Data security is a major concern for SMEs across Europe that are wanting to reap the benefits of introducing digital and mobile technologies in the workplace.
A new report also found that more than half of these organisations didn't have a strategy in place to allow them to effectively introduce such business practices in the future.
Despite this, the study revealed that two-thirds (66 per cent) of senior management at these organisations cited optimising the cloud, applications and mobile devices as a strategic priority.
Half of respondents said a major barrier to making their workforce more digital was data security, and this was making it difficult to make the most of technology in the workplace.
Conducted by Aruba, the research looked at more than 500 SMEs across Europe and found that just one in four SMEs are already prepared for digital. The report revealed that 26 per cent of those included in the survey planned to make some digital investment over the next year.
Nearly a third (30 per cent) of respondents cited cost as a key issue, but 30 per cent were already funding technology designed to optimise the mobile workforce, suggesting that even small businesses are able to reap the benefits. A further 20 per cent had plans to make similar purchases in the future.
The report also suggested that professionals in finance and healthcare are especially engaged with digital, with 80 per cent of workers in these sectors thinking these technologies will be important for their organisation.
Chris Kozup, vice-president of marketing at Aruba, said many SMEs are "embracing the digital workplace" and these are reaping the benefits, but it can be difficult to balance limited budgets and the ambitions of senior management.
"Local IT partners have a huge opportunity to become trusted advisors that can help SMEs overcome these challenges, helping them to implement digital and mobile technologies that can improve business productivity, enhance customer experience and achieve increased revenues,” Mr Kozup explained.
However, the report revealed that many small businesses are looking to boost their security capabilities, with 85 per cent wanting to contact a local IT partner for expert support. This was cited as the most common strategy for SMEs looking to create a digital workplace.