Business success depends on a lot more than mere luck. Being mildly superstitious, we offer a list of seven essential tech tools you should have to ensure the success of your business in the year ahead.
1. Smart phone. If you’re not using a smart phone for business tasks, you’re already in a hole compared with your competition. Whether it’s an iPhone, an Android-based phone, or a phone running Windows Phone 7, these extremely handy mobile devices can handle a number of business applications, and at speeds comparable to your desktop PC, if you’ve got a 4G wireless connection.
2. Mobile security tools. If you and your employees are using laptops, notebooks, smart phones, and tablet computers on the job, you must have mobile security tools for those devices. Make sure the software is installed and implemented on each device. Draw up a written policy on basic security requirements for mobile devices, and make sure everyone is following the policy procedures.
3. BYOT (or BYOD) is OK. There is value in employee productivity and morale in making “bring your own technology” or “bring your own device” part of the IT infrastructure for your business. As long as formal policies on mobile security (see above) and Internet use are observed, you can accommodate the comfort level of your employees with familiar IT products.
4. Data protection tools. Your network should be set up to detect the transmission of any confidential, mission-critical, or sensitive data for any reason. Conversely, your data protection tools should also guard any accidental or inadvertent downloading of computer viruses, spybots, and other malware by your users. The most important data in your organization should be encrypted.
5. Contact management. Customer relationship management software is a necessity. It doesn’t have to be a big CRM tool if you have only a handful of users. Online CRM tools are becoming more functional and widespread, which means you don’t have to install and maintain application tools and databases.
6. Virtual is as good as real. Operating servers in a virtual environment is becoming more of a necessity, especially if you’re working with multiple data centers and need to ensure that server resources are utilized to the maximum capacity. Virtualization tools can help you expand your server resources without the cost of buying more servers or routers.
7. Get your head in the cloud. To dream big, and to realize those dreams, cloud-based computing is increasingly part of the solution. You’re likely using more of the cloud than you realize, especially if you’re utilizing social media. The next step is finding an established, reputable service provider to offer cloud-based services, such as remote data storage and software-as-a-service.
Pay serious attention to these seven suggestions, and your business success in 2012 is a better prospect.