Blame it on recent legislation, a greater understanding of cyber security, or the weather, but small businesses are poised to spend more money on IT budgeting in 2018 than ever before.

Along with a need to protect business, small business owners are making more IT investments to improve employee productivity and remain competitive in their marketplace.

According to a recent survey of 1,300 professionals conducted by TechTarget, 17% of companies expect to grow their IT budgeting needs by more than 10% in 2018. Another 23% expected a 5-10% increase, while only 11% expect their IT budget to shrink year-over-year.

Evolution in information technology is triggering companies to go beyond traditional VPN and on-site storage with their IT plans. To keep your small business ahead of the curve, consider investing in these items when putting together your IT budget for the new year.

Network Automation

More and more companies are focusing on implementing software that performs functions that traditionally required manual intervention. 20% of survey respondents are planning to invest in automation software this year, with a focus on those that can support intent-based networking.

Wi-Fi Upgrades

While still in the formalization process, the latest Wi-Fi standard: 902.11ax is gaining some traction with enterprise businesses. Features of the new Wi-Fi standard include greater speeds and are expected to better support IoT installs, allowing more devices to connect to .ax-compliant access points.

Collaboration & Conference Software Enhancements

About 14% of survey respondents indicated a desire to add UC applications and platforms to their infrastructure in 2018. Team collaboration software is shifting from a single application to a primary user interface that can support text, voice and video with a heavy emphasis on the cloud.

Enhancements to Basic IT Infrastructure

28% of survey respondents are building their VPN remote access capabilities to support more mobile workers and improve network security off-site.

Cloud Monitoring

Cloud adaptation is a huge IT investment for companies and continues to grow, with 42% of survey respondents indicating they are already using some sort of cloud-based SaaS product, with 25% of those companies using multiple cloud providers. With so much data being stored in external data centers, enterprise businesses plan to add network monitoring tools to keep tabs on their network around the clock.

Security Upgrades

Security is obviously a chief concern for IT departments, with a focus on improving end-point security, network security, encryption strategies, firewall initiatives and web security at the top of the list.

Managed Services

Particularly for smaller businesses, there is a growing interest for managed service providers like ThrottleNet. Networks are becoming incredibly complex, and partnering with a third-party provider can take the hassle out of network management, monitoring, planning, IT budgeting, cloud migrations and end-user support. Learn how ThrottleNet can help make the most out of your IT investments in 2018. Contact us today.