by Andre Smith

2017 has been an interesting year for small businesses as there have been a variety of different software platforms and different forms converged through data infrastructure. Video conferencing solutions and cloud-based management platforms are becoming more prominent.

We’ve also seen the internet of things (IoT) take shape and form on a lot of business ideas with a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR). We’ve also seen negative impacts with that of cyber-attacks against businesses.

Some of these trends we’re happy to leave behind in 2017, while others continue into 2018. Today, we will go over the most prominent trends we’ve seen in 2017.

WannaCry & Ransomeware Target Small Business

Consumers experienced Ransomeware and WannaCry holding their systems hostage in order to blackmail the user for money. 2017 became a prime target for small businesses using both WannaCry and Ransomeware as they started exploiting small businesses with record success.

This led to a significant increase in small businesses setting up backup systems within the cloud. According to some media report’s cyber criminals collected more than $100,000 within a two-week period of a major attack suspected by North Korea. With these attacks, many business owners had to pay, or face the consequences. Thankfully, credit repair services helped out business owners who had their credit score damaged.

Cloud Migration Extending to the Future

One of the most prominent trends we saw in 2017 was that of cloud migration. In a recent study done by IDC for small and medium businesses (SMB) found that 70% of small companies with 10 to 99 employees were integrating cloud use into their businesses. IDC also showed that 90% of medium-sized businesses with 100 to 499 employees were integrating into the cloud.

The cloud migration is significant for technological advances, software, and the IoT, and will continue to grow significantly in the future according to a market estimate in Forbes. Even those who weren’t a fan of the cloud saw it as a safe way to store data. A report from Spicework on IT saw that companies with less than 100 employees had 46% relying on cloud communication, while 42% of these companies used the cloud for a backup system.

Emerging Technologies Slowly Moving Forward

As we briefly talked about earlier, the IoT, AI, and AR are moving forward. Many large companies continue to experiment to great lengths with these technologies, while the sentiment is slowly being integrated into small businesses. According to a report from Spicework, only 29% of small businesses had adopted IoT, while 13% had adopted AI tech.

In small businesses, trust has to be built that tech will bring increased profit. When technology is new, people and businesses are hesitant until it has been proven, tried, and tested. Experimental tech only gives half promises, and sometimes there can be problems and bugs. Anything good takes time and small businesses are slowly adapting to these technologies, and this will continue into 2018 and beyond.

Future Thoughts

Small business growth has always thrived when the economy is good and there is room for future growth within specific industries. This 2017, we saw more outlook within the IT industry when it came to Cloud migration, IoT, AI, and AR helping businesses function soundly while keeping them safe from cybercriminals that use Ransomeware or WannaCry.

This blog originally appeared on the SAP community blog and has been republished with permission.