When you’re running a business from your home office, your financial security depends on technology. But for many entrepreneurs, technology is one of the toughest challenges to running their business. Nearly half of U.S. small business owners say that adopting new technology is a major factor shaping their business growth outlook over the next three years, but one-third say their biggest business challenge is not knowing what technology to adopt, a survey by Forbes Insights and Cox Business found.
There’s a wide variety of technology you can implement in your business, but some is more critical for maintaining your home office infrastructure than others. Here are four keys to making sure your home office is technologically ready to do business.
Establishing a Reliable Internet Connection
With home office infrastructure so dependent on the internet, establishing a reliable online connection is a top priority for your technological infrastructure. While 4G LTE is the current standard for connectivity speed, we will see the first implementation of 5G at the end of the year, which will deliver exponentially faster speeds. In preliminary tests, switching from 4G to 5G accelerated minimum download speeds from 10 Mbps to at least 186 Mbps for 90 percent of users, with a median speed of 442 Mbps. Experts anticipate that 5G will eventually reach download speeds of 20 Gbps. Today’s fastest mobile processors, such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, are designed to support 5G speeds, as well as other cutting-edge mobile technology such as on-device AI and VR.
Having hardware that supports fast internet connectivity lays a foundation for a reliable internet connection, but you will also need the right provider to take advantage of your hardware’s capability. Many providers advertise better speeds than they actually deliver. You can test your provider’s connection speed by using an online service such as Speedtest.net.
Finding a Suitable Smartphone
For most small business owners, the most important function of their internet connection is supporting their smartphone. Over 8 in 10 small business owners use their smartphones for business purposes at least once a day, while in four use their smartphones for business at least once an hour, according to Manta research.
A good business smartphone should possess a number of key features suitable for office use. It should have a large screen for easy viewing, preferably at least 5.5 inches. It should also have large keys for easy texting, preferably with support for QWERTY keyboard input. Another important feature is long battery life. Today’s best business smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, include these and other top features.
Securing Your Home Network
Being connected to the internet leaves you exposed to cyberattack, which makes network security another priority for home offices. While most small business owners may not see themselves as targets for cybercriminals, professional thieves see things differently. Approximately half of American small businesses have had their networks breached, according to the Ponemon Institute.
With the internet now encompassing devices such as mobile phones, smart speakers and computers, it’s vital to have a comprehensive security solution. For example, security provider Norton has created the Core router, which protects all devices on your home network. The Core provides real-time monitoring for your network, and it also rates the security of each device on your network and provides tips for how to optimize your protection.
Backing Up Your Data
Another critical component of security is data backup. Backup has become particularly crucial since the rise of ransomware attacks targeting small businesses by blocking your ability to access your data. The best practice for backing up data is the 3-2-1 backup strategy, which advocates making three copies of your files on two different media, including one copy stored at an off-site location. A good way to implement this is to use a backup procedure that includes a local external hard drive and a remote automated cloud backup service.
A reliable internet connection, a suitable smartphone, network security tools, and a data backup system are four of the key tech components of your home office infrastructure. Having these components in place will help lay a strong technological foundation for building your business.