Joseph Thomas

The way we conduct business is fundamentally changing, pioneered by the “Bring Your Own Device” phenomenon. More employees than ever before are using their personal devices, such as Apple’s latest iPad, for or at work. For small businesses, BYOD offers unprecedented opportunity, cost savings and challenges.

According to the latest study by NewsFactor, 23 percent of people who purchased Apple’s iPad 3 indicated they planned to use their newfound gadget for work-related purposes. In another study, over three quarters of Information Technology leaders noted BYOD isn’t a “fad” and could be “somewhat” to “extremely” beneficial for their organizations.

Nonetheless, information security remains the top concern with regard to BYOD. As new devices enter the marketplace, scalability and flexibility is critical. Supporting such a broad array of hardware remains problematic. However, given small businesses have the ability to be more nimble – and agile – than large entities, they reap the benefits, too.

According to Matthew Ackerson, founder of Saber Blast, small business owners should jump at the chance to embrace BYOD, given it is a “natural, evolutionary change.” Many owners are worried employees will slack off playing Tetris all day, which simply isn’t the case. Rather, employees are more productive, often during times they wouldn’t otherwise work, such as on the train, while laying in bed, or on vacation.

Cost Savings

The days of employer-issued smartphones are quickly fading as convergence rises. More employees are mixing their personal – and professional – lives, both on and offline. Leverage this new paradigm to increase productivity and flexibility, while reducing your operational expenditures.

Google Apps for Business in lieu of MS Exchange

Most employees want to check their email while on the go, and it is commonplace within the greater business community. Minimize costs by opting for Google’s free platform, which offers many of the same benefits as MS Exchange, but for a fraction of the cost.

VoIP and virtual communications

Traditional telephone lines and complex PBX systems are costly given their features. Most, if not all, of your telephony can be achieved using a mixture of company-issued laptops and employee devices. Use Skype or Google Talk, for instance, for quick calls and Google+ Hangouts to facilitate remote meetings.

Cloud-Based rather than dedicated services

The olden days of logging onto a virtual private network to access services are fading. Rather, small business owners are finding success using cloud-based solutions to meet their needs. As such, employees can access critical systems anywhere, anytime. Plus, it’s then up to the vendor to manage security compliance and create mobile apps.

The 24/7 Employee

With BYOD and the aforementioned flexibility employees are often glued to their mobile devices 24/7. Small businesses, especially startups, benefit from this new breed of innocent “workaholics.” The productivity gains clearly offset the relatively low costs associated with BYOD for small businesses.

This article is part of the Drive Your Business Forward series. Check out for more tips and advice on how to succeed as a small business. This series is supported by Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.