Claranet | Securing SMBs in a World of Digital Transformation

Issue link: https://insight.claranet.co.uk/i/1308898

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2 Executive Summary Data is the new oil. Wi-Fi is the new oxygen. Cloud is to businesses in the 21st century what electricity was in the 20th century. Everywhere, businesses are struggling to define the impact of IT in terms that draw parallels to the resources that powered commerce in previous generations. All of these analogies are imperfect. Technology is becoming indistinguishable from the businesses it supports. Technology facilitates productivity by augmenting or replacing manual tasks, and by connecting tasks and processes to reduce cost and cycle time. Technology accelerates revenue growth by extending customer reach and optimizing conversion rates. Technology expands business horizons by collecting insights from thousands (or millions) of different perspectives to support development of new products and services and options for customer interaction. With the limitless potential of IT/business infrastructure, though, comes a vast and growing set of threats. Businesses can't simply rely on regulators or the "rules of the road" (from telcos or hyperscale cloud providers) for protection—they need to take action to safeguard their customers, their staff, their devices and their confidential corporate information. Large enterprises have the means to hire SWAT teams of cybersecurity professionals. But what can and should small and medium businesses (SMBs) do to grasp the potential of technology without opening themselves up to cyber threats? To help businesses define the path forward, Fortinet commissioned Techaisle, a leading global analyst firm, to prepare targeted research focused on businesses with 1-999 employees. Fortinet is delivering the insight you need to understand both the potential and the threat profile of IT in your business, and to build an approach that maximizes your upside while managing risk appropriately. The Upside What drives businesses like yours? According to a global Techaisle survey of more than 5,000 companies with 1-999 employees, key executive "care-abouts" focus on efficiency, growth and competitiveness. The table below captures the top 10 responses to the question, "What would you say are the top business issues for your company in the next year?" Four of these—reducing operational cost, improving workforce productivity, improving quality of products and processes and managing inventory efficiently—revolve around managing cost and risk. Four others, including improving effectiveness of sales and marketing, attracting and retaining new customers, increasing business growth and creating innovative products, focus on driving growth in the business. The final two categories, increasing profitability and managing uncertainty, reflect a desire to achieve greater levels of control in the business. One common thread that connects all ten of these objectives is technology. IT is at the core of the tools used to increase market reach and process efficiency. IT-enabled solutions deliver the insights needed to boost competitiveness and improve organizational control. Technology is intrinsically important to meeting executive objectives in SMBs. 01 Reducing operational costs 06 Increasing profitability 02 Improving workforce productivity 07 Increasing business growth 03 Improving quality of products and processes 08 Managing inventory effectively 04 Improving effectiveness of sales and marketing 09 Creating innovative products 05 Attracting and retaining new customers 10 Managing uncertainty The Downside Simply understanding that IT is important isn't sufficient to drive growth, though. At the same time that solutions are becoming more compelling, technology is becoming more complex, making it hard for SMBs to identify, deploy and integrate systems that enhance your market reach and sales growth. Complexity is also the enemy of security—and security is at or near the top of IT concerns for small and midmarket businesses. A focused Techaisle security research project found that security is a top IT priority for 74% of SMBs.

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