Technology: the only constant is change

It’s time to start thinking about how technology will impact your business in 2015

Eric Olmstead

The Christmas tree has been recycled, the fruitcake unceremoniously composted, and you’ve waved goodbye to the last of the visiting relatives. Now it’s time to get back to business. (Kind of nice, isn’t it?) It’s a great time to think about how technology will impact your business in the New Year.

Several telephone service providers have announced they will no longer sell analog services such as basic business lines or Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS Lines). Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone service is now the name of the game. This change impacts FAX lines, security and fire alarm systems, and elevator phone lines. Can your company take advantage of the features that a new VOIP phone system can provide?

Storing data in the “cloud” has allowed us to be able to access data anytime from just about anywhere. Basically, the cloud stores your data on another company’s server that is connected to the Internet so you can later access it from the internet. You may be asking, “Is my data secure from other people getting access to it?” or “What if my cloud provider goes out of business? Do I have a backup of the data?” Or you may be asking different questions like, “How can I make our company’s information and resources available to my workforce so that we can respond to our customers better?”

Software developers like Microsoft and Adobe are moving from a perpetual licensing model to a subscription based licensing model. Think of it kind of like the difference between buying a car and leasing a car. Microsoft has stopped selling the Small Business Server on premise server software and is recommending that small businesses (under 75 knowledge workers) move to their cloud offering. These changes by major software developers will affect your business going forward.

With the information that Edward Snowden exposed, we all realized just how much the government was tracking our information. And with the highly publicized data breaches of Target, Home Depot and Sony, it has become clear: others are out to get your information. You may be asking, “How much security does my company need? Is a username and password combination enough or do we need something more secure? What data do I need to encrypt and when?”

The more we use computers, the more data is produced. As your data grows you may ask, “Where will we store all of that data? How can we protect our data in case of a disaster?” and, “Now that we have all this data, how do I sort through it to get the real information I need?” Knowledge is power and you’ll want to harness that power for the benefit of your bottom line.

With technology, the only constant is change. Take time to meet with your employees, vendors and consultants to see how technology is changing. Some changes will be helpful to your business and some may be a threat.

Someone once said that luck is being prepared for opportunity. Knowing what is changing and preparing your company will help you take advantage of the opportunities in 2015. Happy New Year and good luck!

Eric Olmsted is the president at On Line Support, a Vancouver area firm providing computer network, Internet, and technology consulting to a wide variety of clients in the Northwest. He can be reached at Eric@on-line-support.com.

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