Lenovo-AMD Survey Highlights SMBs Engaging in Risky Technology Behavior
Resource-and-cash-strapped small businesses struggling to cut costs in a slow economy are leaving simple cost savings options on the table and putting data at risk, according to a recent survey from Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) and AMD (NYSE: AMD). The Lenovo-AMD Small Business Tech Survey, which sought to identify common issues and trends in technology use by small businesses, also uncovers several peculiar — and in some cases alarming – technology practices including relying on “piggybacking” on nearby WiFi networks and saving critical business files on USB thumb drives.
Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves and One Inescapable Office
The survey of more than 700 small business professionals clearly indicates that stretched-thin staff and fierce competition means more and more employees will be working on vacation over the holidays.
- More than four in five (85 percent) small business professionals agree they conduct work outside of the office.
- A clear majority (72 percent) of respondents rarely take an email-free vacation.
In order to keep up with their hefty workload, many respondents agreed they rely on a mobile device such as a laptop or smart phone. The most preferred devices are laptops (38 percent) and smart phones (31 percent).
Disposable Cameras, Disposable Razors and Disposable… Data?
Data loss can be detrimental to any business. The loss of critical spreadsheets, marketing material and worse, customer information, can cost businesses a considerable amount of time and money to recover lost data, if at all.
Despite the consequences of data loss, the survey indicates that many small businesses are backing up critical business data using highly disposable and insecure methods:
- While 40 percent of small businesses back up files to external hard drives, an alarming 50 percent of respondents said they or their company use USB thumb drives and CDs/DVDs to backup important information.
Other secure and cost-effective means of data storage, such as web-based cloud storage, were seldom used by the small businesses surveyed:
- While 43 percent of respondents are at least somewhat familiar with cloud computing, only 13 percent say they are using an online storage service – the least of all backup methods cited.
Why Pay for WiFi? Caveat Emptor
For many respondents, WiFi in their home or office is the primary means of connecting to the Internet with their company-issued laptop. However, some respondents admitted to connecting to unsecured WiFi networks (“piggybacking”) in order to conduct business:
- 25 percent of respondents reported they or someone in their company piggyback other available WiFi networks to conduct business.
- Almost one in five senior-level executives (17 percent) and proprietor/owners (17 percent) surveyed say they piggyback on wireless networks.
Call it What You Want – but It’s Free
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has the potential to bring cost efficiency to any small business through free or low-cost audio and video communication via the Internet. Despite the cost benefits, the study found that:
· 70 percent of small businesses are not using VoIP for business calls.
- Almost nine in 10 (87 percent) small business professionals are somewhat or not at all familiar with the term “unified communications,” which is the integration of voice, video, audio and instant messaging tools.
Want to “Seal the Deal?” Looks are Everything
The results of the survey highlight the importance that small businesses place on personal brand reputation and appearance. Revealing the need to make a good first impression in a business meeting or new business pitch, the survey found nearly 70 percent of respondents agreed that the appearance of a laptop issued by a small business is a reflection of that company’s commitment to quality and service.
Giving Small Businesses an Edge on Competition
To help address common small business pain points, Lenovo offers the affordable, yet stylish, ThinkPad Edge laptops based on VISION Pro technology from AMD. Starting at $529 on www.lenovo.com, ThinkPad Edge laptops combine price, security options and productivity features like fast processing, wireless options and VoIP features, in a sleek, modern design.
Helpful features on ThinkPad Edge laptops include:
- Crisp and clear VoIP features with Skype™ software, high definition speakers, high resolution, low light sensitivity cameras and microphone and camera mute keys
- Ample wireless connectivity technologies including WiFi and optional Bluetooth, 3G and WiMAX
- Time and money saving software tools called ThinkVantage Technologies (TVT) such as Rescue and Recovery for helping users recover lost or corrupted files, and Access Connections, which helps users easily connect and manage Internet connections.
The Lenovo-AMD Small Business Tech Survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Lenovo between October 14 and November 9, 2010 among 722 adults aged 18 and over who owned or were employed by a small business with no more than 500 employees.