Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Managed Security Services are for SMBs

Sometime late this year, the estimated number of mobile small-medium businesses (SMBs) in the world who use smartphones when travelling will pass 200 million. In some regions, 99 percent of all businesses are classed as small-medium.

According to a new market study from ABI Research, this SMB market, which has not adopted 802.11 network solutions to a great degree, provides a golden opportunity for Wi-Fi vendors of both equipment and associated services.

"Despite the present economic downturn, this is a growing market," says vice president Stan Schatt. "But SMBs have very particular needs and characteristics, and vendors wishing to serve this market need to pay close attention to them."

Unlike large enterprises, small businesses tend to buy equipment out of current operating cash flow, not capital funds. This could be very important in the current economic doldrums. Where profits dwindle, so does the opportunity. Vendors must be creative in addressing this hurdle.

Part of the solution is finding the right sales channel to reach these customers. Says Schatt, "Many small business owners are not tech-savvy and will favor a sales environment that provides customer education and support."

Managers of SMBs are also particular about choosing equipment designed for their specific needs. They don't want a shrunken version of a system intended for a large enterprise.

ABI says that some vendors learned this during their first foray into this market, and has now re-addressed the demand with products designed from the start for the SMB.

SMB owners are emphatic about the need for physical security but are less knowledgeable about online security threats. Their lack of security expertise means they are a greater opportunity for managed security service providers.