This has been a tough time for many small businesses. Some haven’t survived, and many of those who’ve made it through have had to make major changes to normal operations. Let’s look at how you can benefit your business, by using some of your existing technology to meet some of the challenges offered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ways you use the tech you already have can be adapted for changing circumstances.
Not many businesses anticipated that the pandemic that’s swept the world would last so long. Many states mandated moving operations offsite or even outright closure. Some companies opted to shut down and sit it out but, as the disaster dragged on, it became clear that this could not be sustained any longer. The transition has been stressful for most. How will the bills get paid? How can the shift to remote working be managed, so employees have what they need to keep everything running smoothly? How do you maintain productivity when staff are working offsite? What else can be done to optimize business operations?
The paycheck protection program (PPP) allowed most businesses that had laid off sections of their workforce to carry on for some time at reduced capacity. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a massive battle. The subsidy allowed some businesses to rehire their key staff and make up for the shortfall in person power by implementing automation for a variety of tasks. When the funds that used to be available for payroll just aren’t there anymore, automation can be another lifeline.
The point of automation is to deal with tasks that are time-consuming and expensive. Often they are tasks that are outsourced, but are in fact amenable to automation. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) tools include applications to assist with payroll processing, operations management and invoicing. Other elements of a business that can be automated to improve performance are those that relate to supply chain management, project management and employee collaboration.
One thing that has been neglected in the middle of the pandemic catastrophe is cybersecurity. Those businesses that have been able to make the transition have moved a lot of operations online. And yet cybersecurity has diminished, with grown down from around 8% for the last eight years to an expected 1% at present. Business owners looked to cut costs as revenues reduced – but saving on cybersecurity is a false economy.
Many businesses are relying more than ever on remote working strategies for their staff, who should be provided with the best opportunities to produce optimally when working from home. It seems that many companies are sticking with their endpoint and intrusion protection spending, even while overall cybersecurity spending is down. This indicates that business owners are aware that their risks are reduced by retaining secure network endpoints.
Automation isn’t going to stop cybercriminals, but artificial intelligence (AI) has a clear role to play in identifying and eliminating online threats, and phishing scams in particular. With remote working on the rise, this risk increases – especially when staff are using their own computers and devices, not company-owned hardware. Phishing attacks can be minimized by ongoing training and reminders about how much damage a malware attack on your business network can do.
There can be no doubt that computers are key to the future of business in these uncertain and challenging times. If you need help with automation and AI, or business technology and best practices, help is available. For more information, call on the Quikteks professionals for advice today at (973) 882-4644.