If you have been following technology over the past 5 years, I am sure you have noticed a few trends, such as Cloud Computing, 3D printing, wearables, Internet of Things (IoT) and the list goes on. One trend that seems to be adapting to business culture is BYOD. Not to be confused with the just as popular BYOB, BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. It is the IT policy in which employees are encouraged to use their personal devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and even laptops for business usage.
This trend has been around for many years but has become prominent roughly 5 years ago with significant growth ever since, according to most studies. However, some have been stating BYOD as we know it, is fading. Why would an IT policy were employees are encouraged to use their personal devices for business functions that avows to save business money and improves overall productivity be fading?
In this post, we will discuss some of the benefits and challenges associated with BYOD and how it relates to your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros…
The majority of employees would prefer to use the device they are most familiar with. For example, a person who has been using a Mac Book for most of their life would much rather use a Mac in the workplace instead on a PC. Also, most personal devices are newer and more powerful than company issued. These two factors alone can increase employee productivity by at least 60 minutes a week.
Employee Freedom & Satisfaction
Going along the lines of increase productivity, many employees prefer to use the devices they are most comfortable with. Adding to this, employees enjoy the freedom to work anytime from anywhere. When a business allows employees these type of freedom, employees tend to be happy. Happy and satisfied employees lead to overall better productivity.
By providing a stipend for the personal device, whether it is data usage, a standard rebate, or monthly allowance, businesses have been able to reduce their IT cost significantly. Surprising enough, most employees do not mind covering the difference for a more power device. This form of procurement for IT allows a standard to be set for all employee device spending. No longer does IT have to spend their time procuring hardware for employees and replacements when a device breaks.
Based on the few benefits above it seems like a no-brainer for businesses to implement BYOD. However, there are some negatives associated with BYOD that need to be considered beforehand.
The first and most critical to business is security. Allowing employees to access business critical data on their personal devices without the correct security policies and protocols in place is asking for a data breach. IT must take this into consideration before adopting the BYOD trend. In highly regulatory industries such as financial services, healthcare and legal, even the smallest security breach can cause millions of dollars in headaches for the business.
One way IT can eradicate security issues associated with BYOD is by implementing policies and a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. However, two other negatives are arising with this. The first is what employees refer to as Big Brother watching over their shoulder. Not everyone is comfortable allowing IT access to their personal device with their personal photos, emails, applications, etc. Also, many MDM solution requires locations services to be turned on. This type of control is vital in order to encrypt, secure and remotely wipe company confidential data in case of a lost or stolen device.
The second negative is increased service tickets and a boarded spectrum of devices for IT to manage. Since employees are using their own personal devices, the odds of having different OS, applications and overall types of devices increases. IT now has the responsibilities to support and service numerous devices and applications. This burdens the business with more training and burdens IT with a longer time to resolution. An investment in IT in terms of training, staffing and overall management is needed to ensure employees’ devices are supported.
If you consider the above pros and cons, is BYOD really the more productive and cost-effective solution for the business overall? The answers varies depending on who you ask.
From the IT perspective: Most IT executives would say that the BYOD trend as we know it, has caused more headaches than it has relieved. Why? Because of the extra work IT has to do to ensure business data is safe and secure. Also, the added stress of constantly servicing consumer grade devices running business applications may stretch some IT departments thin.
From the employee’s perspective: The general consensus of employees who are utilizing the BYOD trend has been positive. Almost every employee enjoys using their own personal device over a business issued one. They also enjoy the stipend most businesses provide to help cover some of the cost associated with the devices. Add in the bonus of being able to work from anywhere at any time and you will see even more employees preferring BYOD.
How can everyone in the business benefit from BYOD?
Easy! Hire us to handle all of these tasks for you. Not convinced yet? Didn’t think so. Here are a few ways both employees and IT can win when it comes to BYOD.
Implement a VDI or DaaS solution: This can provide a secure virtual desktop to employees which is accessible from any device, anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. Check out our previous blog posts on VDI and DaaS, Understanding the Basics of Hosted Desktops: VDI and DaaS and How to Leverage Hosted Desktops Successfully for more information.
Cloud-based AD services:. Many organization who have implemented BYOD policies have also implemented a cloud-based AD service either through Amazon, Microsoft, or one of the many other third party providers. What does this mean and why does this help? When you are speaking in terms of security and management, AD is at the heart of it all. However, when dealing with BYOD polices and remote users, having a VPN back to your main AD server can be difficult and cause other problems. What some businesses have done is implement a secondary AD forest in the cloud which is separate from their corporate network. Yes, this is not the most ideal solution, but it does provide authentication and centralized management for IT. However, it does not provide employees secure access to corporate file shares. Which brings me to a third solution...
Collaboration tools: such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, etc. These tools allow employees to have access to their files from any device, anytime, anywhere. However, just like solution 2, there are some caveats. Dropbox and similar solutions may not be as secure or compliant as your business would require. This is why we have developed our own solution called Collaboration. This solution provides a secure cloud-based and on-site file share and sync solution that syncs corporate data, allowing users to access and share critical files and folders from their computers and mobile devices all under a business-grade, secure and compliant solution.
These three solutions are only a few of the many ways businesses can utilize BYOD correctly and drive value through their business. We will be posting a follow-up blog titled “Five Ways to Maximize Your Employees’ Mobile Productivity”. This post will provide more information on how to leverage technology correctly in order to improve productivity through mobility.