Information and communication technology has made rapid advances since the early 1990s, and has dramatically altered the way in which modern businesses work. It has also enabled a greater number of people to work from home.
Information technology is used in virtually every aspect of business as of October 2010. Even the smallest businesses use computers for producing letters and invoices and for keeping records, but IT is also utilized for technical design, research, data analysis and strategic planning, ordering goods and making payments and communications.
Computers save a great deal of time for businesses. Information can be relayed instantly, video conferencing cuts down the need to travel to business meetings and documents can be amended and edited very quickly. They also cut costs, since firms can reduce staffing levels and produce their own marketing materials. A recent innovation as of October 2010 is the use of social networking sites for business marketing.
The most obvious drawbacks are the risk of having confidential information stolen by hackers, and viral computer infections. There is a loss of social interaction, both internally and with clients, as business is conducted long-distance rather than face-to-face. Workers are also being faced with information overload from emails and "spam."