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Security concerns shouldn’t stop SMEs making most of online says MYOB

FEATURE: NZ Security, October 2015

According to the latest MYOB Digital Nation report, losing access to data, having business information hacked and foreign government surveillance are among the concerns of New Zealand’s small-to-medium enterprises. The report’s survey of over 1000 business owners and operators by Colmar Brunton found that two-thirds of New Zealand business operators are worried about online security.

“While the internet and the cloud have transformed business,” says MYOB New Zealand General Manager James Scollay on the company’s website, “they have also transformed the nature of the security risk for businesses, with the threat of loss of data, illegal hacking or monitoring now a major concern for local businesses.”

The primary worry for businesses is losing access to their data (44%), followed by hacking of business data (42%) and loss of control of their data (34%). Other concerns include government or competitors gaining access to their data, and surveillance by foreign governments. Mr Scollay says local businesses are rightly cautious but they shouldn’t let their concerns prevent them from realizing the benefits of the online environment.

The survey also broke results down according to region. Business operators in Northland (51%) and Bay of Plenty (54%) are less likely to be worried about online security, while those in the Hawkes Bay (77%) and Wellington (74%) have the highest levels of concern.

“Good security practices – like maintaining software updates, firewalls and anti-virus measures – go a long way towards making businesses secure when accessing the internet or working in the cloud,” stated Scollay. “At the same time, reputable companies that offer online products and services are investing heavily in maintaining the highest levels of security.”

The report also surveyed businesses’ levels of satisfaction in relation to access to the internet. In general term, business operators reported improved satisfaction with the speed, reliability and cost of their internet plans.

Satisfaction with internet speed and reliability has risen from 40% six months previously to 49% in March 2015, while dissatisfaction has fallen from 33% to 29%. SMEs’ satisfaction with the cost of their plans rose from 30% to 41%, with dissatisfaction falling from 38% to 28%.

Interestingly, the survey found that only 47% of local SMEs currently have an online presence, with 23% operating a business website, seven percent just using a social media site, and 17% having both. More businesses with an online presence reported an increase in revenue than those without.

“While business owners are right to be taking a cautious approach to one of their most vital assets – their data, its very important we don’t let that concern cloud the opportunities the internet can bring for every SME,” said Mr Scollay. With only 17% of businesses boasting both a website and social media presence, it seems that there are many small companies out there missing out on the potential benefits that being online can bring.

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NZ SMEs' key concerns: losing access to data, having business information hacked and foreign government surveillance.

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