Technology Enablement: A key for SME's

Article by: Blog | Posted: 10th Dec 2018

10th Dec 2018

Small Places Can Change the World

The Role of Information Technology in Small and Medium Enterprises.

Information technology had a great impact in all aspects of life and the global economy is currently undergoing fundamental transformation. Information technology has a very real impact on most of the industries and adds value to all aspects of economy, while businesses and enterprises continue to undergo considerable changes. Usage of these technologies is revolutionizing the rules of business, resulting in structural transformation of enterprises. Modern businesses are not possible without the support of information technology, which is having a significant impact on the operations of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) and it is claimed to be essential for the survival and growth of economies in general.

Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) play an important role in economic development of a country. Several theories elaborate on connection between information technology, economic development and social change. Almost all agree on the importance of information and communication technology adoption in SME, while the importance of SME as engines to economic growth is well acknowledged worldwide. Information technology, particularly the Internet is having a significant impact on the operations of SME and it is claimed to be essential for the survival and growth of nations economies in general and SME in particular.

New technologies had a great impact on all aspects of life and the global society and economy is undergoing a fundamental transformation, Society is changing context and becoming a “Knowledge Society” more dependent on new technologies, with a new economy or “knowledge economy”, where knowledge and information are essential and the key factor of production and where ideas, processes, knowledge and information are growing share of trade in the knowledge economy.

An ideal technology infrastructure for Information Technology (IT)

A phenomenal term and conceptualization, developing since it's inception. In the context of a business or other enterprise (SME) Information technology is the application of computers to store, evaluate, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data or information. It's a subset of information and communications technology (ICT). Synonymous to computers and computer networks, but it also includes other information distribution technologies such as television, sensors, cameras, smart phones and several devices connect via an IP address. Several industries are associated with information technology, including internet, commercial sector, e-commerce, etc.

Information Security

It is one of the basic technology infrastructure requirements in SME's.

Nowadays small and medium enterprises are the backbone of the economies worldwide, providing maximum employment, nationally as well as internationally.

The need and demand for reliable, significant and globally comparable data on SMEs are on the rise, and statistical offices have started to expand their collection and publication of data. However, they need to do so without creating additional obstacles for organizations through the burden of excessive paperwork.

Security breaches can be caused by a number of things from insufficient information storage environments to office break-ins, careless employees, and mobile devices and of course cybercriminals. Relying on a single information technology solution is ideally not the right option and might leave the companies data exposed.

Organizations can significantly improve their online security and help protect their most important assets and business relationships. Implementing a full Information Security Management System is the best option but by doing the basics such as protecting computers and network with a firewall, identifying key information and technology that is core to the business and implementing anti-virus software and password protection are other good platforms to start up and build upon.

It's not easy to achieve a reasonable level of information security in SMEs due to budget restrictions, limited resources, and limited information security expertise. Nevertheless, many small companies provide services and with these services comes important data.

When implementing an IT security budget, a more open-minded approach must be used because more often than not, the cost of control measures can be much lower than the penalties suffered if faced with a serious incident.

In order to continuously improve information security - measuring regular internal audits, addressing information security aspects as part of business planning procedures as well as to understand what data is most sensitive to the business and the risks involved in a data security issue were to occur  These measures enable organizations to better protect revenue, ensure customer loyalty, and meet government rules and regulations.

Therefore a proper data management system can ensure adequate and effective information security as well as enable to access relevant information in a secure, effective and timely manner and, at the same time help to abide by governed rules and regulations.

Organizations need to consider information security as an integral part of their business whether it is online or on the cloud; and now that some companies actually see compliance with security standards as a pre-requisite for starting up a business relationship, it is more important than ever that organizations confront security information measures head-on.

SMEs gain the most from cloud computing, because it is complicated and costly for them to set-up and run it in the traditional way. There are security guides and security tools available to provide guidance for SMEs on network information security risks and opportunities of cloud computing. It is important that SMEs do not only look at the network and information security risks of cloud computing but also at the opportunities to improve their network and information security. SMEs typically buy standardized services under fixed contracts.

