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Many SMEs are digital in their approach: Palo Alto Networks

Nitin Varma, Director, Commercial and Mid-Market, India and SAARC, Palo Alto Networks, speaks on how SME IT requirements differ from large enterprises and how are they treading the digital transformation path

How are SME’s IT requirements different from large enterprises?

Nitin Varma, Director, Commercial and Mid-Market, India and SAARC, Palo Alto Networks

SMEs contribute 45 percent of India’s GDP, according to a report released by MasterCard and the Confederation of All India Traders. SMEs are increasingly becoming a potential segment paving way for IT opportunity. The best part is that many SMEs are digital in their approach and do not carry the baggage of legacy systems or products. This makes them ready to adapt new technologies far more easily due to their agile mindsets and nimble teams.

However, nothing comes without challenges. SMEs often face roadblocks like lack of awareness, professionals with relevant skill sets, and adequate funding, which could hinder technology adoption.

On the other hand, large companies would involve numerous stakeholders with varied opinions, legacy systems, resistance to change, or capital expenditure. But once the decision is made, the changeover becomes obvious.

What is the level of seriousness you observe among SMEs for digital transformation in order to take their business to the next level?

The last couple of years have seen SMEs recognising technology as a key business driver, but its technology adoption is still low, as compared to other countries with larger number of SME setups. The sector is contributing 69 percent of total employment in India. Growing penetration of technology and government initiatives like Digital India, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme, and Skill India will offer these SMEs to bring the convenience of digitalisation to the masses.

Last year, the sector witnessed a 60 percent boost in business through mobile applications, which shows that the tech-savvy way of business has been well received by the industry. Partners around the world are augmenting their businesses with managed services. There is a huge expansion into security services, managed detection and response (MDR) services and managed cloud. According to Gartner, by 2021, at least half of small and midsize enterprises will use managed services to secure their infrastructure, up from less than 20 percent in 2018.

SMEs would need managed security service providers to help them rapidly ramp up and scale their cloud environment while deploying security measures designed to reduce the attack surface and secure critical application. MSSPs offer security services which have immense opportunities in front of them and stand to gain a significant competitive advantage.

Security is a major pain area for SME organisations. How are the leading security vendors supporting SMEs with cost-effective and secure solutions? 

Security is indeed a major concern for SMEs as they are embarking on digital technologies. SMEs need an integrated platform that reduces operational complexity and gives security teams confidence they can use best practices and minimise human error.

SME segment is a critical market to us both in tier-1 and 2 cities. Therefore, with a strong integrated security platform we align with our loyal partner ecosystem with local presence which helps to spread security awareness and create vertical specific security offerings for our customers in SME space.

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