the technological issues that small businesses are faced with do not always appear out of thin air or human error. As the digital frontier expands, so do its outlaws — with “ransomware” and similar hacker attacks becoming more common than ever before.
Small and medium-sized businesses represent the easiest targets for many of these malicious actors, for a number of reasons. Firstly, SMBs tend to be less tech-savvy than larger companies with internal IT experts; resulting in weaker cybersecurity measures that are easier to surpass.
Unfortunately, there’s also a lack of understanding of the nature of modern cybersecurity threats among small business owners. This is another reason to invest in proactive IT support, which often provides constant security monitoring for potential threats or holes in the system.
And the danger of attack is very real — with more than half of small businesses who suffer a cyberattack not being able to recover from the blow.
The rapid pace of technological development means that small businesses and entrepreneurs would do well to invest in the newest hardware and software solutions in order to remain competitive; however, the looming threat of cybersecurity issues also makes this a necessity even during a downturn. Businesses would do well to maintain a decent level of IT support even if this seems costlier in the short-term, in expectation of tangible long-term benefits.
If you want to learn more about cybersecurity threats, trends, and solutions, contact us today to see how we can help