Entrepreneurs are uniquely driven when it comes to information technology purchases. They are primarily motivated by cost savings vs. top-line benefits. This can also translate to, “Let’s do more with less and more with what we already have,” which is really about being efficient.
Many small businesses are also getting outside pressure to develop their IT capabilities. Recent regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are forcing many small businesses to look at their technology infrastructures, while other businesses are getting pressure from larger customers or business partners to shore up their network security.
Small businesses need to be able to respond quickly to customers’ and partners’ demands for accurate, complete and secure real-time transactions. Small businesses can achieve this by limiting the number of vendors to manage, the number of point solutions to integrate and maintain, and the number of solutions providers on which they must rely.
When a large, publicly traded company relies on an outside supplier or is a supplier itself to fast growing small and midsize businesses, the larger company is ultimately responsible for the identification and evaluation of relevant internal security controls of the partner’s company. The larger entity is also generally responsible for ensuring that the information is correct and secure. But forward-thinking small businesses can help preserve their relationships with larger business partners by certifying the accuracy and security of the information they provide to their big-business partners.
Today, most small to midsize companies depend on spreadsheets, like Microsoft Excel, to manually process planning, budgeting and forecasting. But spreadsheet files are highly susceptible to virus infection, which can threaten data security and financial continuity. A recent survey by CFO Research showed that 73 percent of these companies currently rely on spreadsheets and manual processes.
One way you can improve your network security is to invest in dedicated server-based analytical tools and away from spreadsheets and manual processes. Moving to server-based analytical tools will not only enhance business performance but it will also mitigate the security gap represented by email or file transfer of virus-prone Excel spreadsheets.