4 IT Changes You Can Make to Help Your Business

The modern business can never afford to stop innovating. In the current economy, there is a massive tug of war between small businesses and giant multinational corporations. It’s a battle of huge supply chains and economies of scale versus customer service and local knowledge. The good news is that with the right mindset and technology, it’s a battle your small business can win.

To keep your business competitive, it’s important to be fearless when it comes to adopting new technologies and solutions. Working with a managed IT service provider to outsource your business IT can have a positive effect on your bottom line and your processes – and it doesn’t have to be a painful transition. If you haven’t fully embraced modern IT, here are five things you can do right now to improve your business.

1. Commit to the Cloud

The future of business is in the cloud. Hybrid cloud adoption rates tripled last year, surging from 19% to 57%. Even if your business is already using cloud computing to some degree, you can benefit from going further. Many businesses are moving the entirety of their workflow to a cloud-based workspace like Google Drive. Cloud storage offers access to your information outside of the walls of your office, allowing employees to work remotely, and working in the cloud offers an extra layer of redundancy that can protect your business from data loss.

2. Prepare for Disaster

Putting together a strong business continuity plan is great for peace of mind – for you and your customers. It also shows a commitment to the future of your business, even in the face of potential disaster. Discussing disasters may seem a bit dramatic; after all, it’s unlikely that your office is going to burn down or be carried away to Oz in a tornado. But we aren’t just talking about natural catastrophes. Everyday disasters are some of the biggest threats to your business. Without proper preparation, a spilled cup of coffee or power outage can jeopardize the future of your business. Data loss can carry financial and legal consequences, and very few businesses can weather significant downtime. Disaster preparedness is a key part of a healthy IT philosophy.

3. Update Your Security Protocols

Cybercrime has been on the rise for years and shows no signs of slowing down. Small and medium-sized businesses are popular targets for cyberattacks since they tend to spend less money on security than larger companies. 60% of small businesses that suffer a cyberattack are out of business within six months. You can take several easy steps to shore up your cybersecurity today. Consider adopting two-factor authentication for access to company systems, as well as requiring employees to periodically change their passwords. We’ve all rolled our eyes at elaborate password requirements, but having strong passwords across the board can help make your business a hacker’s worst nightmare. Proper security training can also cut down on human error, reducing your company’s exposure to phishing and malware.

4. Consult a Managed Service Provider

If you have the time and tech savvy, you can make modest improvements to your business technology on your own. To really overcome your challenges, however, it may be necessary to work with a professional. A reputable IT service provider can offer consulting services to get to the bottom of your business’s challenges and design custom-tailored solutions to fulfill your needs. Outsourcing your IT is one of the best ways to innovate quickly without breaking the bank.

If your business technology is lagging behind the competition or you’re looking for an edge that can help you punch above your weight, improving your IT should be one of the first steps you take. If you’re ready to commit to changing your world through great IT, we’d love to have a conversation with you. The team at Preferred Technology Solutions is standing by to learn about your business and help you keep moving forward – all you need to do is say hello.

How Technology is Changing the NFL

The National Football League has come a long way.

The earliest professional football games weren’t even televised. A few decades later, the Super Bowl is the most widely viewed event in the world each year. The technology involved to pull off such a spectacle year after year is mind-boggling, but the NFL continues to innovate.

Technology and the NFL have always had a fascinating relationship. There are times when the NFL rejects new technology, only to wholeheartedly adopt it a few years later. This was the case with helmet radios. The Cleveland Browns introduced a helmet radio in 1956 to communicate plays from the sideline to the quarterback, but the innovation was banned until it was reintroduced league-wide many years later.

In other cases, the NFL is a driver of technological innovation. Viewer demand and the popularity of instant replay were major factors in the rapid adoption of high-definition television in the early 21st century. The NFL is currently pushing 3D technology to enhance the gameday experience.

Here are a few amazing technological feats that make the NFL one of the most advanced sports leagues in the world.

Incredible Video Technology

An engaging viewing experience has always been a key part of the NFL’s business model. Football fans crave great game coverage. That means having the clearest picture possible from every possible angle. An NFL broadcast uses multiple cameras from multiple angles, including unique hardware like the SkyCam and the pylon camera.

SkyCams are suspended from four cables anchored at key points around the very top of the stadium. A controller can then pilot the camera around like an incredibly stable drone. The camera can follow certain players and offer otherwise impossible views from just above the field. The only drawback? A SkyCam can be a punter’s worst enemy.

Pylon cameras are a more recent innovation. At the goal line, a millimeter can be the difference between a touchdown and a turnover. Pylon cameras are small broadcast-quality cameras in the NFL’s iconic orange endzone pylons that offer an incredible view of the goal line.

