'Smartphone an alternative biz tool for SMBs'

CIOL Bureau
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BANGALORE, INDIA: Smartphone can be an alternative business tool for Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs), as it has eliminated the need to have multiple devices such as a projector, computer and a telephone for conducting normal business and personal transactions, according to Ajay Goel, MD India & SAARC, Symantec.


In an interaction with CIOL, he added that with the introduction of 3G and other key enhancements to mobile applications, there are more avenues and options for a business owner to run business and engage with the customers across multiple platforms.

“Smartphones are increasingly becoming very convenient office devices for small businesses. Since both owners and employees of small and medium businesses (SMBs) are constantly on the go travelling across cities for business purposes, they need to stay connected round the clock,” he said.

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“With a smartphone, they can do everything from emailing, to syncing with desktop computers, managing business calendars, creating and editing documents, spreadsheets etc.”

The trend is further reinforced with the range of inexpensive smartphones that are available in the market today and the introduction of 3G mobile networks which are faster than existing networks.

“With many more companies recognizing the advantages of using social media, podcasting and micro-blogging, the adoption of the smartphone is on the rise in the country. As India continues to move towards a more mobile workforce, the smartphone will become an essential tool that all employees will require,”


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According to Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc., close to 55 per cent of Indian SMBs are currently using smartphones and are set to increase their spending on smartphones to $173 million.

An IDC survey says that the number of worldwide mobile workforce will reach 1 billion by 2011, with Asia Pacific contributing the maximum.


Even though more effective mobile technology creates efficiency for employees, it also creates security and management challenges for small businesses and their customers. The mobile workforce, coupled with growing heterogeneity of enterprise IT environments, increases the threat of losing sensitive data. Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting small businesses and so they must protect their business information regardless of where it resides - whether on a mobile device or in the office.

According to Symantec’s Enterprise Security Survey 2010 — Millennial Mobile Workforce and Data Loss, almost 60 per cent of Indian enterprises feel employee-owned endpoints compromise security, and more than 40 per cent have lost their confidential or proprietary data in the past.

“Small businesses are increasingly relying on mobile technology to run their businesses and improve productivity, but not all have dedicated IT staff to manage their mobile devices. This means that more often than not, small businesses lack the tools to adequately protect the customer and business information that resides on mobile devices from threats and theft or loss,” he said.

Educating employees is the first step in protecting information from malicious attacks. SMBs must help their employees understand what types of threats are out there, and how to prevent them, he said.