Each year, research firm Techaisle conducts a study to determine the Top 10 IT priorities and challenges facing small to midsize businesses (SMBs). The 2017 report shows that cloud computing remains the biggest IT priority for SMBs in the coming year. However, collaboration is now in the No. 2 slot, up from fourth in 2016, and digitalization entered the top 10 for the first time as No. 5. Mobility (third) and security (fourth) round out the top five IT priorities.

Let’s see how these priorities bear out against the top 10 IT challenges for SMBs. Those are:

  • Budget constraints
  • Maintaining current IT infrastructure
  • Mobility security / enabling the mobile workforce
  • Excessive data growth
  • Finding qualified and trained people
  • Implementing / accelerating cloud computing
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Supporting digital marketing
  • Data protection / recovery / business continuity
  • Financial justification for continued IT investment

Cloud computing (the No. 1 IT priority) can help relieve budget constraints by providing access to advanced technologies with minimal upfront investment and reduced risk. It can also provide an effective means of managing data growth and ensuring business continuity. However, SMBs need help selecting and deploying the right cloud solutions, and ensuring that their in-house IT environment provides a solid platform for cloud access. The cloud can also create security and regulatory compliance challenges if not implemented properly.

Collaboration (No. 2) and mobility (No. 3) can increase productivity, streamline workflows and enhance the decision-making process. Again, however, many SMBs are struggling to implement and manage these tools while battling security threats, compliance risks and data protection challenges.

Luckily, help is at hand. A qualified managed services provider (MSP) is an invaluable resource to help SMBs conquer their IT challenges and achieve their business goals. By providing a bundle of monitoring, maintenance and support services for a fixed monthly fee, your MSP helps ensure that your current IT infrastructure stays in tiptop shape while keeping a lid on unexpected IT costs. You also gain access to a team of qualified engineers and technicians with expertise across the IT environment.

Your MSP can implement and manage security tools that protect your environment from cyber threats and help meet the regulatory requirements applicable to your business. Your MSP can also recommend proven cloud solutions, and help you develop an effective storage and data protection strategy that supports data growth and minimizes the risk of data loss and downtime. And speaking of strategy, your MSP can help you develop a plan for maximizing the value of your collaboration, mobility and digital marketing initiatives.

Atlantic-IT.net, your outsourced IT department, offers a comprehensive managed services solution that is designed to help SMBs tackle urgent business issues, as well as major IT priorities and challenges. We focus on long-term solutions with predictable costs as opposed to temporary fixes that add unsustainable cost and complexity.

In the coming weeks, we’ll discuss many of the above-mentioned IT priorities and challenges in greater detail. Meanwhile, contact Atlantic-IT.net to schedule a strategy session to address your business and IT needs.

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I'm currently a junior at Rutgers University, majoring in Human Resources with a minor in Music. My love for music has already led me to an associates degree in Music from Raritan Valley Community College.