Knowing when to update your software and hardware as a small business owner can be a challenge. Update too often, and you risk spending money on upgrades you don’t need. But fail to update, and you may quickly become obsolete. A savvy business owner watches the following signs, and updates accordingly.

Too Many Security Issues

Businesses live or die based on the strength of their information security. And hackers know this. Over 40% of cyber-attacks perpetrated each year are against small or medium sized companies, who often don’t have the money to invest in extensive security measures.

However, you don’t need the security capabilities of IBM or Microsoft to keep your business safe. If you notice too many hacking attempts, it may be time to tighten up your protocols. Invest in some secure servers, upgrade your anti-virus software, and give your employees a few hours of best-practices training. Look for security consultants in your area and field to ensure best results.

Rapid Growth

It’s a problem everyone would love to have, of course! And while every business dreams of growing far beyond their current size, the reality is that such growth can have unforeseen effects on your company. Supply chains may struggle to meet your needs; or a rapid wave of new hires may put a strain on your existing structures, like payroll or intranet. Obviously, no manager wants the new hire to show up for their first day without a functional work station ready to go. Knowing when to purchase or upgrade to new equipment, in step with your business’ growth, is crucial for you as a business owner or IT officer.

Even if you don’t have a pressing need in the immediate moment, take advantage of your growth period anyway! While your old timecard or payroll system may work just fine right now, the last thing you want is for it to break down during a downturn. So even without an immediate need, if your business is growing, consider re-investing your profits in general upgrades.

Productivity in Decline

The difference between a slow computer and a fast one can mean hours of lost time, as employees have nothing to do but wait while their work machines slowly boot up, save files, send emails, and otherwise perform the daily tasks we rely on them for. Not to mention, an older computer is more likely to crash, and thus lose or corrupt precious data. To say nothing of other office machines, such as a temperamental printer or finicky fax machine.

If you notice a steady decline in your employees’ output, it may be time to consider upgrading the equipment they’re using to something faster and more efficient. The initial outlay may seem expensive, but you’ll make it back quickly in the form of a sharply increasing productivity.

Shifting to Telework

In the coronavirus era, many businesses are finding the move to telework mandatory. Workers in quarantine or lockdown need to stay employed, and in the vast majority of cases the only way to do that is by working from home. Needing to make such a sudden and dramatic shift in business practices can be daunting, especially with the wide array of telework software and hardware currently on the market.

If you know you need to upgrade your telework capabilities but aren’t sure how, consider employing a consulting firm like Wavestone US. These companies already know what a successful business needs in order to transition to a more de-centralized work style, and can help your business adapt quickly and efficiently. Bonus: these firms may also notice other gaps in your technology, such as the ones listed above, and can also work with you to fix those issues.

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