Symantec Issues Global SMB IT Confidence Index

KL, Malaysia – June 19, 2013 – Symantec Corp. today released its 2013 Global SMB IT Confidence Index, which found that SMBs with higher IT Confidence scores are more successful in leveraging IT to drive their business, and ultimately experience stronger, better business outcomes.

“In Malaysia, the survey shows how the attitudes about IT of SMB founders have a positive correlation between protecting their information assets and achieving their business goals,” said Alex Ong, country director of Symantec Malaysia. “If small businesses want to maximise their success, they need to embrace IT as a strategic tool with the potential to deliver a competitive advantage and really drive their business.”

Koh Ee Laine, senior technical consultant of Symantec Malaysia, added, “It is also interesting to note from the survey that the typical top-tier SMB spends seven percent less on computing than bottom-tier organisations, which may be due to their commitment to invest in the right technology from the beginning and having the future growth of the company in mind. There are significant advantages in a forward thinking attitude towards computing when it is embraced for strategic purposes rather than being treated as simply a necessary evil.”

Symantec surveyed nearly 2,500 SMBs across the globe to determine their attitude toward IT, including 101 organisations in Malaysia. Their responses were utilised to develop an “SMB IT Confidence Index,” a measure of how confident they are in using IT to address strategic business goals. Three tiers of companies emerged, with the contrast between the top tier and bottom tier forming the basis of the survey’s key takeaways.

IT Confidence Starts at the Top

One of the biggest drivers of high IT Confidence scores was the founder’s perspective and how that impacts IT. Seventy-four percent of top tiers said their founder’s previous business experience has a somewhat to extreme influence on their IT philosophies, compared to 61 percent of companies with low-ranking index scores, and 75 percent in Malaysia. In addition, 83 percent of top-tier SMBs use IT as a strategic business enabler, compared to just 44 percent of bottom-tier SMBs, and 73 percent in Malaysia. Top tiers are also more likely to invest in a high quality IT infrastructure and deploy advanced computing platforms, such as cloud and mobility, seeing innovative technologies as being worth the potential risk.

In Malaysia, competition and the complexity of the business in general were tied as the top business challenges, followed by the increased pace of the business. In addition, data protection, followed by security and disaster preparedness have been listed as the most significant IT issues in the country.

Higher IT Confidence Tied to Better Business Outcomes

SMBs with the highest IT Confidence Indices are doing better than their bottom-tier counterparts in a variety of ways. Eighty-one percent of top-tier SMBs said “using computing strategically to drive our business forward” was a somewhat to extremely effective way to increase market share, compared to just 35 percent of the bottom-tier SMBs, and 68 percent in Malaysia.

Additionally, these SMBs have made information security a business priority, with 78 percent stating they are somewhat/extremely secure versus 39 percent for the bottom tier, and 79 percent in Malaysia. Top-tier SMBs also see fewer cyberattacks and lower monetary losses (51 percent lower annual loss from cyberattacks), and in areas such as storage management, backup windows and disaster preparedness, the top tiers report much smaller impacts from IT complexity.

To Duplicate the Success of Highly Ranked SMBs, Think Like a Founder:
  • Invest for value, not cost. When evaluating IT solutions for business, SMBs should consider long-term cost and value, and determine what technologies will help differentiate them from the competition while supporting future growth.
  • Use IT strategically to address core business objectives. Top-ranking SMBs match the right IT initiative to their business goal. They are more aggressive at deploying advanced technologies such as mobile and cloud, and they focus on efficiency. For example, top-tier SMBs would consider using online collaboration tools and video conferencing to reduce landline and travel costs.
  • Keep your IT house in order. Especially when it comes to protecting data – data loss can be a death sentence for an SMB. In terms of security, SMBs are now being specifically targeted by cybercriminals. Top-tier SMBs understand the importance of keeping security up-to-date, and 81 percent aggressively employ security measures. The same pattern holds true for backup and disaster preparedness.

Symantec’s 2013 Global SMB IT Confidence Index

Symantec’s 2013 Global SMB IT Confidence Index is a result of research conducted by ReRez in February-March 2013. The full study represents 2,452 organisations from 20 countries, including 101 organisations from Malaysia Responses came from companies with a range of 10 to 250 employees.