By Sharon Kauffman
In recent years BYOD, which stands for “bring your own device,” has rapidly grown in popularity amongst eager, tech-savvy personnel and forward-thinking directors looking to make their enterprise more cost-effective and efficient. With 71% of small businesses already implementing BYOD policies, we break down the pros and cons of this modern trend so that you can make an informed decision as to whether it is right for your company.
For small businesses in particular, the costs involved in purchasing and setting up fully-equipped employee workstations can prove to be a financial burden. And, as your business continues to develop, so too will your need to grow your IT equipment infrastructure. As such, one of the main arguments in favor of BYOD is that small businesses may be able to significantly reduce expenditure by allowing employees to work from their own devices, thus effectively shifting the cost burden onto them. Moreover, people are more inclined to take good care of and regularly update devices they own, thus also eliminating any costs associated with maintaining and repairing business-owned devices.
Familiarity and Efficiency
By giving employees the opportunity to work from devices they are already accustomed to, you reduce the time and resources needed to train them in using new equipment, thus allowing for greater efficiency.
Many companies have also found that because employees have greater flexibility in where and when they work, their output increases as a result. By easily allowing them to work from their personal devices, employees will no longer need additional tools to access documents and emails, thus they may be more likely to continue working on projects after-hours.
Attract Millennial Talent
Soon, the majority of your employees will consist of millennials and the generations that proceed them, meaning that your workforce will be as digitally connected as ever. Studies have shown that the younger generation certainly prefer working from their own personal devices, so by advertising that you are open-minded to BYOD, you are showing yourself to be a modern company and are increasing your chances of attracting and keeping the best young talent.
Understandably, the biggest concern regarding BYOD is that of data security. When you have several users all handling and distributing (either unintentionally or not) business or customer data, you are potentially opening yourself up to a whole host of security issues. What if an employee had their device stolen? There is a very large market out there for people acquiring data from lost/stolen devices.
Furthermore, the potential damage caused by a device infected with viruses or other harmful malware and attached to your company network could prove detrimental to any business, let alone a small one.
Policies and Training
To combat any security-related issues, your business will absolutely need to come up with clearly defined policies and practices which govern the use of BYOD. Carefully creating these and then educating employees on the risks associated with the program will, of course, require lots of extra time and resources.
While BYOD might seem like an attractive work prospect to begin with, the idea becomes controversial when the notion of confidentiality comes into play. Surely not all your staff would be happy with the idea of being told what constitutes ‘acceptable use’ when it comes to their own devices.
Likewise, when introducing a BYOD policy, it would be right to include a requirement to retrieve company data from employee devices once they leave. However, would all employees be comfortable with IT departments having access to their phones for this matter? The answer is probably not – some may feel as though it is an invasion of their privacy.
As such, for a BYOD policy to be truly effective, employers need to carefully balance their very real security concerns with the privacy rights of staff, which may prove difficult in reality.
Still thinking about BYOD? Make sure you have a plan.
The security issues that could arise with the adoption of a company-wide BYOD scheme may justifiably be enough to dissuade you, but there are countless companies out there who have managed to successfully implement the scheme with no issues. What these businesses all have in common is a robust company policy on acceptable use of personal devices in the workplace, put in place beforehand in order to minimise the risks associated with it.