Blake Fishman has spent the past two decades immersed in the world of technology, from his education, to his career and his hobbies. He invests a significant amount of time into researching and understanding new technologies and trends, and their potential impacts on a variety of industries. Through his work as a lead systems administrator for a logistics company in Fort Lauderdale, as well as with a local startup incubator, Blake has become both a seasoned professional and an expert on advanced IT solutions, particularly those in emerging tech fields like AI, automation, and robotics.
After working with many small businesses, Blake knows better than anyone that a comprehensive IT setup is more of a necessity than a luxury. From cybersecurity to efficiency, the benefits are numerous and the risks that owners face without an IT infrastructure aren’t worth it.
“A few years back it would be enough to hire a high school kid to come in and set up your wireless router and computers, and you’re good to go for years,” Blake has said. “These days though with technology such an integral part of every business’s day-to-day operations, you really need more than that. While building your own in-house IT department is out of the question for most small businesses, they can usually find good IT firms locally or consultants/freelancers like myself that can integrate with their business in an ongoing way.”
While Blake is well-versed in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and blockchain, he knows that many of his smaller clients aren’t in need of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Conversational AI, or Computer Vision and Image Recognition, even though their implications for the future of business are transformative. As much as he enjoys researching, analyzing, and planning for major changes to the IT sector, he’s also an advocate for basic IT infrastructure investments and upgrades.
Mom-and-Pops Need to Be Worried About Cybersecurity
Blake pinpoints the biggest problems facing small businesses as phishing attacks and malware. These can lead to serious financial losses and compromising valuable company and client data, decreasing trust in your systems and exploiting vulnerabilities. When Blake is called upon to protect small businesses, he takes the time to explain how and why to use the technology to ensure success.
“When it comes to cybersecurity, for my clients I don’t just set up their equipment and then leave,” he says. “I make sure that their systems can be monitored remotely and I get alerts when there is any suspicious behavior. These require constant vigilance, and I also will do regular employee training to make sure everyone at the business knows the basics when it comes to security.”
Convincing Clients Can Be a Challenge
“There is often an assumption that because you’re small, you don’t need a proper IT setup,” Blake Fishman says. “This can cause a lot of issues.”
The technological landscape is changing more quickly than ever, and not all clients understand how that affects their systems and needs. Protecting themselves from online attacks is a minimum requirement; creating greater efficiencies and linking their various systems can also be a timesaver.
“I think it’s always important to call in a professional, if you can’t hire an in-house IT person, and have them get you set up with a proper network and even a VPN if you’re going to have people working remotely or around the world,” Blake explains. “So many business processes can be streamlined with some basic effort toward thoughtfully building your business’s IT infrastructure.”
Ready or Not, Change is Coming
“Business owners should always be aware of emerging technology and the potential impacts it could have on their industry,” Blake says. As an expert in AI, he has seen firsthand the great potential of AI and its wide variety of applications across a multitude of industries. He often works with companies to understand how they can best make use of AI while navigating the challenges and risks that come along with it.
But Blake warns against panicking when it comes to the changing technological landscape. “I think it’s a little bit alarmist to think that entire industries could completely shut down overnight. There is always advance warning for the people paying attention and plenty of time to pivot and adjust. I don’t think technology will shut industries down, but it will change how they operate and that is where business owners will need to be paying attention so they can be ahead of the curve with preparing for those changes.”
After years of studying advances in technology and their potential impacts, Blake Fsihman remains adamant that some things never change: “The basic services and products will still be needed. For example, look at Netflix. It didn’t shut down the entertainment industry; it just changed how we access entertainment. Human wants and needs don’t change, but technology will change how businesses meet them.”
And if businesses intend to continue meeting those human wants and needs, the first step they can take is to invest in their IT infrastructure.