BYOD (bring your own device) has become a staple in business, due to its benefits toward productivity, flexibility, and cost-cutting measures. People that can use their personal devices at work find their tasks enjoyable and easier to complete, due to the familiarity of their device and platforms.
A survey by Bitglass found that 72% of respondents support BYOD in the workplace.
This widespread adoption has not been without instances of troubles. The introduction of a BYOD policy may have its benefits, but drawbacks arise with physical and data security.
Physical Drawbacks (and Solutions) of BYOD
The physical drawbacks (and their solutions), as you can guess, are problems that arise from the devices used to implement a BYOD policy.
These common issues include:
· Costs passed onto employees to upgrade or adapt devices
· Device disparities between mobile platforms
· Security such as lost devices or mismanagement
The cost that is passed onto the employee may be met with resistance. Employees expect businesses to provide the tools and resources needed to complete their jobs. Plus, there are creeping costs such as physical damage and upgrades. This is solved by providing a reimbursement for devices and including the small items that will protect their devices, such as iPhone 10 screen protectors for the next generation of iPhone, or Android equivalents.
Second is the hardware disparity between the platforms, as some apps are not available across Android, iOS, and other mobile operating systems. Hardware incompatibility is often removed when a business buys workstations all at one time to support their systems, but this isn’t necessarily the case if employees are bringing theirs. A solution is to support cross-compatibility through online services (SaaS) versus apps that may be restricted/slowed due to individual hardware and OS.
Finally, security is a very real problem because employees are now taking their work home. Who knows if they’ll become a victim of theft. There go work and private details of the business! A solution is to limit the access to private business files using encryption and regular backups in the event the employee’s device is damaged beyond repair.
Software Drawbacks (and Solutions) of BYOD
On the other end of the equation is the software drawbacks that arise due to the mix-match array of devices being used at the business and at home.
These problems include:
· IT support
· Data loss
The support for these devices can become a mess for the IT crowd. Since each device and person is different, this means every problem is unique. Some will have a good command on their device, while others are completely dumbfounded, resulting in more downtime, plus tedious handling for the IT department. A solution is to use workshops and training seminars to educate the workforce how to use the apps and platforms coupled with the BYOD environment.
The data loss is the scariest risk, as it’s very easy to lose tons of data from user error or malicious intent. An employee may unknowingly delete important files that do not have backups, resulting in the whole workforce screeching to a halt. Solve this by creating barriers to the information – only provide access to what the person needs – and remove user permissions to completely delete files unless authorized by the higher-ups.
Finally, licensing can become a tricky situation because users may be downloading illegal files and programs to their devices. Your business could become liable for their illegal downloading! Combat this by blocking access to the protocols and sites that allow such things as streaming video, file sharing platforms, and .apk directories.
Finding Balance in Devices and Business
The benefits outweigh the troubles caused by bring your own device policies. The increased productivity and flexibility creates a unique environment for employees to maximize their workflow through familiarity and access to resources. Those troubles that may arise are handled through the appropriate investment in protective solutions, thus eliminating any drawbacks stopping your business from tapping into the immense value that is BYOD.
Still not convinced? Let the benefits of BYOD guide your judgment.