The Business Basics of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
By Doug MacKay - January 28, 2019
Few acronyms have simpler definitions than Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). This acronym is essentially exactly what it sounds like and this tech trend is sweeping through offices and revolutionizing how businesses function.
BYOD lets employees use their own personal devices in the workplace versus company-provided gear. This can include smartphones, laptops, PCs, tablets, or any other electronic device needed for a person’s job. While many offices have been hesitant in the past, the convenience and comfort of BYOD brings a plethora of pros that are difficult to pass up.
BYOD Breeds Big Benefits
Allowing employees to bring their own devices not only makes them happy, it’s a win for you too. Here’s why:
- Lower operating costs: When employees bring in their own devices, your business saves big on equipment expenses. Some companies do offer reimbursement of data-related charges or specific software and still save a significant amount of money that can then be allocated elsewhere. Offices can also cut down on cost and concern regarding the latest technology and constant updates as those are up to the device owner and what he or she wants or needs.
- Employee satisfaction: Demand for BYOD may have originated with Millennials, but the practice serves all employees by increasing mobility, flexibility, and ease of use.
- Increased productivity: Businesses with some type of BYOD program see a spike in employee morale and efficiency. Instead of spending valuable work hours trying to figure out new office tech, employees are able to use the same tools they’ve been working with for years, tools they’re familiar with, tools they’re comfortable with. In fact, a CITO Research report found that 53 percent of all workers claimed they’re more productive when they have their own devices.
But What’s Bad About It
The successful implementation of BYOD can certainly cultivate business growth and foster a happy workplace, the ideal scenario for any business. But there are a couple minor challenges you should prepare for if you’re new to BYOD.
- Security: This is perhaps the biggest risk to look out for when introducing BYOD. Protection against data loss or leakage is a top priority and safeguards like antivirus software, anti-malware, and firewalls must be put in place. Educating employees on unsecured Wi-Fi networks and the threat of hacking is also a good idea.
- Lost or stolen devices: In order to reduce the chance of someone gaining access to sensitive company information if a personal device is misplaced or taken, outline steps to make sure every employee takes precautions by using encryption methods and regularly changing (strong) passwords and passcodes.
- Employee termination: If an employee is let go or chooses to leave your company, you will want to make sure there are rules and regulations that prevent them from accessing information after employment ends.
Prep With a Policy
Hosted virtual desktops, remote wipe capabilities, and training programs are ways to reduce the chances of negative BYOD side effects, but a BYOD policy is a crucial element for successful implementation. An effective policy should cover these sections in depth.
- Acceptable uses and applications;
- Authorized devices and support (brands, operating systems, and what issues IT will handle);
- Charges the company will or will not reimburse;
- Security guidelines and requirements;
- Risks and liabilities.
Whether the potential positive impacts of introducing BYOD to your office has piqued your interest, or if you already have employees trying to sway you, start planning today. Or, reevaluate the current process in place to make sure it still suits your business. Every company and work environment is different, so start by assessing your needs, risks, and benefits. Survey what devices employees are currently using and which ones they would want to use.
Reach out to an IT Support Provider about what management options are available and what solutions can scale with your business as it grows.Take your time to develop a solid BYOD strategy that will please your employees, increase profitability, and secure success.