It takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, and discipline to run a small business even when the economy is at its healthiest. But when the economic outlook darkens, the challenges that small business owners face rapidly multiply.
Unfortunately, 2023 is shaping up to be one of the most difficult years in recent history, with a recession looming on the horizon, ongoing supply chain disruptions, spiking living costs, labor shortages, and other problems disturbing the economy.
But as John Adams famously said, “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” Those who successfully take advantage of the opportunities created by the winds of change can become stronger and more competitive than ever before.
As a managed service provider (MSP) with over a decade of experience with small businesses of all types and sizes, we have a lot of insight into which IT challenges will keep them busy for the next twelve months. Let’s take a look at what believe are the top three to help you set your priorities.
CHALLENGE #1: CYBERCRIMINALS WILL SHARPEN THEIR FOCUS ON SMALL BUSINESSES
The BlackBerry 2022 Threat Report, which provides a retrospective look at the cyberattacks that took place in 2021, revealed that small businesses averaged 11 to 13 threats per device. That number is much higher than it is for enterprises.
As explained by Shishir Singh, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at BlackBerry, this statistic suggests that cybercriminals are increasingly setting their sights on small businesses, whose defenses are often not nearly as robust as those implemented by large enterprises.
This trend is expected to continue in 2023, so small businesses must make cybersecurity their top priority otherwise it will be impossible for them to avoid costly cybersecurity incidents.
More specifically, they should strive to create a cybersecurity culture that promotes best practices from the top down. On top of that, they must consistently insist that all employees to follow established policies, standards, and procedures.
CHALLENGE #2: CYBERSECURITY REGULATIONS WILL BECOME TIGHTER
In 2023, a multitude of new cybersecurity regulations will go into effect. These will force small businesses to reevaluate their cybersecurity strategy.
Individual states are carving their own way. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and Virginia have all signed into law their own state-level cybersecurity regulations. These laws will impact not just businesses that are located in those states, but also businesses that are delivering products or services to their residents.
From an industry perspective, Department of Defense (DoD) contractors and subcontractors that handle Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) will have to comply with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) to continue bidding on government contracts.
Instead of waiting for cybersecurity regulations to be enforced, small businesses should proactively take the steps necessary to achieve compliance. Those who will be among the first to ace cybersecurity compliance in 2023 will enjoy the greatest competitive advantage.
They’ll also avoid the looming rush since it’s projected that most small businesses will wait until the latest possible date which will likely overwhelm security service providers. This means small businesses who wait could be faced with long wait times.
CHALLENGE #3: THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING AHEAD OF THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION CURVE WILL BECOME GREATER
Business and technology are now inseparable, and their integration will only continue to deepen as time goes on. Staying ahead of the digital transformation curve is no longer just about the benefits associated with converting select analog processes to digital ones—it’s about building a reliable and stable future for operations.
By investing in the right digital tools, such as cloud computing, data analytics, or customer relationship management (CRM) systems, small businesses can stay ahead of the competition even when the competition can outspend them in other areas. This can give them a significant edge in remaining profitable amid adverse economic conditions.
The power of digital transformation in a turbulent economy stems largely from its ability to create specific and lasting market differentiators. Digital transformation makes it possible for small businesses to differentiate themselves by providing exceptional customer service and quality, instead of competing on price (which is always a race to the bottom).
TURN IT CHALLENGES INTO BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
By embracing these small business IT challenges and prioritizing the implementation of appropriate solutions, small businesses can turn those challenges into opportunities for growth and success in 2023 and beyond.
The good news is that you don’t have to face them alone because we can provide you with the power and security of a full-scale IT department for less than a single salary. Contact us, and let’s make 2023 your best year yet.