BYOD – if you’re not familiar with the term, you soon will be. BYOD (bring-your-own-device) is one of the biggest trends sweeping the employment landscape today and is causing some of the biggest headaches for IT decision makers. Employees are becoming more accustomed to having newer technologies at their fingertips due to increasing smartphone and tablet use. Because of this, many of these employees want the choice of using these same technologies in the workplace.
Having BYOD policies can provide many advantages for both organizations and employees, but some concerns can also come with these benefits.
1) Cost savings-There are still many arguments claiming BYOD does and doesn’t save money for organizations. Currently 60% of organizations that claim to have some sort of BYOD policy still purchase the device for employees and also pay the monthly network fees associated with the devices. Because of this, organizations are not as likely to see a major cost savings as a result of BYOD. If organizations adopt a true BYOD policy that requires employees to purchase their own device in order to use it for work, they will be much more likely to realize cost savings from the policy.
2) Increased Flexibility -Allowing workers to bring their own devices into the workplace can drastically increase workplace flexibility and worker productivity. For organizations that still utilize desktop computers, a BYOD policy would allow for workers to work remotely with little effort. If certain employees travel for work, they won’t be required to haul along multiple devices to satisfy their personal and work needs because they will have everything they need in one device.
3) Increased Productivity- Because workers will always have their device with them, whether it be at work or at home, they will be more available and be able to continue their work seamlessly no matter where they are. If an employee needs to leave work early for a doctor’s appointment or a child’s soccer game, they will be able to continue their work at home instead of stopping once they leave the office. Workers will no longer need to save files on flash drives or e-mail work to themselves because they will constantly have access to all resources they are used to in the workplace. Eliminating barriers between home and work will allow employees access to all necessary information and can lead to increased work productivity as a result.
4) Attractiveness to job seekers– Having an organizational BYOD policy can potentially lead to job prospects choosing your company over another. According to one study, 44% of job hunters find an offer more attractive if the employer allows them to use their own devices in some way. A defined BYOD policy can be a big selling point when trying to hire top talent and give organizations a hiring advantage over their competition.
1) Data Security-This could be the biggest worry organizations have about implementing a BYOD system. Letting employees use their own devices for work purposes can lead to pertinent company data being compromised. The problem IT decision makers are encountering is trying to find the best method to allow users to access all data necessary while keeping that data safe and secure. Since BYOD is a relatively new concept for organizations, there isn’t a clear-cut best policy or practice for maintaining organizational data security. Organizations are beginning to establish guidelines and policies to better manage BYOD security, but determining which is best for the organization may incur unwanted costs.
2) Cost- Yes we did mention earlier that BYOD could be a cost savings for organizations, but for the 60% of organizations that still purchase the devices for the employees it can actually be more costly. Having to pay for the device and also the data plans that go along with the devices can actually raise the cost for the organization. Also, trying to implement guidelines and security for the devices can end up costing the organization more than they originally planned for when they implemented the BYOD system.
3) Privacy-Most employees are onboard with the idea of bringing their own device for work purposes, but many of them worry about their own privacy. The computer they use for work will also be the same computer they surf the web with or use to log into Facebook and Twitter. Because of this, employees are wary about organizations being able to “spy” on them and have access to their personal passwords, websites, and information.
4) What happens when an employee leaves?- Since employees would be using their own devices, organizations worry about retrieving all company data and information if the employee were to quit or get fired. One commonality among organizations is educating employees and having them sign official BYOD policy forms outlining what employees can and can’t do on their own devices. Also, most organizations choose to only allow company related information to be saved and edited on their own servers, or require employees to use a secure cloud based sharing software such as Dropbox to share and edit documents.
Currently, over half of the workforce is already utilizing their own device in the workplace in some way. Although some organizations may still be shying away from BYOD because of the uncertain nature of such policies, they will soon realize how necessary it is to address BYOD policies and concerns throughout their employee base. For most organizational decision makers, adopting official BYOD strategies and guidelines isn’t a matter of if – it’s when.