Research Shows Small Businesses Are Worried About IT Security and New Technology

With technology advancing at such a quick rate, it can sometimes be hard for companies to keep track of what they should be doing to not only to protect their business, but to make sure they are taking advantage of new cost saving products and services.

A survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, on behalf of Primus Canada, found that despite over half (53%) of small businesses expressing that digital convergence will positively affect their business, nearly one-third (31%) felt anxiety about the technology.

So what is digital convergence?  Put simply, it is the digitizing of traditional media.  Think of products like the Apple’s iPhone 4, Sony’s Vaio and Voice Over IP (VOIP) products such as Skype.

With the arrival of these products, small businesses are able to combine traditional technologies to save cost.  Over three-quarters (76%) of those surveyed, who used VOIP, saw cost savings to their businesses.  So why is it that only 22% of the respondents are using the services available to them that can save their business money?

Traditionally, Canadians tend to be more conservative with their adoption of new technology, waiting to see what their peers do and what their experience is, before considering adopting it themselves.  New technology is often associated with an increased security threat to IT infrastructures.  By enabling one more service entrance in to their systems, it is assumed this it is one more hole for that leaky bucket.  The survey found that the smaller the business, the greater their concern about security.  With 54% of sole proprietorships, who had nine employees or less, expressing that they felt particularly vulnerable regarding their businesses IT network,  it demonstrates there is real concern out there about IT and network security.

While off the shelf antivirus software and firewall systems were being used by small businesses, it was clear that more advanced solutions were required to make them feel more secure.  Jeff Lorenz, vice president of sales and marketing at Primus Canada commented: “Our belief on why they are anxious about security is because the implications about making the wrong decision around your company’s security are much further reaching than the quality of your phone system or the reliability of your Internet connection or your email service, for example.”

With the recent economic turmoil hitting businesses around the world, companies are being cautious to make changes, which they perceive will have a big cost implication.  However, different solutions do not have to cost more and could actually save you money.  Alternatives such as collocation data centres and managed network security services offer alternatives to in house servers and individual security solutions.  To reinforce this message companies like Primus are now focussing on educating businesses about the options available as part of their marketing strategy.

Although confidence in having the right technology was not high overall in Canada, Alberta business owners expressed the most confidence.   The results varied highly by province, with 81% of Manitobans worrying about their IT and network security and 65% of Quebecers anxious about technology in general.

By keeping up to date with websites such as Small Business Computing and the Entrepreneur magazine for recent reviews of products and services, companies can enhance their business.  By checking the sites regularly they will gain exposure to the options out there and gain a more efficient and profitable business.