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Since the onset of the pandemic, the outlook for small businesses is constantly changing. ZenBusiness CEO, Ross Buhrdorf, calls the pandemic the black swan that accelerated the “entrepreneurial renaissance”. 2021 was a year of learning and acceleration as we shifted to an increasingly virtual way of conducting commerce and communication with our customers. Data says here is what to expect, and what to prepare for, in 2022 when it comes to IT Trends as they affect your small business.

1. Zero Trust

On track to being one of the largest tech buzzwords for 2022, zero trust is network security that only lets authenticated and authorized users access a company’s given applications or data. It fights to prevent malware and breaches that expose your client and businesses trusted data with outside sources who extract it for sale. As in the name, zero trust is a new kind of security architecture that only allows verified sources, i.e. “no trust”. The biggest component is that there is no traditional edge to the network like a local or cloud drive. Zero trust treats every user and device as an individual no matter where it’s located or what VPN it may be connected to, to proactively address rising problems from the increasing hybrid workspace trend that we’ll cover next.

2. Moving Hybrid and Mobile

What are the costs of convenience? As you’ve probably already seen, the hybrid work from home model is appealing to many employees. The pandemic accelerated an already inevitable draw to work from home practice with personal and mobile devices. We can now access anything from email to live meetings from our handheld smartphone on our home wifi or across the world on vacation. This can build revenue and productivity in the workplace, given that it is protected, Data breaches on home security can cost small businesses time, money, and customer relations. What were emerging technologies, like video calls, are now basically mainstream, but their security is what is going to have to develop next to keep up with the increased spread of digital information.

3. Supply Chain Attacks

Nearing the close of 2021, we’ve seen supply chain attacks increase by 4 times the previous year globally, according to the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. They have become so popular, and only expect to be increasingly more so, because, in addition to financial records, hackers have access to banking details, client names, addresses, contact information, and shopping patterns. Supply chain attacks weaken brand credibility as a hacker finds a vulnerable area in the chain, adds malware that prevents proper data transmission, and delays products and data from reaching end consumers while also exposing their personal information. Using preventative security like zero trust will protect you from third parties looking to extract your sensitive data.

4. OT and IT Convergence

What does that mean, and what does it mean for small businesses? OT is for Operational technology, and IT is for Information technology. Many existing devices today were made with these systems separate, IT for anything related to computer technology, such as networking, hardware, software, and the Internet while OT was for using hardware or software to control specifically industrial equipment like a hospital monitor or ATM. In its design, IT was used to manage data and OT to monitor the physical world. In 2022 it will be increasingly important to converge OT with IT to prevent data breaches. Think about it –  many of your small business transactional equipment, in anything from barcode scanners to cash registers, online checkout or shipment tracking, a hack into an operational technology exposes valuable IT data. This is why security methods and policies need to change to encompass both parts as they work together, rather than  being siloed on their own.

5. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT)

More than just acronyms, AI and IoT are methods of data recognition that can both help or hinder your business success depending on how you address them. AI is the ability of technology to recognize patterns and create proactive decisions regarding data. ⅔ of businesses were found to believe that AI was necessary to counter cybersecurity attacks for its fast pattern catching and prevention abilities. Just as AI can automatically detect threats, it can also be used to identify your business’s cybersecurity weaknesses and repeatedly infiltrate your records which is why it is important to understand and set precautions against. Relatedly, IoT is the interconnectedness of devices, anticipated to reach 18 billion by 2022. Although this gives us more data to recognize patterns and make better business decisions, it also allows for vastly wider opportunities of data to be leaked by a connected device and a harder time tracking where it’s leaked from. That is why a knowledgeable implementation of both technologies can be the difference between sink or swim for your business data.

Ready to get ahead of the trends?

Prospera IT is an IT Management service for small businesses like yours! Prospera works to eliminate the headache of understanding and maintaining IT security so you can concentrate on your business objectives. With over 10+ years of expertise, the Prospera team offers best-in-class technology solutions that keep your business running smoothly and your employees productive.  

From email setup to disaster recovery, the Prospera team can handle your IT needs. Keeping your IT infrastructure in top form is a cost-effective practice that improves productivity and profitability. But most importantly, Prospera changes with your business, and your industry, to keep you aware and prepared for what’s to come in the new year.