Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) is part of a larger set of acronyms disrupting the IT chain of command. Akin to BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) and BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone), BYOD encompasses any policy allowing employees to use personal gadgets to access corporate data.
No longer a fad, ZDNET reports nearly three-quarters of companies have embraced this trend — or has plans to do so soon. It certainly has its advantages, which we will get into soon enough, but it’s not without its drawbacks.
The Benefits of BYOD: Long-term Cost Savings, Increased Productivity, & Employee Satisfaction
With access to email, documents, and other information from their very own iPhone 7 and MacBook, the average BYOD-er no longer requires a company Blackberry or PC to work on projects, nor do they need to wait until the typical 9–5 to shoot off an email or submit a proposal.
Improved productivity isn’t the only advantage of BYOD in the workplace. It lets employers sidestep the issue of providing company hardware, so they can break free from the ceaseless (and expensive) task of servicing and upgrading tech. In practice, it means your team is using better equipment as they opt-in for an upgrade to the iPhone 8 or MacBook Pro Retina at a rate far quicker than any IT department could match.
As a result, BYOD-ers score higher in levels of job satisfaction, since they’re given the flexibility to work on their own terms with the equipment they want.
Just think — the Apple fan in the office who grumbles whenever they touch a company PC will be happier and more industrious when they’re allowed to work away on their self-bought MacBook Pro Retina.
The Drawbacks to BYOD: Implementation Costs, Branding, & Security Concern
The initial cost of implementing BYOD policies can be expensive. In the past, your IT department had control over the choice of hardware and its integration into the more extensive network of devices. For the sake of simplicity, they typically relied on just one platform.
In the age of BYOD, the time of a singular platform is over, and IT can struggle to accommodate a variety of operating systems. As it can be a time-intensive, expensive endeavour outright, you’ll have to weigh the cost of implementing many platforms versus the long-term savings in IT and productivity. According to a Cisco study, BYOD policies save roughly $350 per employee per year. In some cases, it can work out to as much as $1,300 per employee per year.
There is also the issue of branding for employees who work remotely. Employees are representing the company with mismatched devices, encompassing all gadgets under the umbrella of Apple and PC’s catalogue. There lacks consistency in the image they present as they work from Androids, iPhones, Dell XPS, and MacBooks.
Many of them look worse for wear when they moonlight as personal devices. Compared to providing individual devices, it’s a small cost to outfit the office with tailor-made vinyl skins for each of their devices. You won’t even have to shop from individual online stores to get a unified and protected look for your employees, as skin providers offer decals for Android, iPhone, Mac & PC, including the best iPhone 7 skins.
An iPhone skin is a simple matter compared to solving the security threat inherent in BYOD policy. The most significant risk it poses is the accidental exposure of confidential material. While a company PC is limited to the four walls of their office, a personal MacBook has no restrictions. They can bring it anywhere they like and connect it to unprotected networks. An employee may accidentally leave their laptop behind at a coffee shop or have their phone stolen.
Without appropriate security measures, these scenarios are guaranteed to leak intellectual property and financial information.Symantec, the cybersecurity firm behind Norton Anti-Virus, conducted the Honey Stick Project, wherein they released unprotected phones into the public to see if and how they would be accessed. Symantec reported 63% of phones’ corporate apps and data (including confidential HR cases, email, admin apps, and salaries) were accessed.
Password protection is only just the first step in BYOD security. IT needs a BYOD subcommittee to create and enact appropriate policies that mandate data encryption and remote device and app management, in addition to simple passwords. Staff education is also a necessary step towards securing any BYOD policy, so ensure each employee understands the responsibilities of bringing their own device to work.
Though a growing trend that’s revolutionizing the workplace, BYOD need special consideration before it’s implemented in your office. Weigh the pros and cons carefully to make sure it’s the right fit for your enterprise, and you can make this tech movement work for you.