Q&A: Graham Palmer, Intel UK MD

We spoke to the UK managing director of chip giant Intel to get his thoughts on the company's recent Small Business Index research and industry at large changes during the past year.

Being able to mix private and business data on the same device comes with its own technical challenges of keeping things both separate and secure. It's a key requirement.

BYOD is certainly an attractive proposition but SMEs do need to plan for it and ensure they [can manage and continue business as normal] if the preferred smartphone or laptop dies on road

The key here is to ensure this doesn't happen by accident.

What best practice advice would Intel offer around BYOD?

The goal here is flexibility and giving employees more choice. The laptop is still the primary device used by 60 per cent of SMEs. But companies could work with a preferred supplier and ask that it offers a selection of devices for employees to choose from. These devices should still have basic management functionality while still providing flexibility and choice rather than a big free for all where the SME says it'll connect anything and everything.

There's a middle ground for the future and I know lots of companies in the reseller community are already working on that type of approach.

Cloud computing is also referenced in the Intel Small Business Index. Does the industry need to do a better job of conveying both what it is and the benefits on offer?

Cloud computing as a term has become a panacea for every related to service delivered over the internet. The macro communication about cloud is very well established in the marketplace.

Top issues for organisations around cloud computing are things like liability. What if the cloud vendor an SME is working with goes down? What are the levels of security? And, if I choose to change vendors can I be sure my data will move [quickly and safely] from the first guy to the second vendor?

These challenges apply to all businesses, but they are certainly something SMEs are concerned about. It's now about making cloud-like services relevant to SMEs.

The other side is the fact SMEs can offer cloud services. Again, the industry has lots of cookbooks and applications to offer that help build cloud services very quickly.

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