The NFL’s incredible video technology is about more than the cameras, however. Video displays in and around stadiums are also becoming more and more impressive – and essential to the game experience. The best example is the video board at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. The behemoth display, with double sideline screens each measuring 72 feet high, looms over the field and displays crystal-clear 1080p HD footage on panels the size of small buildings.

Today’s stadiums themselves are cathedrals of technology. Miles upon miles of cabling run through the bones of every NFL stadium, connecting every screen, every speaker, and every camera to control rooms. Electronic ticketing systems and stadium wifi are logistical marvels now becoming expected in a modern sporting experience.

The Digital Sideline

Technology is also affecting the game itself. The NFL is in the midst of a partnership with Microsoft that is equipping NFL sidelines with tablets. These tablets can show replays from the current game, store playbooks, and even access player medical histories and useful medical applications to aid in the treatment of injuries like concussions on the sideline.

The ability to review footage seconds after the play ends gives coaches more control over the game than ever before, and it sets up brilliant chess matches between the greatest minds in the sport.

The NFL is also experimenting with futuristic sensors in pads, helmets, and the ball itself. These sensors can measure player movements and provide live feedback to sideline personnel, commentators, and even fans; this technology is still in development, however, and may not see widespread use for a few years.

Professional football in the United States is a pioneer technology movement that opens up possibilities for other leagues around the world. Still, the Shield doesn’t embrace new technology just to boast about it; every new piece of tech has utility. In the words of NFL CIO Michelle McKenna-Doyle, “It is not tech for tech’s sake. It’s tech to make the game better, safer, move faster.”

Other major sports leagues have shown a penchant for innovation as well. For example, FIFA is in the midst of testing goal line technology and video replay in leagues around the world (Major League Soccer will be testing the technology later this season). For the time being, however, the NFL continues to lead technological innovation in the sports world.

How IT Support Makes a Difference

If you’re considering investing in managed IT support, you’re primarily concerned with the benefits you’ll experience. As the owner or manager of a small and growing business, budgeting is of crucial importance. Overspending and waste are unacceptable and can hinder growth. As a result, you need to be certain that your spending generates the best possible results.

Many small businesses neglect technology. Managers often believe that IT support is more of a luxury than an essential tool, and they hope that their business can work around its technological deficiencies in the short term. Unfortunately, this isn’t a sustainable plan in the modern economy.

Technology is more than just a luxury. It’s not just about improving quality of life for your employees (although that is a major consideration). Great IT support makes every aspect of your business more efficient. Consequently, you’ll be able to improve your workflows and support your employees in working smarter, not harder. You’ll improve channels of communication while building stronger relationships with your customers and partners.

Keep reading to discover some of the most apparent benefits of investing in professional IT support.

IT Support Impacts Your Bottom Line

As your business grows, IT is one of the first functions of your business that you should consider outsourcing. IT outsourcing may not be necessary in the earliest days of your business, but as you grow and expand your operations, it only makes sense. As a small but growing business, your IT needs are dynamic. You may not have the need for a full-time IT specialist on your payroll. Your current IT staff may need supplemental support for specific projects.

When you invest in IT support, you gain access to a team of experienced professionals that can roll with the punches and handle your changing business needs. This kind of experience would otherwise be inaccessible without significant budget and staffing additions. As you implement new IT solutions, your business will experience less downtime and less waste. At the end of the year, the difference will be quite clear on your balance sheet. For further reading, check out our blog, “The Financial Benefits of Outsourcing IT”.

IT Support Shores Up Your Security

Small businesses are often seen as soft targets for the malicious parties that prowl the digital landscape. You may not deal with as much sensitive information as a Fortune 500 company, but your business is just as vulnerable to the dangers and fallout of cybercrime. Investing in IT support can help you reinforce your overall protection against malicious external threats. Professional security training can help your employees protect company data from clever threats like phishing and ransomware.

Security shouldn’t ever be taken lightly. Your company’s data is its lifeblood. It offers insights for growing your business and important records of your past activities. In some industries, data loss or data theft can carry serious ethical, legal, and financial ramifications. For more information on the threats your business faces, consider reading our blog, “Security Concerns for Every Business”.

IT Support Secures Your Facilities

The security of your office should always be a top priority. Working with an IT services provider to set up surveillance hardware on your premises can ensure the integrity of your facilities. This can help protect you and your employees from potential criminal incidents and provide a reliable and objective account of what goes on in your office.

If your business has extensive facilities like warehouses, surveillance solutions are even more important. These IT services can help you manage inventory and prevent losses if you move or store large or high-value amounts of material goods. For more information on this critical solution, take a look at our blog, “What You Need to Know About Surveillance Technology”.

These are just a few highlights of the benefits you could experience from a managed service provider like Preferred Technology Solutions. If you think your business might benefit from a technology overhaul, don’t wait – just reach out today and see what our team can do for you.