LAN usage hits stalemate amongst SMEs

Small businesses may be reluctant to implement a local area network (LAN), according to results of an IDC market survey. The survey revealed the number of respondents employing a LAN has risen by only one percent since last year.

Small businesses may be reluctant to implement a local area network (LAN), according to results of an IDC market survey. The survey revealed the number of respondents employing a LAN has risen by only one percent since last year.

The research, entitled Trends in Australian SMEs Demand for Networking 2004, focuses on the present condition of the networking market, LAN usage and the uptake of remote access for employees within an organisation.

Around 75 percent of the SME's surveyed in 2004 said they had already implemented a LAN, with five percent reporting plans to do so within the next year. These figures have risen only slightly in comparison to last year's results, with 74 percent of business employing as LAN in 2003 and two percent having plans to do so.

IDC Australia's SME market analyst, Brad Hill, said the poor results can be attributed to the lack of understanding amongst small business about the possible benefits of deploying a LAN.

"Shared resources and cost savings need to be clearly explained and demonstrated to these businesses. It is crucial for vendors to demonstrate how implementing a LAN will be of benefit to the business," said Hill.

The percentage of businesses that have remote access for employees has risen by 3 percent over 2003, with 62 percent of SMEs employing the technology. However, Hill says that as employees need to become more mobile remote access will become more of a necessity.

"Workforces continue to become more mobile and employees will need access to information on demand, so it is inevitable that the uptake of remote access will continue. However, SMEs must become more comfortable with the security of remote access," said Hill.

The survey showed that server usage by SMEs has also risen since 2003, with 85 percent of business surveyed choosing a PC server to run a network compared with 82 percent in 2003.

The most popular servers used amongst the participating SMEs were HP with 30 percent of the respondents, IBM with 23 percent and Dell with 14 percent.