Small and medium businesses of all kinds encountered unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. And now that businesses have reopened, they are facing new obstacles through each stage of recovery. Business owners need to look for solutions that can help them manage these issues now and beyond.
Challenges ranging from lack of cash flow to staffing challenges to IT security issues for businesses with remote workers can be lessened by security and automation solutions. One of the main challenges following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic for small and medium businesses is cash flow.
Mitigating negative effects
In the aftermath of the pandemic, both demand and supply chains continue to be disrupted, causing implications for cash flow across industries.
Business owners can help mitigate negative effects to cash flow by finding more ways to save money
A particularly impacted industry is retail, which continues to struggle due to reduced foot traffic. Business owners can help mitigate negative effects to cash flow by finding more ways to save money and helping prevent other crisis-level situations before they occur. Security and automation devices are an ideal solution to manage energy and monitor for situations that could cause damage or loss.
- Energy management:
- Smart lighting: With an automated security system, lights can be programmed to go on and off to give the illusion of an occupied storefront or can be easily turned off remotely if left on by accident. This can help keep energy costs down by only using lighting when needed.
- Smart thermostat: Business owners can also manage energy usage at one or many locations by using a smart thermostat and setting up automated schedules. For example, they can set their thermostat according to their open and close hours and lower the use of energy from those devices while the store is empty.
- Temperature and flooding alerts:
- Devices to measure unanticipated temperature changes or detect flooding can help a business owner act quickly to prevent damage or loss to stock and equipment due to extreme heat, cold, or a flood. After the crisis already endured during the pandemic, it is important that business owners have the chance to prevent further unexpected disasters.
Medium business owners
Staffing challenges are a prevalent issue for businesses across the nation
Staffing challenges are a prevalent issue for businesses across the nation. Due to the lack of employees, small and medium business owners now must work more to help keep their businesses running. Security and automation solutions like remote system management, instant alerts and activity reports and professional monitoring can help them keep their business functional and protected even if they need to step away or check on another location.
- Remote system management:
- Business owners can use an app to lock and unlock their businesses or arm and disarm their security system 24/7 from virtually anywhere in the world. They can also ensure all doors are locked after the last employee has left for the night. This can allow them to keep their security level consistent even with fewer employees.
- With security cameras, business owners can take a live look into their business from anywhere using their mobile app. This is an especially helpful feature if a small business owner has multiple locations and wants to check in at another location from work or home.
- Instant alerts and activity reports:
- With an automated security system, business owners can get instant alerts to keep them up to date on what is happening at the business while they’re away. This helps owners stay in control even with reduced staffing or while new employees are being trained.
- Professional monitoring:
- Security systems with professional monitoring can help save lives and protect property, whether a burglar alarm or a fire alarm is set off in the business. When an alarm sounds, a live person will respond immediately and ensure emergency services are on the way. This can give business owners peace of mind while they are away from their business, knowing that their livelihood and life’s work is always protected.
Physical security systems
Cyberattacks increased dramatically during the pandemic, according to the FBI
Another key change for small and medium businesses due to the pandemic is more employees working remotely. What many businesses overlook, however, is that remote workers that aren’t properly protected can cause a major threat to a business’s network. In addition to that, cyberattacks increased dramatically during the pandemic, according to the FBI, and small businesses need to stay alert.
Just as with physical security systems, employing the right cybersecurity solutions can reduce the risk of cyberattacks. Cybercriminals are just like burglars-looking for easy victims without protection in place. Cybersecurity solutions like firewalls and VPNs (virtual private networks) can help protect the business network and beyond.
Shielding business computers
- Managed firewall:
- Firewalls help protect against bad actors by shielding business computers or the overall network from malicious Internet traffic.
- Just one small error in the configuration could result in a hacker gaining access to credit card transactions, or other sensitive patient or customer data. A managed firewall service allows companies to receive the benefits of sophisticated firewall solutions and outsource the complexity associated with operating them.
- Businesses can extend their firewall protection to wherever employees are working, including their homes, with VPN This is a crucial need in limiting risk due to the expanded post-pandemic remote workforce, which is expected to double pre-pandemic numbers by 2025, according to Upwork.
Medium business owners
As small and medium business owners encounter the difficulties of the post-pandemic ‘new normal,’ they can look to security and automation solutions to help keep them on their feet.
Beyond that, security systems and cybersecurity solutions are a great investment to help ensure the protection of a small business both online and physically, while also providing convenience, insight and peace of mind to business owners.