As part of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative, more and more companies are encouraging employees to utilise their personal devices to access business data. What is BYOD and what are its advantages?
This is part of the growing trend, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), which has come to refer to numerous other initiatives, including Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP), Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) and Bring Your Own PC (BYOPC) – all of which have evolved to liberate the workforce through IT consumption.
Bringing with it a handful of challenges for many companies, BYOD is expected to be more prevalent in the years ahead.
Bring Your Own Device is an initiative created to define a situation where the workforce is given the freedom to use their own mobile device in the workplace.
As usage of tablets and smartphones comes to businesses, employees are starting to prefer to use their personal devices at work because they think that their applications are necessary to get tasks and assignments done. Come to think of it, bringing their own devices to work is also more practical and convenient as opposed to having to lug around several devices for personal and business use.
By being able to bring and use their personal devices instead of an organisation’s, employees are able to enjoy the familiarity and comfort that they have with their own tablets, phones, or laptops.
The driving force behind BYOD is the self-sufficiency of IT among employees who already have the technology resources necessary to complete the job. Oftentimes, these devices are newer and more advanced than the software and hardware equipment deployed by many companies.
While it’s true that IT departments can easily catch up with new technology and refuse the idea of BYOD, there are actually far more key benefits to operating a BYOD strategy.
Why BYOD is important
The Bring Your Own Device trend has produced critical challenges for organisations, and at the same time, new opportunities as it has allowed for better and easier-to-manage solutions for both companies and employees. Below, we enumerate several reasons why embracing BYOD is important.
1. Productivity gains
An employee’s comfort level and productivity have a direct positive correlation. Employees who utilise familiar devices are likely to experience increased productivity because they are comfortable and already familiar with the device’s functions.
Being able to use their personal phones and tablets also allows them to work offsite without the need to switch from one device to another, making it faster and more convenient for them to accomplish their tasks.
2. Cost savings
Cost cutting is one of the key considerations that organisations look at when strategising and implementing new policies. With BYOD, not only do companies experience increased productivity, but also great savings in terms of the costs of equipment. As soon as a BYOD policy is implemented, businesses would be able to reduce the expenses in the management and maintenance of company assets.
3. Employee satisfaction
When employees are given the privilege to bring their own set of devices at work, they are more likely to be satisfied at some level.
For most employees the preference of using their personal devices to access company data is seen as a perk more than anything. When you implement BYOD, it shows that the organisation is technically enabled and progressive. It is also more rewarding for employees, especially when the company reimburses them for using their own device.
4. Increased Employee Loyalty
Implementing BYOD in the workplace lets your employees feel empowered and more in control in their job, potentially increasing their loyalty to the company.
5. Ease of Transition
Another reason why BYOD is indispensable to businesses is because it allows organisations to manage network access without interfering with a mobile device. With good management of BYOD, you are able to create a seamless transition of network access among incoming and outgoing employees. In other words, you can create and terminate employee access with ease.
Points to ponder
The importance and advantages of BYOD are clear: Beyond its potential to save hardware costs, the practice promotes employee productivity, satisfaction and loyalty. For IT departments, however, the options available to manage different mobile devices can be somewhat confusing and daunting, especially with the issue of data loss and leakage. In order for the BYOD policy to succeed, organisations must weigh hardware and software for device management, custom mobile applications, wireless access points, and network access control.
Shaun Smith, technology practice director at Xceed Group, also suggests carrying out a full risk assessment and putting in place appropriate mitigations where any device stores or accesses data. “This could include anti-malware, encryption, passcodes, remote wipe, preventing jailbreaking, and sandboxing,” he adds.
According to Smith, investing in a solution that provides Blackberry Enterprise System (BES)-like functionality to Android and Apple devices would further develop a BYOD policy.
The Bring Your Own Device trend is not only about letting smartphones, tablets, laptops and other personal devices into corporate facilities; it is about utilising these individually owned gadgets to access the IT resources and data of the enterprise. This means IT departments need to support a mix of platforms and devices while managing the digital workspace within the set regulation parameters of the corporation.
Article originally printed at www.theservicemanager.com.