Bring your own Device (BYOD) Initiatives Explained

Businesses today have to provide their employees with effective mobile working solutions or risk losing their best workers to rival companies. Furthermore, enabling mobile working inevitably increases productivity and efficiency, while giving employees a sense of freedom. There is also the prospect for closer customer interaction as your company’s employees can even work from client sites.

However, as with every new innovation or implementation, there are many factors to consider and one of the most debated, when it comes to mobility, is the bring your own device (BYOD) conundrum.

Let’s have a look at what BYOD initiatives are and some of their respective benefits/pitfalls:

Why BYOD?

BYOD is basically where a company allows its employees to use their own devices for work purposes. It could be something as simple as someone checking their corporate emails on their iPhone or taking photos on their Android device to use at a later time in their work.

Technological advances occur with frightening regularity and it is often difficult for businesses to keep up-to-speed with the latest devices, operating systems and innovations. This is why many enterprise mobility solutions see users utilising their own devices for corporate activities. Employees inevitably want to be using the latest technology when it comes to mobile devices, which is why BYOD initiatives are becoming more popular.

Increased Productivity and Employee Happiness

One theory is that if employees use their own devices and therefore, utilise technology that they are very familiar with, their productivity is inevitably increased. This argument definitely makes sense because there are fewer training requirements and most individuals know their own devices inside out.

Being able to use a personal device for business purposes also improves employee happiness. This is because individuals are allowed to take advantage of their own mobile devices which are often more advanced and of higher spec than company provided ones. Therefore, employees feel happier in their job role because they are taking advantage of newer technology that they inevitably understand.

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Cost Implications

Obviously, there are a number of considerations when it comes to cost and BYOD programmes. Having employees use their own mobile devices means that businesses do not need to spend large amounts of cash on supplying new technology across their workforce. Furthermore, maintenance costs and software licensing are potentially reduced. However, it may be the case that individuals are paid a stipend for using their own device, which is a factor that businesses need to consider when weighing up the cost implications. Lastly, the cost of supporting a wide variety of devices for an IT department may make a BYOD programme a non-starter. With so many new mobile devices appearing on an almost weekly basis, the cost of training to help support them may outweigh the savings realised by not purchasing new hardware.

Security Risks

BYOD initiatives may not be an option for some companies due to the risk involved of having company data accessed on personal devices. Corporately-supplied devices are always protected with complex password strings and often encryption. Personal devices are protected by whatever the person deems necessary, which can be a real headache for IT Security Managers and raises several issues when it comes to loss or theft.

Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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