Most small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa view Internet connectivity as the most mission-critical aspect of IT infrastructure by far and most agree that without the Internet, they wouldn't be able to do business.
This is one of the findings of the SME Survey 2008, sponsored by Standard Bank, which saw more than 5 000 SME owners across South Africa interviewed.
Survey findings show that only 10% of small businesses have no Internet connection, 63% access the Internet via ADSL; 9,5% still use dial-up and 4% use 3G. ISDN connectivity has tapered to a low 2%.
Data loss has been identified as an area of concern, with load shedding listed as the leading cause of loss of data, followed by systems failures. Equally concerning is the fact that more than half of the respondents are vulnerable to loss, with only 46% of respondents reporting a disaster recovery plan in place and 53% with a centralised server storing all company data. Only 39% of respondent's claim to back-up data on a daily basis.
The survey shows that online banking facilities are utilised by 86% of SMEs. While 18% of SMEs use personal internet banking, business internet banking – a dedicated facility specifically for business banking – is used by 11% of SMEs, and 57% of respondents use both kinds of online banking services. Survey results show that the majority, 33% of SMEs, use a Standard Bank online banking product.
Magnus Taljaard, director: corporate channels at Standard Bank, says: "The survey shows that more and more SMEs are making their businesses more efficient by being connected to the Internet. On the banking front, we're excited that there is an increase in the uptake in online banking which caters specifically for business needs."