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Small businesses stuck in IT ‘dark age’: Intel

A shortage of money, combined with a lack of technical expertise, is keeping half of small businesses in a technology “dark age”, according to a large survey.

In an alarming trend, fax machines are still used far more than smart phones by small businesses, according to the Intel Small Business Index. The survey covered 3000 IT decision makers across small businesses with less than 250 employees.

The Index found that in spite of the financial crisis, a quarter of IT decision makers in small businesses have no understanding of cloud computing, a type of technology often touted as saving upfront investment.

Many businesses also have a lack of awareness around data security regulations and technology, the survey found.

In addition to which researchers found that a third of small businesses have no plans to buy any new laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones in the next year.

Graham Palmer, UK MD at Intel,said that the IT industry needed to do “much more” to advise businesses how they can save large costs with a small investment in technology.

“While tablets and smartphones offer flexibility to staff, only 1.4% and 16.2% of staff use them respectively, he said.

“It’s important that IT decision makers weigh the advantages, such as the increased efficiency and flexibility delivered by mobile devices, against the cost,” he added. “In many sectors, such as the creative industries and retail, using outdated legacy technologies could even result in the loss of your competitive advantage.”

The research also revealed some concerns around security measures. Two thirds of small businesses spend under 10% of their IT budget protecting their businesses against attack, the survey reported. 36% of IT decision makers are also entirely unaware of data protection legislation on mobile devices, researchers said.

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