If you’re a small business owner, a new year means new challenges. It is important for small businesses to be increasingly flexible and are able to accommodate the increasing demands of their customers, and being familiar and keeping ahead of the newest trends in technology that can provide you the advantage and power in an increasingly competitive market.

Below are just some of the emerging IT trends, which your IT department should be aware of this 2016.

Increased Payment Security

Last October 2015 was the deadline for businesses to inplement the new higher security EMV chip readers for credit cards, or suffer paying fines and penalties in case of fraudulent charges. EMV, which stands for “Europay, Mastercard, & Visa” equipped credit cards have a small microchip installed in them that is far more difficult to counterfeit than the old magnetic strips that have been in use for decades. If your small business hasn’t begun preparing to take EMV transactions from your customers, now is the time to get started. Make sure your IT department is prepared to update any POS systems or infrastructure so you don’t have to go through the increasingly costly risk of credit card fraud due to using outdated tech.

Collaborative Social Media Marketing

Small businesses at the present time can highly benefit from having a social media presence. Leveraging platforms like Facebook and Twitter can greatly increase visibility and engagement with customers. Taking things to the next level, many small businesses have recently begun collaborating in efforts such as “Plaid Friday” to pool their marketing resources and leverage their brand identities together. Similar to “Small Business Saturday,” these group efforts can benefit multiple small businesses in a particular area. Make sure your small business has a properly branded social media identity on the web as it will only become increasingly important to continue reaching a larger audience and networking locally to collaborate with other small business owners in your area. Social media in the business has never been more important.

Increased IT Security

Back to security again, ensuring that your business’ IT infrastructure is properly secured should be your company’s top priority. If you’ve been putting off patching internal systems or or important measures like securing your employees mobile devices, now is the right time to start. Last year was full of an increasing number of major IT security breaches, and 2016 likely won’t be any different. Your business and customer’s information is too important to put at risk, so make it a 2016 resolution to make sure your small business is armed with the best IT security possible.

The Freelance Workforce

Approximately, there are now roughly 53 million freelancers in the American workforce. This is a massive amount of available talent that can quickly help small businesses tackle projects and augment skillsets within their employee base. Multiple freelance and consultation hub sites are springing up and growing larger every day as talented people put their skills up for bid. If you haven’t considered about looking into freelance work or consultation, it’s never been easier to leverage outside help to get things done more quickly and effectively.

 

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 5:29:44 AM and is filed under Small-Medium Business.

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