Digital tools make it easier than ever to run a small business. Accounting software can replace an accounting department. The internet makes it possible to reach customers around the world — and now cloud technology allows a small business owner to access essential data from any device, at any time.

1. Competitive disadvantage

Yet many companies are not taking advantage of this. In fact, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than 50 percent of businesses don’t have a social media account, a website, a system for measuring the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns or digital accounting tools.

Small businesses that don’t use technology to their advantage can pay a heavy price. If their competitors are operating more efficiently, or expanding their customer base more rapidly, tech-averse companies can miss out on profits — or even go under.

2. Lower barriers to entry

The good news is that cloud technology puts digital business tools within the grasp — and the budget — of virtually any small company. Because these tools are hosted on the cloud, instead of a company’s computer network, small businesses don’t have to make big investments in hardware and software. And many software companies offer cloud-based tools that are targeted to small businesses with scaled capabilities and prices.

These include customer relationship management tools that an on-the-go entrepreneur can access from a mobile device; email marketing services that target customers strategically and measure the results; even virtual helpdesk systems that can help keep a small company’s computer network running smoothly.

3. The right fit

If a small business owner doesn’t feel tech-savvy enough to find the right data tools, there’s plenty of help available. A public-private initiative launched by SBA connects small business owners with training and tools from tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon.

And a quick Google search can turn up dozens of options for almost any type of cloud-based business software, while tech magazines often publish best-of lists to help take the guesswork out of making the right choice.