Small business owners are facing significant headwinds when it comes to adopting new technologies, network security and staying connected with their customers in today’s highly competitive market.
According to Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable Business Class’ second annual small business technology survey, security remains a major area of focus and continued education is needed to help small business owners understand the offerings and benefits of outsourced security solutions. A full 27 percent of survey respondents said that securing their network from external threats is their biggest technology challenge today.
About a third—33 percent—of small business owners manage their own network security solutions, while 40 percent use a managed security network solution from a third party. Unfortunately though, 27 percent of small business owners do not have a security solution in place.
Other technology challenges facing small business owners today include the fact that 32 percent find that keeping up with the latest technology and upgrade trends is the greatest challenge. Slow internet was identified by 27 percent of respondents as a key challenge, and 26 percent of small business owners have a tough time dealing with securely backing up their data.
"Leveraging new technologies by small businesses is critical for their ultimate success," said Maureen Link, group vice president for small business at Time Warner Cable Business Class. "Small business owners are being stretched and challenged to meet the growing demands of today’s consumer. Modern technology deployments and services allow them to provide a memorable experience while maintaining the trust and business of customers. Our latest survey has also shown that small business owners are focused on keeping their doors open and growing their business, not technology. We need to continue to engage with our customers on the solutions out there that will help enable them to exceed their business goals.”
Further data points have to do with growth areas. Social media continues to be a growth opportunity for small business owners when it comes to connecting with customers and prospective customers. Facebook (News - Alert) is the social platform of choice for small business owners, with 60 percent of respondents using it regularly to promote their business and connect with customers. LinkedIn (News - Alert) is the second most used platform at 28 percent.
They’re doing a pretty good job here: 60 percent of small business owners use social media to attract new customers to their business. But, 63 percent of small business owners do not use social media in order to have a better understanding of their customers.
The survey also showed that Wi-Fi for customers can provide higher rates of customer satisfaction when offered by small businesses: 74 percent of the small businesses that do offer Wi-Fi see business benefits from a higher rate of customer satisfaction, repeat business and more time and revenue spent within their business. Yet, most small businesses (68 percent) do not provide free Wi-Fi to their customers today.
“As the world and consumers become more connected, businesses need to continue to understand and implement technology that makes their business more secure, efficient and attractive to customers,” said Brian Allen, GVP and chief security officer for legal and security at Time Warner Cable Business Class. “Time Warner Cable Business Class is committed to helping small businesses provide a secure environment for transactions and for new and innovative ways to connect with their customers. The stats from our latest survey show that small business owners are focused on their core business while we need to continue to educate and engage them on cost effective ways to protect their business from the growing threat of security attacks and technology disruptions.”