“Companies that leverage tech have a strategic and competitive advantage,” said Luke Downing, President of Mode5.
On Wednesday, October 8, the Hampton Roads Chamber held it’s Chamber Education Series: Technology Trends to Grow Your Business, at Prosper Insurance, the host sponsor, in Virginia Beach. Downing discussed growing information technology (IT) services trends for 2020 and how businesses are implementing these trends.
Downing began the presentation by covering 6 technology trends: security, compliance, cloud services, sales and marketing, software integration, and the maturity of IT services.
“It’s hard to talk about IT trends without security,” said Downing. Half of small businesses have experienced a cyber-attack or security threat, so it is critical to train employees on phishing attacks, social engineering threats, Internet of Things (IoT) attacks, ransomware, and the dark web. Downing referenced various attacks that large corporations have experienced in recent years, saying that those breaches could have been prevented if proper training procedures had been implemented. “Three things your business can do to protect security are proper employee training, firewalls, and investing in two-factor authentication,” said Downing.
Another important security measure and the second technology trend is compliance, which is defined as “the process of ensuring a company and employees follow laws, regulations, standards, and ethical practices applying to an organization.” Downing mentioned various industries implementing strict security guidelines to maintain compliance such as HIPAA, PCI, NIST, and GDPR policies. “If you’re meeting compliance rules, then it allows you to take on other clients and new opportunities, giving you a competitive advantage on other businesses,” Downing said.
The third and fourth trends focused on cloud services and sales and marketing. Cloud services allow companies to store files and data offline, which allows companies to easily recover files if there is a disaster or power outage. It is estimated that 78% of businesses are predicted to adopt cloud services in 2020. Additionally, sales and marketing are an integral portion of business operations. Downing advised attendees to integrate their sales and marketing platforms to streamline efficiency. “When it’s integrated, it saves time, creates more opportunity, and improves return on investment.”
The final technology trend identified how information technology services have matured over the years. Downing said that 15 years ago the information technology sector operated on-call if something was broken. Today, however, the IT market has matured and can be outsourced and done remotely. While this provides ease of access, it also creates a very competitive market. “Your IT service is only as good as your people,” stated Downing.
In closing, he encouraged the business leaders present to take advantage of technological changes. “We can either be frightened by these changes or embrace it,” Downing said. He addressed the opportunities technology can provide to businesses and how it can increase long term revenue, job creation, and company growth. Staying up-to-date on technology trends will also help drive efficiency and protect your company from security threats.
“I think the main takeaway for today is if we can take advantage of technology, it’s a strategic advantage we can use to grow our business,” ended Downing.
Thank you to the following Hampton Roads Chamber Education Series sponsors: Southern Bank (Presenting Sponsor); Managing Communications (Gold Sponsor); Bahama Breeze Island Grille (Lunch Sponsor); and Prosper Insurance (Host Sponsor).