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November 9, 2010

Small business owners stressed about IT security

Network security, digital convergence amid concerns

The majority of Canadian small business owners are concerned about IT and network security, according to a new survey. Sole proprietorships with nine employees or fewer feel particularly vulnerable with 54 per cent of these businesses expressing concern regarding their businesses IT networks. Conducted by Angus Reid Public  Opinion on behalf of Primus   Canada, the survey also revealed that more advanced anti-virus software and firewall systems are the required tools for these businesses to feel secure.

"Clearly, small businesses' uneasiness about their company's IT security is an indicator of the need for not only better network supports, but education about additional IT security options as well," says   Jeff Lorenz, Vice  President Sales  and Marketing, Primus Canada. "While traditional 'tried and true' tools such as anti-virus software and firewall systems are seen to be the obvious choices against compromised IT networks and hackers, there are other equally sound alternatives that are available to businesses. For example, data centre colocation, as well as, managed network and security services through an established IT provider can offer the piece of mind that small business owners require."

While small businesses remain concerned about their IT infrastructure, the survey also revealed that a full one-third (31 per cent) of small business owners feel anxiety about technology and its affect on their businesses. In spite of this, the majority of small business owners (53 per cent) confessed to feeling that digital convergence in general will positively affect their businesses in the future.

Strangely, although those surveyed saw a benefit to various convergence technologies in their day-to-day businesses, only a small percentage of respondents (22 per cent) admitted to using digital convergence tools such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) very often or occasionally. This in light of the fact that a full 76 per cent of those respondents using VOIP have seen cost savings to their businesses.

Other survey findings include:

  • Manitobans have the highest level of concern about IT and network security with a full 81 per cent admitting to feeling unease; Saskatchewanians have the lowest level of concern, with 48 per cent calling it a major or a minor concern.   Quebec  small business owners have the highest level of anxiety about their company's technology at 65 per cent; with Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canadian owners having the lowest anxiety at 17 per cent;
  • Manitoba small business owners have the least amount of confidence (7 per cent) that their company has the technological tools needed to maximize profits;
  • Only 33 per cent of Manitoban small business owners believe that digital convergence has positively affected their businesses, the lowest rate in the country;
  • Albertan and Ontarian small business owners have the highest confidence that digital convergence will affect their businesses positively in the future with 59 and 54 per cent, respectively.
  • Less than half of small business polled - only 40 per cent - said that they were "very confident" that their business had the technological tools required to maximize their businesses profits.

"Advances in technology can not only enhance operations for small businesses, but can help to reduce expenditures when used strategically," says Lorenz. "Reviewing current tools and investigating additional or alternative options can result in a more efficient and profitable business."

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