Internet-enabled devices have experienced rapid proliferation around the globe. Employees are increasingly demanding the freedom and ability to connect from any device and communicate from anywhere. You’ve probably read that a whopping 90% of U.S. employees use their personal smartphone to carry out official tasks. You also must have heard how employees who possess a smartphone tend to regularly check email even beyond their working hours. Even if they are on sick leave, employees do log into their official email accounts to stay updated. As a result, businesses have seen an opportunity in instituting an organisation-wide Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.
What is BYOD and Why Should We Adopt It?
Instead of issuing a mobile device, many organisations allow their employees to bring their own smartphones or tablets and use them at the office. This BYOD concept was introduced in 2009 and has since completely revolutionised practices across various industries. There are plenty of benefits to be gained from adopting the BYOD policy.
1. Purchasing and Maintenance
If you’re letting the workforce use their personal devices, your company will save a fortune not having to buy a mobile device for every employee. Moreover, it would reduce, if not entirely eliminate, the resources and time required for maintenance (repairing hardware, upgrading software) of an entire fleet of corporate devices. Any employee who owns a device will be responsible for procuring and maintaining their device. In 2011, more than 500 employees signed up to use their personal BlackBerrys at Colgate-Palmolive. The conglomerate saved $1 million per year, which would have been the license fee that Research in Motion (BlackBerry’s manufacturer) requires for corporate ownership.
2. Training and Employee Satisfaction
To get your workforce to adopt specialised software or hardware en masse can be extremely difficult. However, if employees are using their own devices, they are already be comfortable using them and will definitely be utilising them on an everyday basis. Therefore, “device training” would be out of the picture. If employees are allowed to use a device they have a personally chosen, as opposed to one selected by the IT department, they feel increasingly satisfied. A mobile device is more important than morning coffee for 83% users, according to a research. Furthermore, when work can be carried out from personal devices, employees don’t have to carry multiple devices around.
3. Call/Data Plan Savings
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission noticed its excessive payments for cell phone services it offered to its employees. Many employees wouldn’t even use the cell phones the company had provided and instead preferred using their personal devices. When they implemented a BYOD policy, employees could access corporate email, tasks, calendars and contacts on their own phones. The employees would also strictly monitor their data usage and call durations through applications and then seek reimbursements for work specific calls or internet use. This brought down a large chunk of costs incurred for phone services by the organisation
Does It Have Limitations?
While BYOD can be extremely empowering for employees and beneficial for the organisation, it certainly has its disadvantages:
- Workers may simply forget to bring their chargers or devices, altogether. Lack of device or no battery can certainly put a damper on productivity.
- Some employees may find affording devices out of question.
- There is a high possibility of workers being distracted while working on their personal devices.
- You cannot ensure that applications and tools will perform smoothly across all platforms.
Where Does It Really Go Wrong?
Its darkest side lies in the threat it poses to an organisation’s security. A diverse range of devices have been granted access to corporate resources. This can certainly undermine the IT department’s meticulously crafted security measures. An organisation can have the following security concerns:
- An authorised device can be in the hands of an unauthorised user who has potential access to the corporate network.
- Sensitive data can be accessed and saved on an unsecured mobile device.
- Malware can infect an employee’s personal device and then multiply within the corporate network.
- A worker’s private information can be accessed.
- Passwords and devices are susceptible to being lost, stolen or otherwise compromised.
Is It Worth It?
It is certainly possible to create a BYOD strategy for your organisation that is hassle-free, actually works and is universally helpful. Begin by understanding what to prioritise. The key to a great strategy is a company’s knowledge of what to actually protect. Your strategy should allow your employees to choose whatever device they prefer and customise it accordingly.
Nevertheless, as BYOD creates multiple point of access, remember to fiercely guard your intellectual property. Design a strategy that protects corporate data, not the applications or devices themselves. Focus on audits, compliance and loss prevention. As a result, you will benefit from an increase in earnings while enabling productivity among employees.