Ted Leonsis, entrepreneur and executive of AOL and Groupon, predicts that small businesses can see huge growth by capitalizing on new trends in mobile marketing.
As it has become cheaper and easier to advertise digitally, small-business owners are beginning to get in the game. Google now tailors its search results to favor businesses closer to a user's location.
Small businesses have also been able to take advantage of web ads, mobile apps, and big data, as all those services have gotten cheaper and more easily scalable to small businesses.
For developers and IT consultants, this growing market of small businesses looking to use digital marketing techniques previously only available to larger firms means more business opportunities for you. Let's take a look at the good and bad of this new trend.
The Good: Developers Can Generate More Business by Working Across Platforms
New markets mean new opportunity for IT consultants, developers, and small tech businesses. But one of the challenges of working in the tech industry is that you need to keep pace with changing technology. You need to be both a specialist and a generalist who adapts to new markets.
As your clients look to offer mobile apps, make their websites mobile-accessible, purchase targeted search results, or market their businesses in other ways, you’ll be more valuable to them if you can grow your business to fit their needs.
With more small businesses needing IT coaching, tech professionals are in a good position to keep growing as long as they can adapt to new markets.
The Bad: Mobile Devices Carry More Data Breach Risks for Developers
Here's the bad news: given their portable nature, mobile devices are especially susceptible to data breaches. As more IT solutions involve mobile technology, the risk of a data breach increases. Here's why:
- Unsecured Wi-Fi. Many users set their laptops and mobile devices to pick up any free Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, hackers love unsecured Wi-Fi, making it a dangerous place where a device can easily pick up malware.
- Portability increases the likelihood of theft. The theft of laptops, iPhones, and mobile devices is one of the most common causes of data breaches. And breaches involving stolen devices are some of the most expensive. (For more on this, read "Laptop Insurance: Secure and Protect Mobile Devices").
- Vulnerabilities in mobile OS software. One of Symantec's predictions for 2014's cyber threats is that we’ll see a rise in Android hacks. In fact, we've already seen one incident that allowed hackers to access a mobile user's VPN.
The blowback from a data breach can be devastating. Customers lose faith in the breached business. Bad reviews are posted online. Word spreads about data security issues.
As an IT professional, you might be developing a mobile app for your client or setting up a cloud network or VPN to give their employees remote access. Either way, the increased risks associated with mobile devices means you'll need IT insurance to protect your software liabilities.
Errors and Omissions Insurance covers your mobile software and data breach liabilities when clients are hacked. In fact, many clients will require you purchase this coverage before they’ll sign a contract with you. Check out our sample insurance quotes to learn more about affordable small business insurance options that will protect you from a data breach lawsuit.