Over half of SMEs ignorant of digital tools and cyber security issues

56 per cent of micro, small and medium businesses (SMEs) do not value digital tools, and have little or no knowledge of cyber security issues, according to a new report released by ANZ today.

‘The Digital Economy: Transforming Australian Businesses’ report found the majority of Australian small business owners are dismissive of digital technology despite its ability to save time and money.

The same report revealed 55 per cent of small businesses also had a lack of understanding of cyber security. Cyber security knowledge was at its lowest amongst startups, with 71 per cent knowing nothing about it!

Significantly, businesses that failed to embrace technology also had the lowest revenues earned per employee signifying the link between innovation and revenue.

Guy Mendelson ANZ’s General Manager of Small Business Banking, said the report revealed there was a disconnect between business owner’s use of digital tools and their understanding of the real financial and timesaving benefits.

“Our research highlights that while business owners understand digital solutions can provide a range of benefits, many are yet to establish a well-defined digital strategy that will eventually become standard for doing business in Australia.

“A digital strategy becomes even more critical when considering that digitally-enabled businesses save an average of about 10 hours a week and subsequently increase annual revenue by almost a third.

“Collectively, the sector has the potential to boost revenue by a total of $385 billion per year and save 22 million hours of effort per week. These savings are significant and show the importance of effectively using digital solutions to drive business performance,” Mendelson said.

With one in four Australian SME’s experiencing a cyber attack in 2017, Mendelson suggested small businesses owners could ill afford to remain ignorant of cyber security issues.

“As businesses become more established so does their understanding of cyber-security issues, however, it’s important for every business to be aware of the different types of cyber attacks such as business email compromise (BEC), which are growing at a significant rate,” Mendelson said.

According to the report finding many SMEs found the cost of adopting digital solutions a barrier to adoption.

“The focus for a business owner is on the day-to-day delivery and operations, and considering ‘what’s next?’ can be overwhelming and is often an after-thought, especially in terms of digital tools,” Mendelson said.

“Business owners need additional support to help them overcome these challenges and to build a plan that ensures digital adoption is suitable, stable and sustainable over the long term,” he concluded.

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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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