The rapidly evolving current age of business affords many opportunities unavailable in the past, but it is not without its caveats. Chief among these is that those not heavily interested in keeping up to date with the most recent developments can miss some of the most significant steps which can help modern businesses operate as smoothly as possible. Since this will place those businesses behind in a competitive environment, both in terms of efficiency and security, it’s important to understand these weaknesses so the downstream effects can be mitigated in the future.
Every major competitive and wide-scope enterprise has, at this point, switched over from analogue to digital business models wherever viable. Digital transformation strategies have far less clutter than traditional paper-based methods. This acts as a major boon in terms of storage space – but it is far from the only advantage. Ease of access, here, opens businesses up to the next level of efficiency, and in more ways than many unfamiliar business owners might think.
Being able to quickly draw data from an archive is not a use which many will miss, as fundamental as it is to the shift to digital systems. However, what is often overlooked is the relationship which can be produced between different datasets. In layman’s terms, this could relate back to the old pneumatic tube systems which were so popular in the late 1900s. With minor manual sorting work, these could facilitate quick delivery to the next stop in the paperwork stage. This is an area where digital systems can not only emulate but also easily succeed their predecessors. If, for example, a purchase is entered into a payment system, then the shipping information and receipts could then auto-generate from this action, and automatically deliver the correct information to the relevant department.
While this is one of the more basic examples, it should be noted that these relationships are often far more complex. Fortunately for digital age enterprises, there are programs going by RPA or robotic process automation. RPA works by having a complex artificial intelligence (AI) system look through components of digital systems to find the links within them that are often missed. From there, they can offer insight as to what sort of actions and automation systems could be put in place to further boost productivity. As the latest in a long line of digital business innovations, these systems have proven immensely successful in bringing many to the next level of the competitive market.
Business data is almost always sensitive data. Whether it tax accounts, sales information or credit details. So, one of the most important factors of business processes is keeping as much information safe and reliable. Again, just as with analogue systems, digital systems place heavy emphasis on these components.
When it comes to safety, the most necessary and widely adopted step is to begin with a password system. While the simpler of these can have issues when it comes to dedicated attacks, more advanced protection systems like two-factor authentication can overcome password theft or brute-force attacks and are currently the de facto methods for many international organisations.
Acting alongside these are firewall systems designed to keep out any unwanted visitors. These are necessary especially when a business is open to an outside network such as the internet. Which most modern enterprises will be. While having this greater connectivity pays dividends when it comes to access for those within the business, the caveat comes with the increased vulnerability to people as far away as the other side of the world.
Firewalls, when properly maintained and installed, come with advanced systems to detect and shut out unauthorized attacks. Whether straight data theft or a shutdown of a website through flooding what is called a DDoS attack, firewalls can protect against a huge range of problems. Combine these with advanced password protection, and security-related issues can be almost entirely mitigated.
Finally, we come to the area of data backups. Dealing with enormous quantities of data means significant record-keeping is required, which can be a colossal task. There are two main ways in which this is accomplished, online and personal-level backups. Online systems such as cloud backups can be incredibly useful, but also tend to be more expensive than the traditional backup systems. They also run the risk of data unavailability in the increasingly unlikely event of internet downtime.
Backups on on-site hard drives, on the other hand, tend to be cheaper and faster. The downside here is that the theft of a physical hard drive is often quite simple compared to the theft of cloud backups which come with heavy protection protocols. The right choice depends on your budget and on how well you believe you can protect your own components.
Don’t Get Left Behind
Evolution can be intimidating, but then those who are left behind tend to go the way of the business dinosaur. Despite the initial hurdles of cost and time investment, all of the above ideas can and have proven immensely useful time and again for the largest and most successful businesses in the world. Again, they might sound a little intimidating, but then many of these have been developed for the technologically uninitiated – so you don’t need an in-depth understanding to discover and implement what could be right for you.