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September 30, 2013 In Brief

Survey: Small biz adopting new technology more quickly

Small businesses are becoming more tech savvy, adopting new gizmos and gadgets at a much faster rate than just three years ago, a new study says.

The National Small Business Association (NSBA) recently released its 2013 Small Business Technology Survey which found use of technology platforms like cloud computing, smart phones, tablets and high-speed internet increased over the past three years.

Today, 74 percent of small firms, for example, use a smart phone, up from 57 percent in 2010. The majority of small firms also have a website and nearly one in five has a mobile internet presence, according to the survey, which polled 854 firms across the country including some in Connecticut.

And social media is becoming a much more important part of small firms’ marketing strategy. Only 27 percent of firms surveyed said they don’t use social media at all, compared to 53 percent three years ago.

Meanwhile, more small companies are handling their own IT services, rather than paying an outside consultant. Part of that trend has been driven by the tough economic times in recent years. But new, and easier to use technology, along with a better understanding of how that technology works is stirring small businesses to take control over their own IT platforms, the survey said.

More tech savvy businesses, however, can also create new headaches.

The cost of needed upgrades, security issues and the time it takes to fix problems were rated as the top three IT challenges facing small firms. About 94 percent of survey respondents said they are very or somewhat concerned about cyber security, while nearly half reported being the victim of a costly cyber-attack.

Cyber-attacks cost small businesses on average $8,699 per attack. Among those whose business banking accounts were hacked, the average losses were $6,927, the survey found.

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