What’s the most awesome invention of all times? For me and several other people, I’m sure, it’s the Internet hands down. Sometimes it’s crazy to even think how it’s possible to chat with friends, transfer money between accounts, and shop at stores around the world from virtually anywhere. Some of us have gotten so accustomed to these web-based luxuries that we’d be thoroughly challenged in a world without them. Take your favorite Storage Craft contributor, for example. I’ve sadly gotten to the point where I probably make over 90 percent of my laughable income online. Kick this crutch from under me, and I’m literally learning how to walk all over again.
Whether you’re a lowly freelance writer or a budding managed service provider, the Internet presents some rather wonderful opportunities to flourish at what you do. But there are disadvantages to relying so heavily on this awesome tool. Failing to address them can make going this route more trouble than you ever bargained for.
1. Costly Management Challenges
The flexibility of the Internet is unmatched. It seamlessly accommodates a broad batch of devices, inviting you to connect laptops, mobile phones and tablets to drive emailing, instant messaging, video chats and a host of other communication methods. These tools give you the power to run your business with the utmost efficiency, but they could potentially complicate things as well. The more systems you incorporate, the more systems you have to manage, which is often both physically and financially challenging. What was once a business phone line and productivity software has morphed into a multifaceted data plan for a fleet of devices, web hosting, marketing systems, and much more.
2. Greater Setup For Failure
Being deeply embedded in the Internet also creates complexity from a disaster recovery standpoint. You have your website and email running on the servers in a service provider’s data center. Then there is all the hardware and applications you maintain in-house. You depend on this technology, but whether your servers are on or off premises, no tech is perfect, so the probability of failure becomes more likley and costly as you add more systems. With IT systems at the constant mercy of hackers, malware, and a boatload of internal blunders, having a reliable backup and disaster recovery plan has increased tenfold.
3. Potential Privacy Nightmares
You may have noticed that privacy is a major deal in the digital channel. Tech big wigs such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google are constantly under a microscope, not only because of their power, but because they’re sitting on such a massive pile of data. People are going to expose stuff that should probably be kept private and intimately live their lives out online, but these entities must provide an environment that at least empowers the talkative user to protect themselves.
For the digitally connected business, privacy concerns are at all an all-time high. The mix of social networks, mobile devices, diverse IT systems, and the botch-prone human element means the organization is vulnerable from multiple angles. And with both company information and customer data to account for, the repercussions of slippage are more costly than ever. One study shows that data breaches cost companies in the U.S. an average of $188 per record. That same study also points out that the global average cost per record for breaches slightly increased from 2011 to 2012.
Technology, by design, aims to make life simpler, but we all know smooth sailings are never promised. If you plug the Internet into the core of your business operations, you’re almost certain to end up with more problems than you started with. Still, I’m gonna tip toe out on a ledge to say that the positives outweigh the negatives by a mile, and you’re leaving golden opportunities on the table by not taking advantage.
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