Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees a growing, underserved market
Increasing demand for backup services bolstering company’s expansion plans
MORE companies than ever before are offering secure backup and email archiving services to small businesses, but there’s one market segment that’s still neglected.
“The minimum number of users is usually 10. That’s like neglecting 90% of small businesses,” says Charif El-Ansari (pic), chief executive officer of Dropmysite, a Singapore-based startup that offers cloud-based website, email and database backup solutions.
El-Ansari was speaking to Digital News Asia (DNA) during the Parallels Summit, which took place in New Orleans from Feb 9-11.
He says that interest in Dropmysite’s offerings is growing steadily, especially from the underserved segment of companies comprising 10 or fewer employees, adding that his company’s solution is ideal for businesses with one to 1,000 employees.
However serving small companies comes with its own risks, with up to 85% of new businesses reportedly failing within their first year.
“There is a lot of volatility definitely. It is the most underserved and the most volatile. This is maybe why it’s underserved in the first place.
“But at the same time, this market is growing. Every day a new business opens globally and even if we get a higher churn, we’re still servicing a growing base of companies, so we’re still in a good place,” El-Ansari says.
The Dropmysite mission is to understand and cater to the fact that this segment of its clientele comes with higher churn versus medium-sized businesses and above.
The increasing interest El-Ansari alludes to is also the result of a changing business environment, with malware and malicious attacks becoming a real concern for businesses owners.
“Things are changing and you can see it happening from multiple directions. There’s more malware out there and 40% of attacks are aimed at small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are the least immune in terms of security,” he says.
Asked for what advice he could offer to small businesses looking to secure their data, El-Ansari says they need to really look deeply into what the business is doing and to make security and backup integral to the IT setup from the get-go.
“Cloud backup is the easiest route to go -- there’s no physical hardware to worry about, and it is very scalable, which is what small businesses need as they grow and decline in a volatile way.
“In addition, security is then handled by another company which does this for a living and would offer military-grade encryption which is very expensive for a small company on its own,” he says.
El-Ansari also advises small businesses owners to look for services which are easy to use.
“Many offer complex or heavy-handed integration -- it should be as easy as one, two, three to set up and use. Like ours, which only require two steps to back up your data,” he claims.
To illustrate the benefits of having data backup, for email especially, El-Ansari says that one of Dropmysite’s employees in India had gotten an offer from Facebook, which he accepted.
“We hired a great new guy in almost on the spot and transferred the backed up emails from the previous guy to the him. Nothing was lost, there was no problem ramping up the new guy as all the presentations and correspondence with clients were all accessible to him,” he says.
The benefit of having a regular backup service for small businesses, says El-Ansari, is its use in retaining 'organisation memory,' having a central repository for all the information and files exchanged.
“It wasn’t part of the initial reason for the product we developed, but it’s a very good use case for the service,” he adds.
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