Top Small Business IT Trends in 2012

It is that time of year (again) when everyone puts together that list of stuff that is going to happen next year. Small businesses are the backbone of the US economy. According the the US Department of Commerce small businesses employ over half the workforce. Inc. Magazine says small businesses will spend over $268 billion on information technology and communications in 2012.

Here is why: It is no surprise small businesses rely on information technology as much as larger businesses do today. Most have a website, some sort of PC based accounting system, email for communications, Internet access, firewall and WIFI access within their business. It is not uncommon to have more than one device per employee (eg. PC or Mac, Windows servers plus a mobile phone).

By nature, small businesses have less working capital that big businesses. As a result, they are more dependent on current cashflows to make ends meet than their larger counter parts. Business interruption from systems downtime resulting from systems failure, natural disaster, loss of power, theft and security breach can have a bigger impact on a small business than a medium to larger company because small companies may be less resilient.

With the absence of a crystal ball, it should be no surprise that the following Small Business IT Trends will become increasingly important in 2012.

Business Continuity. Business Continuity is the planning and related process a business goes through to make sure operations continue in the event of a disaster. For example; taking orders, paying suppliers and employees, keeping the factory or store open. Business Continuity includes the ability to rapidly backup and restore key systems in the case of emergency.

Having your backup disks or tapes may not be enough to rapidly restore in the event of a fire, hurricane, earthquake or other natural disaster. Being able to backup from a highly available off site source may significantly reduce your time to recover. There are many online backup options today and this trend of having both local and offsite backups readily available is expected to continue for small business IT.

Security. Because information technology is prevalent in small businesses they increasingly become targets for hackers, phishers and other forms of ma