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SMALL BUSINESS BRIEFING

Risks as well as rewards in BYOD trend Add to ...

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As the BYOD (bring your own device) to work movement continues to gain momentum, the growing number of companies jumping on the bandwagon are discovering risks along with the rewards, reports The Washington Post.

Allowing employees to bring their own tech devices to the office – something that particularly appeals to younger workers and can be of particular interest to small businesses – offers the benefits of lower, maybe even no, technology purchase costs, along with allowing employees to use devices with which they are already familiar, reducing the need for training.

But along with those advantages come some risks, the piece points out. Technical compatibility is one, with many versions of operating systems and productivity software.

As well, security poses another big risk, with concerns about passwords, the whereabouts of devices and other things that are not easy to control.

 “In the amount of time that it would take for an employee to realize that a device is missing and call a service provider to disable it, random strangers would be able to access your network and copy your passwords. What would that information be worth to your competition or, worse, to an organized crime syndicate?” the Post piece asks.

As this Tech Republic story indicates, chief information officers are divided over the benefits of higher productivity and lower hardware spending against the risks to corporate information technology security. Its “CIO jury” was evenly split over the question of whether they were encouraging BYOD in their organizations. ZDNet also offers up 10 reasons why BYOD might not work for your organization.

For our own coverage on BYOD, check out a recent four-part Web strategy series on the bring your own device movement. You can find our stories here, here , here and here.

Unlimited time off: a growing retention strategy

Imagine being able to take as much time off whenever you want it off? It’s a dream for some employees but a reality for a growing number working for an increasing  number of companies offering employees unlimited paid vacation, according to a BloombergBusinessWeek story. It’s a tactic aimed at reducing employee stress and retaining employees, the story reports.

It’s happening at companies ranging from electronics retailer Best Buy to financial services firm The Motley Fool, but is especially catching on in Silicon Valley among companies including Netflix, Zynga and a host of smaller startups, the story reports. “This will help us in recruiting and retention of great talent,” the story quotes Dave Gilbert, CEO of SimpleSignal, an Internet calling service that brought it its unlimited time off policy last month.

Ironically, the story points out, some employees “greet the newfound freedom with suspicion,” and take less off, not more, figuring they’ll look better. Evernote’s CEO handled that with an added incentive: It offered $1,000 to anyone taking a week off for a trip, as long as they provided evidence of an airline ticket and reports of how they spent their vacation.

Social entrepreneurs honoured

Michael Ferguson, founder and chief executive officer of Vancouver-based Ayogo Games Inc., Sandrine Faust, director-general of Montreal-based Allô prof, and Johann Olv Kolas, president and CEO of Toronto-based Right to Play International, have received Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Special Citation award for social entrepreneurship.

Ayogo creates games that promote health and wellness. Allô prof is a non-profit organization that supports Quebec elementary and secondary students staying in school by offering free homework help by phone and online, and Right to Play is a global organization that aims to use the power of sport and play to help improve the lives of children in disadvantaged areas.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Startup Weekends ahead

For those who want to get involved in Startup Weekends, the next one takes place in Winnipeg from Aug. 10 to Aug. 12, followed by Startup Weekend Vancouver on Aug. 17 to Aug. 19. The 54-hour events allow entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs to see if they can create the foundations of a new business. They begin with pitches, move through brainstorming, business plan development, prototype creations and end with demonstrations and presentations of potential working startups created over the intense weekend.

Small Business Saturday

Small businesses may want to mark Oct. 20 on their calendars as Canada’s Small Business Saturday. Presented by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Interac, the day is meant to shine the shopping spotlight on small businesses and encourage Canadians to support local companies. A similar initiative has been going on in the United States for the past couple of years, sparked by American Express Co. For more information on Canada’s upcoming Small Business Saturday, including how small businesses can get involved and special offers that will be available from small businesses, click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Is startup jumping the expansion gun?

This week’s Challenge: Just 10 months old, Winnipeg-based sports massage therapy clinic Massage Athletica is thinking of expanding to meet growing demand, but is it moving too quickly?

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Summer vacation eludes many entrepreneurs

While some companies may be bringing unlimited vacation offerings to employees, and t’is the season to hit the docks, many in business for themselves will only dream of beaches as delayed, abbreviated or missed time off is one of the prices many entrepreneurs pay for owning a business, reported a story in June, 2011.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com

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