The year 2021 is going to be a crucial year for businesses, especially for small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) to bounce back on their feet and recover from the sinking economic situation caused due to the global pandemic. The strategic realignment of existing business models with the rapidly developing digital-first world has become a mission-critical objective for SMEs. This continued digital shift will play a significant role in ensuring their business continuity.
To keep up the pace and sail through the “new normal”, SMEs must imbibe the following four business essentials in their IT strategy.
1) Accelerate adoption of scalable Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions
Despite the fact that small and medium businesses are in a tough spot now more than ever, their ability to adapt to dynamic situations and pivot quickly will certainly give them the edge. That said, what will drive SMEs’ revival in the coming year is their ICT adoption rate. Companies who are still in the adoption phase need to accelerate their process and chart a course towards ICT solutions to fuel the digital economy.
Setting up standard ICT infrastructure or implementing scalable ICT solutions is no longer a good-to-have option but a must-have business essential for those striving to survive. However, SME business owners can look at the current scenario as the right opportunity to streamlining IT processes, fine-tuning security system, optimising business efficiency and meeting changing customer needs through mobility.
The following three strategies will elaborate on the areas of ICT adoption and why they should incorporate it into their transformation journey.
2) Implement remote work models for enhanced productivity
The global pandemic has forced several industries and SMEs to embrace a virtual workforce in its business-as-usual (BAU) approach.
Companies will need to shift their workforce from an on-premise traditional work setup to a completely remote work model where every part/unit of the business stays well-connected with each other. Virtual collaboration is quintessential for bringing in flexibility and increasing productivity across the organisation, while also delivering a low-friction customer experience and cutting back on capital expenses.
Adopting a mobile-first, BYOD approach and moving away from those bulky run-of-the-mill desktops will create a powerful working environment and ensure consistent communications. Moreover, digitising the workforce in a secure way will enable them to access their data anytime and work from anywhere, thus eliminating the geographical constraints.
3) Go digital by tapping on mobile-first technologies
5G and Wi-Fi 6 are going to be the key drivers of successful digital transformation for SMEs post-COVID-19. The new age Industry 4.0 is revolutionising the way organisations used to run their IT processes.
SMEs can establish a reliable digital ecosystem with the deployment of mobile-first technologies. Tapping on Wi-Fi 6 and 5G connectivity will provide businesses with:
Wide geographical coverage and more extended range at lower costs
Connectivity across multiple connected devices and channels with significantly higher throughput over previous wireless standards, and
The ability to support high user density
While 5G spectrum is projected to be a preferred choice for outdoor networks and connected devices, Wi-Fi 6 is ideal for indoor or enterprise networks.
As the realm of digitalisation continues to evolve, enterprise mobility is going to be the bedrock of sustainable economic growth for small-and-medium-sized business owners in the longer run.
4) Strengthen cybersecurity across the IT ecosystem
As SMEs succeed in their digital adoption journey, the possibilities of encountering cybersecurity risks and attacks become deeper.
According to MarketsandMarkets analysis, “the exponential increase in cybercrime, including breaches, phishing, privilege access credential abuse and endpoint security attacks, contributes to a projected 12% CAGR in cybersecurity IT spending by 2021.”
Lack of IT security experts, in-depth understanding and organisation-wide awareness around security vulnerabilities make SMEs more prone to taking a hit from cyber criminals. To be well-prepared for unknown, emerging threats, enterprises should have a resilient incident response strategy and next-generation firewall solutions for proactive prevention of cyber breaches.
Technologically advanced countries like Singapore have introduced a joint initiative — Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) to help and encourage local small-and-medium-sized businesses to kick-start their digitalisation and productivity upgrading efforts.
LGA’s Managed Firewall Service empowers organisations’ security ecosystem with advanced threat intelligence capabilities, including Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) for comprehensive security management. Its unified threat management, event & log reporting and 24×7 support service quickly identify incoming threats and stop all potential breaches or malicious data from entering the organisation’s network. LGA’s Managed Firewall Service also ensures operational serviceability at all times.
On the other hand, LGA’s Endpoint Standard, a next-generation antivirus Endpoint Detection & Response Solution, provides breakthrough prevention and automated detection of sophisticated cyber attacks. The cloud-native solution uses a universal endpoint agent and console that helps investigate security incidents and respond to cyberattacks in real-time. Its multi-layered protection system covers a complete spectrum of security risks and threats, while the behavioural analytics model employed in the solution proactively blocks malicious activities.
Eligible SME customers get to enjoy up to 80% funding support, should they purchase these robust managed security solutions from LGA.
The 2021 outlook for SMEs will depend on how agile and scalable their business models are, unfolding more significant revenue opportunities. To regain the business momentum, they should embark on the new digitalisation journey that is fostered by innovation. Enterprises rooted to evolve will permanently shift their focus to digital solutions for seamless business operations.
With LGA’s advanced IT solutions, all SMEs across Singapore can efficiently drive their businesses through the digital economy. To know more about the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) for SMEs and your eligibility to avail the selected LGA IT solutions, visit here.