What is BYOD?
BYOD stand for Bring Your Own Device. The idea of a BYOD environment is that employees are allowed, and even encouraged, to use their own devices to take care of work-related issues. For example, having work email on a smartphone, having apps on a tablet for cloud-based file sharing programs your office uses like Dropbox or Egnyte, or remoting in to a work machine from a personal laptop when working from home. These are all classic examples of BYOD.
All sounds great right? Well, let’s take a close look at the Pros and Cons of BYOD before you make a decision.
Pros of BYOD
Allows for easy teleworking
These days, the big buzz word for businesses is “teleworking”. With all the technologies available, it is very easy for an employee to be just as productive working from outside the office. This means that if something were to happen like a power outage at your office, or a big snowstorm, your company doesn’t actually have to shut down for the day. You can keep running.
Teleworking is also great for people who travel for their jobs. If you have it set up correctly, an employee can work from anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection. (Or, if you want to get really fancy, as long as there is cell phone service.) This also means that you can run a company with employees spread out all over the world.
Minimal cost to the employer
Because teleworking has become such a big part of businesses these days, it is assumed that if a company does not have a BYOD policy, they will provide their employees with devices that can be used for teleworking. Buying multiple laptops and smartphones for employees so that they don’t use their personal devices for work matters can quickly become extremely expensive.
Not to mention that by increasing the amount of teleworking at your company, you cut down on other costs, such as office space, office furniture, office supplies…all these costs can now be transferred to helping your business grow.
Work with multiple types of devices
There are so many different types of devices out there. Of course we all know the big players- Microsoft, Apple, and Android. It wasn’t so long ago that if you had one specific type of device, you have to make sure that all the other equipment you used was that same type, otherwise they wouldn’t work together. But nowadays, there is more crossover. Vendors are realizing that if they want to be successful, they are going to have to make products that work across multiple platforms. However, there will still be rare cases where compatibility issues will come up, so it is a good idea to have uniformnity across devices whenever possible. But, that is difficult since with BYOD, the employee does get to choose their own device.
In general though, what this means for employers is that you don’t have to worry about making sure everyone in your office has the same type of smartphone or laptop. As long as they have something, there should be a way for them to work out of the office, and be just as productive.
Cons of BYOD
Who controls the data?
BYOD can get messy when you are dealing with sensitive company or client information. Many times, employers will feel uncomfortable having employees keep company information and client information on personal devices.
A good way to work around this issue though, is to make sure you have very clear guidelines on where an employee is allowed to store work-related documents on their personal devices. However, you can never really be certain where the data is going to be stored, and you will have to simply trust your employees.
Different types of devices
One difficulty of BYOD is making sure that all the different types of devices that your employees have will work with the different programs. For example, if one of your employees has a Macbook at home, there may be issues getting certain PC-only programs to run on the Mac. Many times you will be able to find a work-around for this problem, an example being that an employee with a Mac laptop at home, could remote in to their PC at work, and that should eliminate any compatability issues. However, there may still be the rare occasion where a work-around is just not possible.
How can you restrict what else happens on those personal devices?
An employee’s personal device is just that- personal. By allowing them to work from their home computers, you are placing a lot of trust in them. The truth is, you don’t know if they are using their personal devices for anything unseemly- like illegal activities. You don’t want your company or client information to get mixed up in that pot. But, being that it is a personal device, the lines become very blurry on what restrictions you are actually allowed to place on a personal computer or device.
BYOD has certainly allowed for many companies to grow at a fast pace by boosting productivity and cutting costs. However, as the lines between personal and business get more blurry, it is more important than ever for a company to be very aware of where their data is, and how it is being managed and used. So as the lines of personal and business become more tangled, the guidelines a company needs to draw for their technology and data need to be clearer than ever before.
What do you think are some Pros and Cons of BYOD? What are some of your BYOD concerns? Let us know in the comments!