The SME Cloud Security Tool is the realization of the guide into a useful online tool for SMEs. IT managers in SME's are supposed to manage CRM, WAN, telephone, back-up, dealing with mobility, and adapting to new technologies. They need to know whether the backup capabilities are sufficient, the cooling systems within the building adequate to support the IT systems, and back up availability for various device need to be mentioned. It's important to put the  IT infrastructure in a safe, secure environment. Purpose-built, enterprise-grade data centres offer a number of benefits for business who are running mission-critical IT systems. These include 24/7 services, redundant power, physical security, ability to easily scale-up infrastructure, reduced costs, and greater flexibility, improved utilization of leased premise.

Calculating the cost to your business of an IT disaster is an exercise that is worth doing. Power can be expensive to deploy to a standard office building. Find out if there any limitations on power that can be delivered to your building as this could be critical to the growth path. Ensuring that you have the correctly sized UPS for IT equipment to allow for an orderly shut-down of IT equipment in the event of a prolonged power outage. It must be ensured that in the event of the primary power failure there is a power back up for 24/7. Hot IT equipment reduces IT efficiency as CPU clock speeds reduce, which increases power-draw as fans turn on. This can eventually lead to the shutting down of IT equipment if the temperature gets too high. Physical security like ensuring that you have the correct security posture appropriate to your requirements as well as the associated clients. Physical security can mean having audit logs of all access to the respective infrastructure, CCTV footage stored and a granular access control system to ensure only authorized members of staff can access the certain area. It's extremely important to understand and remember that sabotage can come from within as well.

Other basic Information Technology infrastructure requirements for a business often include:

Internet connection and basic network service like firewall, NAT routing, wireless access point HCP server, LDAP server, web server, etc. E-mail Server possibly with spam filtering and virus protection, with IMAP, POP3 mailboxes, and even a web-based e-mail client.  ERP System, the financial transaction and reporting system, including such functions as purchasing, sales, and manufacturing, and possibly providing support for project management and budgeting. Issue Tracking, collaborative knowledge base a collection of searchable documents.

Dedicated servers in purpose-built data centres must include hot standby servers and automated fail-over mechanisms, and electrical generators for uninterruptible power supply.

High traffic between servers or between servers and workstation clients, makes it necessary for companies to develop their own systems. This is often the case when the business needs require both very large files and a large number of files like mechanical CAD files, large spreadsheets, still image and video files, etc. Physical security of information because of the fewer access points the better, also management often dictates that business data must be stored within the walls of the organization.

Factors to be considered when looking at hosted solutions include firstly expertise. Without in-house expertise, an SME bears the risk associated with outsourcing a critical aspect of its business and expertise can be expensive and difficult acquire. Leased-server data centres have sufficient technical staff to provide backup for each other and have a collective knowledge and experience that an SME wouldn't  be able to afford. Leased-server data centre will certainly be a more economical solution.

Data processing

Information Technology is yet another basic infrastructure required for SME's. It is an integral component of any business. Small business enterprises face challenges of maintaining up level with the rapid pace of technological advancements and maintaining up-to-date technological platforms. Critical issues may arise if SMEs allocate a huge portion of their resources to this alone. Outsourcing options present a beneficial solution in dealing with this along with careful considerations of both advantages and disadvantages that can impact SME. Thereby, allows SMEs to carry out services and offer products quicker. SMEs are constantly finding ways to grow their business, establish their brand, and provide excellent customer service Thus better management is a must.

Therefore it's extremely important to evaluate and build up an efficient and economical data processing infrastructure in the SME for smooth functioning and better outputs.

A well-developed information technology infrastructure like information security, server, data processing etc. in SME enables smooth functioning of the respective organization and maintains a stable and rapid growth in the business.