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What’s Causing Fear, Confidence Among SMEs

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Political uncertainty, economic shifts, technological disruption — they all have an impact on how a small business feels about the current market climate. Small and medium-sized businesses can be fickle when it comes to adopting new technologies, for instance, or SMEs can feel hesitant to adopt emerging solutions, like on-demand services.

From corporate use of Airbnb to SMEs’ confidence in cybersecurity, PYMNTS takes a look at the factors causing small businesses across the globe to either waver or grow in their confidence for the future.

 

$77 million spent on Airbnb bookings by companies using Concur’s travel and expense management solution. The T&E firm said those funds, spent between 2014 and 2016, signal a new sense of confidence businesses have in the on-demand economy, with SMEs leading adoption rates as they look for more flexible corporate travel offerings and as hotel rates continue to rise. San Francisco and London saw the highest gains in corporate Airbnb use, Concur found last week.

Two-thirds of businesses lack confidence in their company’s security measures, found the latest analysis by Accenture. A survey of security officials among enterprises worldwide found that a third of cyberattacks that target corporations are successful in compromising data security. Often, it would take a company months or even a year or longer to identify a data breach. The findings signal a need for corporations to “reboot” their cybersecurity strategies, Accenture concluded.

40% of the ERP software market goes to mid-sized firms as they spearhead the industry’s expansion. New research from Grand View Research estimates that the cloud-based ERP industry is set to reach a $48.22 billion valuation by 2022, with many businesses using ERP software as a finance function to manage cash and accounting. According to researchers, reduced production cost, greater efficiency, compliance demands and other factors are top reasons why medium-sized enterprises are flocking to ERP software. And while North America represents the largest market, a report found Europe and Asia-Pacific are slated to see significant gains in this space over the next seven years.

25% of SMEs still use free cloud data storage services, and that means huge risks for data security, according to a report by Clutch. The information that SMEs are storing on these free cloud services includes banking and medical data, despite the fact that free cloud storage services are often lacking in data security. Researchers highlighted the threat of falling out of compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard regulations by using free cloud storage solutions. Though, according to experts, it’s not the cloud service that’s usually to blame for data breaches; it’s the end user. Even so, 87 percent of SMEs surveyed said that they believe their free cloud storage solution is either very or somewhat secure, and while so many SMEs use free services, data security remains businesses’ top concern when looking for a cloud storage service provider.

An 11% increase in EU SME confidence marks a new high, according to Hitachi Capital Business Finance. The quarter-over-quarter increase is an all-time high for 2016 and follows a dip in confidence last quarter following the U.K. Brexit vote. According to Hitachi, 43 percent of SMEs said they have a positive outlook in their futures, while the level of SMEs that report feeling concerned about the year’s final quarter reached a new low for the survey.

A 1.61% decrease in U.S. SME hiring in October marks the fourth month in a row of negative readings for the CBIZ Small Business Employment Index, researchers said last week. October is generally a slow month for small business employment levels, the company noted, but last October was below average. Only 20 percent of companies surveyed increased employment levels between September and October, CBIZ found, with the Western U.S. emerging as the only region that reported gains in SME hiring for the month.

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