Cisco Start Challenge will help Australian SMBs realise their business ambitions

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The Cisco Start Challenge competition will provide the winner with a $40k security and network transformation.

Though the stereotype of the typical small business (SMB) owner may be of a harried technophobe that is still collecting their receipts in a shoebox, reality has shifted: SMBs are more knowledgeable than ever about the benefits that leveraging technology can bring to their business.

According to the 2017 IDC Custom SMB Survey commissioned by Cisco, which polled more than 900 SMBs across Australia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore, the top three business priorities for SMBs are to reduce costs, gain operational efficiency, and improve productivity.

More than ever, SMBs realise that each of these priorities can be realised through tech.

With this in mind, the survey found that the key tech priorities for SMBs are IT security, improving IT skillsets and productivity, better decision making, and cost savings.

Providing the strong foundation for a business’ operations is connectivity: almost all SMBs, regardless of employee size, are exploring how they can digitise their business and invest in switches, routers, wireless access points and collaboration software, allowing staff to stay connected and work wherever they may be around the office – or the world.

Security is also front of mind with the government’s Notifiable Data Breach scheme now in place.

The scheme has made it obligatory for businesses and organisations to notify all affected persons and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) if an eligible data breach has occurred. Eligible breaches could include, for example, a database containing personal information being hacked, or a customer’s personal information being mistakenly provided to the wrong person, with failure to comply with the scheme incurring fines of up to $2.1 million.

Though SMBs are increasingly searching for tech solutions, providers have traditionally ignored the small to medium business sector, seeing it as too small.

With IDC’s research showing the SMB sector is growing at 7.5 percent per year, however, Cisco has developed Cisco Start, a suite of solutions developed hand in hand with business owners to provide SMBs across Australia with access to enterprise-grade technology to secure their business and their network as a foundation, be more productive, and sharpen their competitive edge.

To help Australian SMBs to stay ahead of the technology curve, Cisco has launched the Cisco Start Challenge, asking Australian SMBs to explain in 50 words how Cisco can solve their business needs through a security and networking transformation and enable their business ambitions.

Five entrants will be shortlisted at the close of the competition on 15 June 2018, with the winner receiving AU$40,000 worth of Cisco Security First and Connect solutions in the Cisco Start portfolio.

Cisco Start Security First will provide network security, cloud security and endpoint security solutions for quick threat detection, and Cisco Start Connect will provide switches, routers and wireless solutions for fast and reliable network connectivity.

For your chance to win tell Cisco in 50 words or less how a Cisco Start Networking and Security technology transformation can enable your big ambition.

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Cec is the managing editor of KBB. She is a multimedia professional with over fifteen years experience as an editor on titles as diverse as SX, CULT, Better Pictures, Total Rock, MTV, fasterlouder, mynikonlife and Fantastic Living. She has spent the past four years working as a news journalist covering all the issues that matter in the political, health and LGBTIQ arena. She is the Head of Content at Pinstripe Media and a recent convert to the world of small business.

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