If you run a small or medium-sized business, you want to be up to speed with the latest tech, trends and best practices that enable your organisation to stay productive and grow, right?

This month we cover a range of bases, including security, the rise of chat apps, real-time banking payments and consumption-based IT – a pay-as-you-go model that promises SMBs greater flexibility in the way they access infrastructure, software and services.

WannaCry not dead

If you thought the threat of WannaCry ransomware had disappeared, think again. According to cybersecurity and antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab, WannaCry is still alive and kicking and being distributed by malicious parties. Their latest IT threat evolution report details that in Q3 2018 the ransomware accounted for nearly a third of all Trojan attacks globally. Although the threat is greatly reduced in 2019, SMBs still need to make sure their operating systems are updated with the latest security patches. It is also essential to educate your staff about current cyber threats and how to avoid them.

Get paid in real-time

Tired of waiting for your clients’ payments to come through? Say hello to improved cash flow for your SMB with the New Payments Platform (NPP) – where money transfers will now settle in under 60 seconds. Electronic payments currently take up to three days to process. The new system is rolling out nationally in 2019, and will allow anyone to transfer money to an external account without entering a BSB or account number. Simply create a ‘PayID’, such as your email address, phone number or ABN to authorise a payment. This is much easier to remember than the combined account number and BSB. Check with your bank if they have implemented the new system so you can benefit from making and receiving real-time payments.

Interact with clients on chat apps

People are increasingly wanting to message a business, instead of calling or emailing. So if your SMB sells goods or services, you need to be on these platforms. Apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp Business are two of the biggest players in this space, allowing you to interact with people personally while providing lightning-fast customer service and driving sales. Facebook Messenger allows you to customise welcome messages when a user begins a conversation, while with ‘Saved Replies’ you can program answers to common client questions.

Pay-as-you-go IT

How does your business pay for its IT services and infrastructure? Chances are you pay a fixed cost to a provider for your services and may well have invested in your own on-premises IT infrastructure. Say goodbye to all that with consumption-based IT – a pay-as-you-go model where you only get billed for what you use. This flexibility can give you the agility to grow your business by deploying and scaling initiatives rapidly. It also reduces or eliminates the upfront costs of purchasing physical IT assets – something that can hamper growth for a smaller operation.

Creative tool for your branding

Last but not least, if you are branding – or rebranding – your SMB and want an accessible design tool to help you get this done, be sure to check out Canva. The Australian-made web-based design tool uses a simple, intuitive drag-and-drop interface that is super simple to use – so forget about confusing, expensive software and designers. Subscribe to their Canva for Work option and you get additional tools over the freemium version, including team folders, a custom brand kit and access to millions of stock photos.

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