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Tech Trends On A Budget: How Small Businesses Can Maximize Their Spend

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Small Business Administration counts about 30 million small businesses in the nation. For every General Electric there are about a thousand companies that employ 500 or fewer Americans. Many of these “businesses” are a single self-employed contractor or freelancer. Altogether, small businesses employ nearly 50 million Americans. They are “the engine of the American Dream,” the White House has said. 

Like any engine, it is greatly improved with new technology. A recent National Small Business Association survey found 74% of small businesses say that the adoption of new technology is “very” important to their business. However, the second biggest challenge (behind cybersecurity) is that small business IT budgets are lean.  

So, does that mean only big firms and corporations can enjoy big tech trends? No. In fact, the proliferation of fiber connections, and soon to be 5G, as well as cloud applications, or SaaS, are rescuing small business technology spending, offering the latest tech trends in a cost-effective manner.

Like your sales leads, it all begins with your network.

A Connection that Scales

What trains were by the end of the 19th Century and electricity was at the first half of the 20th Century, high-speed internet is today. It’s a throttle. Whether yours is a law firm in a downtown high rise or an individual practice sustained from your home office, your bandwidth grants you the power to perform, or not. 

The expansion of big bandwidth connections, such as Windstream’s network upgrade initiatives that brought faster broadband speeds to 1.3 million locations in 2019 – including gig-speed fiber connections to 100,000 business locations and 100,000 residential households – are affording more small businesses the speeds they need to make use of “connected” technologies and avail themselves of tech trends on a budget. 

In fact, one report shows that out of the prevalent tech trends, implementing gig-speed Wi-Fi has the highest adoption — alongside IT automation — and will grow over the next couple of years. This is no wonder, considering all the smart devices now sipping your office bandwidth. Your small business technology spending begins by making the switch to an internet connection that has scalability to provide gig speeds and beyond, even if your business isn’t quite ready for gig just yet. Kinetic Business Fiber Internet is one such option – pay for the speed you need today (as small as 25 Mbps if desired), knowing that a simple phone call can propel you to the speed you need tomorrow (to gig-finity and beyond).

 In the cloud space, adoption of Software-as-a-Service solutions continues to rise, offering small business IT budgets that reach into once-unattainable enterprise-quality services. In 2020, small businesses are prioritizing online productivity solutions, such as Kinetic Business by Windstream’s 100% cloud-based OfficeSuite UC®. Starting at just $19.95/month per seat, OfficeSuite UC® gives businesses of all sizes an affordable path to adopting business mobility, video conferencing and improved collaboration – all wrapped up in a nice subscription-based package with a CAPEX bow.

Jumping on the Video Bandwagon

According to Cisco Systems, 82% of all online content will be video content within two years. Today, YouTube (powered by Google) is the world’s second most explored search engine. Watching HD video chews up a lot of bandwidth — uploading it can be still more cumbersome. (Once again, small business technology spending is served by a scalable internet connection to support video adoption).

But the video trend isn’t just about video consumption. It applies to business communications. It makes the most of a tech trend on a budget. 

Virtual face-to-face communications are all the rage, offering flexibility to engage with customers more often and improving collaboration and relationships with remote colleagues. Adopting video tech can be accomplished for as low as $19.95/mo. with a unified communications solution like OfficeSuite UC®.

Workplace Flexibility

A 2019 Technology and Small Business survey from the National Small Business Association found most small businesses now allow their employees to telecommute at least occasionally. Nearly half said they offer it on a regular basis. This trend is made possible by the adoption of cloud-based UC, or unified communications as a service (UCaaS). 

Whether your staff works at cubicles with a VoIP desktop telephone and a smartphone holstered at their hips — or remotely with just a tablet computer — OfficeSuite UC® is mobile unified communications on a budget:

  • Hundreds of calling features and unlimited calling
  • Mobile twinning (calls ring simultaneously to office phone and mobile phone)
  • Company-wide chat (instant message)
  • Real-time presence and availability
  • HD video conferencing
  • Web collaboration and screen-sharing tools
  • Visual voicemail and speech-to-text
  • Online faxing
  • One business phone number that works across all devices

And its award-winning intuitive interface allows employees to self-manage features that required IT support in the past. It’s mobile unified communications on a budget that makes adding new lines and users a breeze for admins.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity trends for small business favors the protected because attacks are increasingly targeting small and midsize businesses. Already the U.S. absorbs the lion’s share of them. These attacks pose an existential threat to lean enterprises. Cybersecurity remains a top concern and challenge for small business in 2020.

Managed services is truly the best route for small businesses to adequately protect their network and data assets. The number of niche IT security professionals it would take to combat the sophistication and rapid evolution of today’s cyber threats does not make sense for small business IT budgets. But, for a moderate monthly price, small businesses can leave the complexity and tedious maintenance of their network security to professionals – lots of professionals with specialized security skills all monitoring your network for threats 24/7. It’s the only model that will afford most SMBs the protection that they need at a cost they can afford. Kinetic Business offers such a solution with our Managed Network Security, multilayered protection that provides:

  • Detection and mitigation of real-time network attacks
  • Managed firewall with both cloud and premises-based options
  • Content filtering
  • Application control
  • Intrusion prevention and detection
  • Weekly logs and reporting

Go High-Tech for Low Cost

There you have it. An adoption path for 2020’s hot tech trends like big bandwidth, video communications, productivity solutions, workplace flexibility and multilayered cybersecurity – all available with a small business price tag.