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Mobility, BYOD And Social Media Use On The Rise For SMBs

ATLANTA, June 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cbeyond Inc, (Nasdaq:CBEY), the technology ally to small and mid-sized businesses, recently conducted the Summer 2013 Cbeyond Business Leader Snapshot™ ,  a blind survey of 711 executives who run a business with 1-250 employees. Released during National Small Business Week, the Snapshot provides insight into the most important business and technology issues facing small and mid-sized businesses. The 2013 Summer issue is the second edition of the survey which was first launched December 2012. Complete 2013 survey findings are available at http://go.cbeyond.com/Business-Leader-Snapshot-Summer-2013.html .

Business Without Boundaries

Multiple findings highlighted the need for anytime, anywhere connection, with mobile services growing in importance among SMB leaders and surpassing—for the first time—Applications in importance. Of the respondents, 42 percent said operating their business without mobile services would be a major challenge, while 34 percent said their businesses could not survive without mobile services.

Nearly half (41 percent) of SMB leaders vacation less than twice a year, with 18 percent taking no vacation at all. Naturally, the ability to work remotely remains top of mind—79 percent consider the ability to work remotely when on vacation important while 89 percent consider working remotely on a regular basis as important.

While most business leaders have taken steps to ensure the security of their business computers and information, just under a third (32 percent) are unsure or do not believe their information is adequately protected. More than a fifth of respondents (22 percent) stated they have developed a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy to address data access through personal devices such as tablets and smart phones among others.

Additionally, when it comes to growing their businesses, almost half (47 percent) of business leaders surveyed consider social media critical to their growth (including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ etc.), with social mobile (Foursquare, Scoutmob, Spotify, Googlemaps, etc.) registering at 22 percent.

Business Leader 2013 Technology Outlook

Other findings showed technology spending remains strong for SMB leaders. Nearly five times as many (59 percent) expect an increase in technology spending in 2013 compared to those expecting a decrease (13 percent).

Small business leaders also expect technology to play a major role in their businesses in 2013.  The specific technologies business leaders said would be very or somewhat important to them in the coming year ranked as follows:

  • 95 percent network access (high-speed, always-on Internet access)
  • 93 percent mobile services
  • 92 percent desktop/laptop management (desktop support, software/antivirus maintenance)
  • 83 percent applications (security, productivity and collaboration software)
  • 74 percent enterprise-grade voice and broadband services
  • 70 percent cloud services

Serving customers (65 percent) and data security (66 percent) ranked as equally important to business leaders, underscoring the need for a reliable, high bandwidth connection and secure data storage

The following cloud services remain critical to SMB leaders:

  • 39 percent online backup
  • 35 percent company email
  • 32 percent file sharing

When asked about access to credit, 65 percent of business leaders surveyed say accessing low interest loans remains a challenge with fewer than one in 10 (7 percent) saying they have good prospects to raise such loans to expand their business.

"Cbeyond remains committed to understanding our customers' needs and the many factors impacting their businesses," said Paul Carmody, chief marketing officer at Cbeyond. "The 2013 findings continue to shed light on the business and economic issues impacting American small and mid-sized businesses today, as reflected through regional diversity and the mix of B2B and B2C company leaders represented in our survey. Most interestingly, rather than accepting restrictions, SMBs are increasingly adopting technology and communication solutions – such as mobility and consumer-driven social media – that enable them to break free of traditional boundaries in order to compete and remain successful."

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