Business Development Bank of Canada reports that 98.2 percent of Canadian businesses have less than 100 employees, and that small and medium-sized businesses represent more than half of Canada’s gross domestic product.

And yet, despite the fact that the majority of Canadians are researching and making their purchases online, only 12 percent of small businesses have an online sales presence.

It’s due time for Canadian business to take advantage of the new opportunities inherent in the twin trends of rapidly increasing internet connectivity and rapidly decreasing computer technology prices.

The three metrics

There are three key factors for a business owner to consider when investing in new information technology products: affordability, reliability, and scalability.

On the affordability front, the situation could hardly be better, with solutions that were only within reach of the largest corporations as little a year or two ago now being accessible for even the smallest companies. And more than 8o percent of small businesses that invest in new technology see a measurably positive return in productivity, competitiveness, and efficiency.

In terms of reliability, its importance cannot be overstated. A recent global data protection study reported the worldwide business cost of downtime and data loss in 2014 at over $1.7 trillion dollars. The magnitude of that number is not lost on IT providers, and companies like HP are now championing reliability at every market segment.

"With Microsoft Windows Server 2003 reaching the end of its service lifecycle, many companies are looking to upgrade their data infrastructure for the first time in decades."

Finally, scalability. Nobody wants to overspend on IT but, at the same time, business owners recognize the dangers of adopting a solution that may become undersized as the business continues to grow. Between cloud computing and plug-and-play server technology, however, scalability is quickly becoming a solved problem.

Young businesses are now able to adopt cloud-based solutions from day one and grow both their on-site and remote infrastructure painlessly, according to need. 

In all, massive changes in the hardware and software world have resulted in ever more advanced information technologies being accessible to small businesses. With Microsoft Windows Server 2003 reaching the end of its service lifecycle, many companies are looking to upgrade their data infrastructure for the first time in decades. Others are looking to make their first steps online and stop being part of the 12 percent.

In either case, and by all three metrics, there has never been a better time than now.