Chances are your employees are already using their own devices at work, whether you have a BYOD policy or not. Officially adopting BYOD could help your company save money, meet legislative requirements and keep employees happy - but there are inherent risks.
So, are the risks worth it? I explore the pros and cons of BYOD.
Cutting expenditure on corporate phones and portable devices can present big savings. BYOD can also mean more employees have access to work outside of the office and outside of regular office hours. When BYOD is part of a broader cloud and mobile strategy, staff can use their device to work in the cloud. The net result? Lower infrastructure costs and greater productivity.
Expert’s Tip: to get the most out of your BYOD program, don’t limit access to email and basic communications. There are many more applications that can drive BYOD efficiency, such as time sheets, site check-in/check-out, and employee self-service applications.
In Australia, employees have had the right to request flexible working from their employer since June 2014. BYOD policies and programs can help employers to satisfy their staff’s flexible working expectations. And when employees are able to use a device of their own choosing, it’s more enjoyable than being forced to use a corporate-issued device. This is good for business because happier workers are more productive. Without BYOD, employees may juggle two or more devices: one corporate issue, and at least one of their own. Adopting BYOD means employees are more likely to be carrying a device they can also work from.
Companies usually save on the cost of the device but you’ll need to determine how to pay or share the costs of BYOD voice and data plans. This can mean paying only for business-related calls and reimbursing a fixed percentage of data usage, or reimbursing a fixed amount of both voice and data costs. Using corporate payment plans can cut total costs too.
Having the freedom of BYOD complicates user support— your tech team needs to be familiar with all the devices used in your organisation. You can manage this by allowing staff to select their preferred device from a short list of options, rather than giving staff complete freedom of choice.
The biggest BYOD risk by far is to your security. BYOD means company information is being carried around on personal devices. This is something to be considered and managed carefully. If you’re planning to adopt BYOD, you’ll need to talk to an expert about improving your operational and technical security. Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools including virus protection and configuration management are essential. BYOD also supports the use of secondary verification (where authentication goes beyond username and password). The good news is that the available security features and systems are improving as BYOD gains in popularity.
When BYOD is managed properly, the potential rewards far outweigh the risks. This explains why BYOD is fast becoming the norm in successful private enterprises. This is a trend you shouldn’t ignore.
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