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Let technology make this holiday season and 2013 the happiest of all

(BPT) - If you run a small business, you know that the holiday season is a busy but exciting time of year. It’s a time to reflect on the past year’s successes while considering ways to improve your processes for the coming year. As you look forward, it makes sense to take some time to consider how making a few technology upgrades can make the next year your most enjoyable and productive yet.

Technological improvements have made life easier on small-business owners, making many tasks that were once time-consuming more efficient. As you look for ways to improve your business through technology, it pays to consider four key areas:

* Improved personal productivity. The operating system on your business computers plays a huge role in improving efficiency and work flow. New software such as recently released Windows 8 Pro will allow you to start the year off on the right foot by helping you organize your most-used business apps in one place on the Start screen. Whether it’s important emails, calendar reminders or your go-to accounting tool, it’s all just one click away.

* Security. Although a security breach is problematic for any business, it can be downright catastrophic for a small business if it results in substantial losses, tarnishes your reputation with customers or shuts down your business for a period of time. And contrary to what you might think, small businesses are frequent targets of data thieves. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees made up 75 percent of the cases studied in 2012, according to Verizon’s 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report. Updating your software and security features can help you avoid becoming a victim.

* Mobility. Many small-business owners strive for the ability to work remotely and check in on business matters from home after the kids have gone to bed or keep tabs on what’s happening while they’re out of town during the holidays. Finding mobile solutions that allow you to work most effectively when you are on the go can help you become even more efficient when you’re away from your store or office and when your office isn’t a store or physical office. Windows 8 Pro is built with mobile workers in mind and is available on a number of mobile devices designed for both touch and use with a mouse and keyboard.

* Performance. When you need to update that slow-moving computer or outdated software, the end of the year is a great time to do so. Just as holiday sales aim to attract those shopping for gifts, technology companies are also looking to move inventory and make year-end numbers by offering great deals on products. By taking advantage of these year-end sales, you can position your business to leverage new technology and become more efficient in the next year. In addition, come tax time that new technology can be a nice write-off.

By making needed upgrades to your technology systems, you can look forward to an even more successful year to come. And with more efficient processes in place, you’ll be able to achieve an even greater balance between your work life and your home life. For more information on how technology upgrades like the new Windows 8 Pro can help simplify the way you do business, visit www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/business.

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