Aggressive efforts to keep China-based telecom vendor Huawei out of the U.S. market by the Trump administration have thrust a slow-burning debate in the networking space about the security implications of using Chinese-made technology into the limelight over the last two weeks, yet the real-world implications for business users are less than apocalyptic.\nThe basics of the administration's case against Huawei are simple. The company\u2019s close ties to the Chinese government, coupled with China\u2019s history of industrial and political espionage against the U.S., means that its products can\u2019t be trusted not to slip important information back to Beijing. The current crisis is only two weeks old, but\u00a0 these concerns about Huawei and other China-based tech vendors date back years.\n\nYet those close government ties aren\u2019t in and of themselves particularly suspicious, according to Glenn O\u2019Donnell, a vice president and research director with Forrester.\n\u201cThat\u2019s just the way you do business in China \u2013 that doesn\u2019t meant that these companies are arms of Chinese-government intelligence agencies,\u201d he said.\nIt\u2019s also worth remembering that no cut-and-dried proof that Huawei has engaged in any kind of direct espionage on behalf of China\u2019s government has ever been made public, and experts agree that the issue is much more about reputation than fact. Yet most say they\u2019d be uncomfortable letting important packets touch the company\u2019s hardware.\n\n\n \n\n\nFor businesses operating solely in the U.S., this is largely a non-issue. Huawei\u2019s profile in American service-provider networks is small and shrinking fast. Market share research from the Dell\u2019Oro Group shows that the company\u2019s piece of the North American pie amounts to between 1 percent and 2 percent as of 2018, and Gartner senior principal analyst Bill Menezes said that it\u2019s mostly found in small, rural carriers.\n\n\n \n\n\n\u201cIt\u2019s kind of a non-event in the U.S.,\u201d he said, adding that the company\u2019s handsets hadn\u2019t gained much traction in North America, either.\nMulti-nationals beware\nMulti-national companies, however, should worry at least a little. Huawei\u2019s business strategy has been to offer aggressively low prices, making them more attractive to entities trying to build networks in the developing world, where budgets for such projects can be thin. Farpoint Group principal Craig Mathias said that, even before the current regulatory action, U.S. anti-dumping laws (which bar companies from selling products at less than cost, among other things) hamstrung the company\u2019s ability to build a presence in the carrier marketplace.\nAnyone designing a network that relies on public mobile networks in countries where Huawei gear may have been used needs to delve into the supply chain for those networks, to discover who\u2019s making the carrier equipment that underpins them.\n\u201cJust because you\u2019re using Cisco in your data center doesn\u2019t mean that you\u2019re insulated from the impact of Chinese technology,\u201d said O'Donnell.\nCompanies will have different levels of risk tolerance, of course, but those faced with the prospect of relying on carrier networks built on technology they don\u2019t quite trust will have a tough decision to make.\nMenezes suggests that alternatives like satellite technology have their own headaches, but can be an option to avoid the use of untrusted networks. Language in service provider contracts can bar problematic equipment from being used anywhere in the stack, but businesses need to have a way to verify that those contracts are being followed.\nGiven the global nature of the technology industry, U.S. pressure seems likely to hit Huawei\u2019s sales hard, particularly as major partners like ARM, Supermicro and even the likes of Google cut ties with the company. Mathias said that, while the company\u2019s technology base is solid and the equipment is priced to move, the controversy is likely to badly damage Huawei\u2019s reputation.\n\u201cHuawei\u2019s definitely an innovator, and they definitely know how to build this kind of complex system, but if people in the U.S. are suspicious, nobody\u2019s going to buy them,\u201d he said.