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What technology does every business need? 

We're taking you back to school with our ABCs of technology.

A. Antivirus and security software. A no-brainer really but you'd be shocked by the number of businesses that don't have any or up to date security software protecting their PCs, networks and data. 

B. Business cloud applications - Office 365 or G Suite can make collaboration between team members easier. As you grow, using cloud apps also ensures that all team members are using the same version of the software and they're easy to budget for. 

C. Computers, duh! It's very rare nowadays for a business to be able to operate without at least one computer. With cloud applications, email, accounting, and pretty much all other aspects of business operations using technology, having a decent PC or laptop can make business easier. 

D. Data Management processes. How do you collect, process and use the data within your organisation? A data management plan will help to make you compliant with data protection laws. Not technically technology, but you'll be using tech to manage the data, so we've included it!

E. Email. Using email to communicate with customers, prospects, suppliers and staff is still one of the most cost effective and efficient ways of sharing information. Businesses should always have their domain as the email handle (i.e. [email protected])

F. Firewall. If your collect and store sensitive data on your networks, a firewall (either a software or hardware version) can be installed to prevent unauthorised internet users from accessing your private networks. 

G. Google. You can't beat Google when you need information quickly. And you need to be on Google to be found!

H. Hardware. Hardware like your PC or laptop, printer, server and even your phone or tablet should all be chosen to meet your requirements. If you use a lot of processing-heavy applications then make sure you use a high-specification computer. Choose a multi-function printer (print, scan, copy) to support your admin staff. Supply flexible working staff with laptops so they don't have to use their own when they work away from the office.

I. IT Support. You can use an in-house IT expert (and we mean expert, not Bob who also does accounts) or a third party like us. We're pretty great at IT support!

J. JPEGs, Java, jQuery, Joomla...there's a lot of techy terms that begin with a J, but they aren't all essential for business.

K. Keyboard and mouse. The basics really. 

L. Local Listings on Search Engines. Having a Google Business listing can help you to show up in local searches and increase your chances of attracting visitors to your website. 

M. Multi-Factor Authentication. Another security measure to keep your data and accounts safe. Having a two step log-in can decrease the likelihood of getting hacked or having a cybercriminal access your information.

N. Network. When you have more than 1 member of staff, setting up a private network with file management can help you to share files, create user levels and administration roles, silo data between teams and give everyone access to shared devices like printers. 

O. Out of Office. Take a break once in a while and put your Out of Office on to get that work-life balance!

P. Password Management. Creating complex passwords and storing them securely so that you don't have to remember them (or heavens forbid, write them down!!) can be done with password management tools such as KeePass.

Q. Quick Internet Connections. Whether you access the internet through wireless or dial-up technology, you need to make sure the connection is quick. Not only does fast internet help employees to work quicker, but a lot of cloud applications work better with stable and speedy internet. 

R. Remote Data Backup. Accidents happen and data can be lost if it is stored on a local machine. Remote data backup means that your customer and business data is safe in the event of an accident or a cyber breach like a ransomware attack. 

S. Server. A server isn't just for large businesses. Using a server can ensure that files are available to your staff rather than on individual PCs, they can speed up operations and allow for more flexibility.

T. Technology Consultant. Unless you hire a full time IT manager, using a technology consultant to keep you informed of legislative changes, new hardware and software and best practise can help you to control your IT expenditure, ensure consistency across your workforce and get you ready for the future.

U. Up to date customer records. A Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) system is not only useful to store your customer's contact details, but you can customise your CRM to identify opportunities by logging customer journeys, personnel changes, important dates and more.

V. VPN. Flexible working is on the increase, and unless your company is 100% cloud based, using VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows your staff to access their work from a remote location, such as their house. 

W. Website. Businesses are just as likely to use the internet to look for suppliers and new partners as consumers are to shop online. Without a website it's hard for potential customers to find you when they're looking for the products or services you offer. It needs to be mobile friendly too, so if your current website is more than 3 years old, it might be time for an update.

X. Honestly, we can't think of anything that starts with an X that is essential to businesses. 

Y. YouTube. Video is one of the fastest growing formats for marketing and promotion. You can use YouTube to host any videos you create and then embed them on your website and share them on your social media profiles. 

Z. Zip Files. You can add password protection to zip files so that sending sensitive information is safer. With compression they also make sending large files easier. 

Date published: 21/09/2017

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