Data security, top IT concern for SMBs, says report

by CXOtoday News Desk    Oct 22, 2013

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SMBs across the world have increased their IT adoption for business growth. However, a recent report Boston Consulting Group (BCG) reveals that over 60% mid-sized company decision makers believe data security or privacy is a major concern that inhibits technology adoption.

The report titled, “Ahead of the Curve: Lessons on Technology and Growth from Small Business Leaders,” is based on primary interviews with 4,000 small and mid-sized businesses in five developed and emerging countries - Brazil, China, India, Germany and the US - in addition to secondary research in 19 other countries.

The report has listed some recommendations for policymakers to encourage SMB technology adoption by ensuring access to world-class infrastructure and networks.

-          According to the authors of the report, to connect, collaborate and compete, SMBs need ICT networks that are accessible, affordable and secure. In this context, policymakers need to support policies that address data security concerns. The authors believe that security risks are likely to grow as more companies adopt big data and move their data into the cloud.

-          The report also emphasizes on the growing need for a local IT ecosystem. According to the researchers, as most SMBs do not have their own skilled in IT staff or a decision maker who can drive the implementation, they mostly depend on local IT vendors. Therefore, a flourishing network of hardware vendors, value-added resellers, systems integrators, service providers and software developers can provide SMBs with much-needed local support.

-          According to the report, 31% of SMB owners said that they have not adopted new technologies because their employees lack sufficient skills, training and exposure to IT. It is important for the governments and educational institutes to collaborate with SMBs to identify key skills gaps and address them through job-training programs.

-          There is also a need to reduce heavy import duties, taxes, regulations, and expenses associated with compliance, says the report as all these lead to high technology costs. The government therefore needs to bring consistency to its policies on taxation, protective tariffs and regulatory expenses to ease the situation.

-          Policymakers need to support market-driven standards and interoperability - initiatives that will allow SMBs to create solutions compatible across markets around the world. Certification of vendors to relevant international standards assures SMBs that a minimum level of security, privacy and data protection is in order. SMBs will also gain access to a more global base of potential customers this way.

The report further highlights that SMB decision-makers need to build a technology skills base and reconsider the cost factor when it comes to technology investments. Furthermore, SMBs that are increasingly adopting IT must learn from technology leaders and adopt the solutions that match their own and potential customers’ expectations.