The substantial pressures affecting IT departments — think more cloud, more mobile and more data, to name a few — can be especially difficult for small and medium-sized businesses to handle. SMB IT departments often lack the scale and deep pockets of their enterprise IT counterparts, yet they still need to make strategic technology decisions that satisfy business needs and give employees the tools they need to get work done.
It's a big task and a big business. Analyst firm IDC predicts that total worldwide SMB IT spend will exceed $700 billion by 2017. Cloud services hosting provider Parallels, meanwhile, pegs the U.S. SMB cloud market alone at $24 billion with projected 17 percent growth every year through 2017. So how can that investment go toward solving top SMB IT challenges now and in the future?
Citing industry insights from Acronis, eWeek editor Chris Preimesberger created a slideshow to answer that question. At the top of the list are affordable, simple technologies that allow SMB IT pros to easily protect data, while giving employees secure access to the information they need to do their jobs. Here's a look at a few of the top needs:
- Affordable Solutions and Simple Agreements: "More important than selecting flexible, fast, extensible or scalable solutions for their IT environments, SMBs need affordable tools with simple licensing agreements that make sense and don't unnecessarily confuse IT decision makers."
- Vendor Support: "SMBs run on thin margins and often don't have the time or resources to quickly and effectively solve hardware or software problems. They've got bigger fish to fry, so they expect vendors to step in and provide fast, efficient help when something in their IT environment goes wrong."
- All-In With Virtualization: "This year, we'll see most SMBs fully, or nearly fully, virtualize their IT environments. Full virtualization is a strategic business move for SMBs; having a single platform simplifies IT. In the backup world, some SMBs are already deploying a single solution, which simplifies an inherently complex process."
- Foolproof Data Protection: "Every year, natural disasters disrupt IT systems and entire enterprise operations. Because disasters can strike at any moment, preparation is essential, particularly for SMBs, which perhaps have only one office, or at most a few locations. ... IT professionals at SMBs need to have tools that can prevent them from losing massive amounts of valuable data."
To view the full slideshow, head over to eWeek.
[Image via CanStock]
Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 2,000 employees in 45 locations. Acronis Cyber Protect solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 18,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.