SMEs, Istat: they use the network better but are still slow in restyling their infrastructures and processes
According to the main findings of the latest ISTAT report, SMEs use the network more than before the pandemic but the digital process review activity is proceeding slowly. The major gaps are found, to the detriment of SMEs, in the presence of ICT specialists, in the decision to invest in information and communication technologies and in the use of specialized documentation on the rules and provisions to be adopted on cyber security. There is also a large gap in the use of robots and in online sales of at least 1% of turnover which penalizes companies above all with at least 10 employees using these tools.
On a par with large companies, the share of SMEs in which more than half of the employees had access to the Internet grew by over 20%. Fixed broadband, on the other hand, is used more by large companies. With reference to the connection and security indicators, the best results are obtained by companies in the ICT sector referable to the energy supply in which the majority of companies operate with at least half of the employees accessing the Internet and with at least three active ICT security measures. The performance of the sectors of technical professions and information and communication services is identical. On the e-commerce front, data for SME network sales show no relevant developmentsi: 13% of small and medium-sized enterprises made online sales equal to at least 1% of global turnover, while around 18% of SMEs operating in e-commerce made just over13% of total revenues through the online channel.
The sectors most active in online sales are commerce, manufacturing (with the automotive industry in the lead) and energy. 60% of volumes come from large companies, 40% from SMEs. Made in Italy companies with more than 10 employees operating online are among the first recipients in Europe of online platforms as intermediaries. Italian SMEs with at least ten employees are in line with the European average in the use of basic IT security measures.
The impact of less structured companies implies the significant diffusion of less advanced security measures such as, for example, the data backup. Few companies employ the more sophisticated security measures needed to analyze security incidents. The spread of more advanced measures is still limited (use of data for risk assessment, periodic system safety tests).
The increase in access to the Internet and the use of software applications expose companies to the risk of cyber attacks. Last year at least one in four companies said they had been the victim of a ‘cyber attack’. At the sectoral level, the most affected are companies active in the manufacture of coke and pharmaceutical products followed by publishing activities. At the bottom we find the textile industry and postal service companies. Finally, sustainability practices. Three out of four companies adopt green behavior in the choice of technology, also weighing its environmental impact. More than half of the companies concert the assessment of the environmental impact of ICT services or equipment, before selecting them, with the use of measures affecting paper or information technology energy consumption.
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