Losing access to data, having business information hacked and even snooping foreign governments are among the concerns of local SMEs expressed in the latest MYOB Digital Nation report.
Two-thirds of New Zealand business operators are worried about online security, according to the survey of over 1000 business owners and operators surveyed throughout the country for MYOB by Colmar Brunton.
The leading concern for local business operators is losing access to their data (44 percent), followed by hackers gaining access to business data (42 percent) and losing control of their data (34 percent). Other worries include the Government accessing their data, competitors seeing their information and surveillance by foreign governments.
By region, business operators in Northland (51 percent) and Bay of Plenty (54 percent) are less likely to be worried about online security, while those in the Hawkes Bay (77 percent) and Wellington (74 percent) have the highest levels of concern.
MYOB New Zealand General Manager James Scollay says the latest MYOB Digital Nation report highlights that SME operators are worried about the safety of their data – with just a small minority having no concerns about online security.
“The internet, and the online storage and services in the cloud that are now widely available, have transformed business,” Scollay says.
“However, they have also transformed the nature of the security risk for businesses, with the threat of loss of data, illegal hacking or monitoring now a major concern for local businesses.”
Scollay says local businesses are right to be cautious but should not let fear of cyber-crime stop them from utilising the many benefits of the online environment.
“As use of technology – and in particular adoption of online services – becomes widespread, SMEs are becoming increasingly vigilant and aware of the risks to their security,” he adds.
“A maturing approach to online security is a good thing, as long as we are balancing the true risks with the wide-ranging opportunities of embracing technology.
“Good security practices – like maintaining software updates, firewalls and anti-virus measures – go a long way towards making businesses secure when accessing the internet or working in the cloud.
“At the same time, reputable companies that offer online products and services are investing heavily in maintaining the highest levels of security.”
SMEs happier with internet service
Access to the internet is less of an issue for local SMEs with business operators reporting improved satisfaction with both the speed and reliability and cost of their internet plans.
Satisfaction with internet access (speed and reliability) has risen from 40 percent in September 2014 to 49 percent in March 2015, according to the Digital Nation report.
Levels of dissatisfaction have also fallen from 33 percent to 29 percent. Local SMEs are also happier with the cost of their internet plan, with satisfaction climbing from 30 percent to 41 percent and dissatisfaction falling from 38 percent to 28 percent.
Across all the regions, business operators in the Manuwatu and Wanganui are most satisfied with their internet access (66 percent), while Wellington business operators are the most satisfied in the main centres (61 percent).
The rural community, however, is still less happy than their city counterparts, with 44 percent of businesses in rural areas satisfied and 35 percent dissatisfied with their internet access.