2017 was an interesting year for small businesses, as there have been a variety of different software platforms and different forms converged through data infrastructure. Videoconferencing solutions and cloud-based management platforms are becoming more prominent.
We’ve also seen the Internet of Things (IoT) take shape and influence business ideas with a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR). We’ve also seen negative impacts with that of cyber-attacks against businesses.
Some of these trends we’re happy to leave behind in 2017, while others continue into 2018. Today, we will go over the most prominent trends we’ve seen in 2017.
WannaCry and ransomware target small business
Consumers experienced ransomware and WannaCry holding their systems hostage to blackmail the user for money. In 2017, small businesses became a prime target for both WannaCry and ransomware, with record success.
This led to a significant increase in small businesses setting up backup systems in the cloud. According to some media reports, cybercriminals collected more than US$100,000 within a two-week period of a major attack suspected to have been conducted by North Korea. With these attacks, many business owners had to pay or face the consequences. Thankfully, credit repair services helped out business owners whose credit scores were damaged.
Cloud migration extending to the future
One of the most prominent trends we saw in 2017 was that of cloud migration. In a recent study done by IDC for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) found that 70% of small companies with 10 to 99 employees were integrating cloud use into their businesses. IDC also showed that 90% of midsize businesses with 100 to 499 employees were integrating into the cloud.
The cloud migration is significant for technological advances, software, and the IoT, and will continue to grow significantly in the future, according to a market estimate in Forbes. Even those who weren’t fans of the cloud saw it as a safe way to store data. A report from Spicework on IT saw that companies with less than 100 employees had 46% relying on cloud communication, while 42% of these companies used the cloud for a backup system.
Emerging technologies slowly moving forward for SMBs
As pointed out earlier, the IoT, AI, and AR are moving forward. Many large companies continue to experiment to great lengths with these technologies, while small businesses are taking steps slowly. According to a report from Spicework, only 29% of small businesses had adopted IoT, while just 13% had adopted AI technology.
In small businesses, trust has to be built that technology will bring increased profit. When technology is new, people and businesses are hesitant until it has been tried, tested, and proven. Experimental tech only gives half promises, and sometimes there can be problems and bugs. Anything good takes time, and small businesses are slowly adapting to these technologies. This will continue into 2018 and beyond.
Small business growth has always thrived when the economy is good and there is room for future growth within specific industries. In 2017, we saw more outlook within the IT industry when it came to cloud migration, IoT, AI, and AR helping businesses function soundly while keeping them safe from cybercriminals that use ransomware or WannaCry.