To BYOD or not to BYOD? The Risks When You Bring Your Own Device to Work

The debate surrounding whether as an employee you should be encouraged to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work rumbles on. But is this trend of allowing workers to use their own devices one of the more employee friendly and efficiency-boosting measures, or is it the largest security risk your company could potentially face?

We’ve compiled a list of pros and cons to help you decide:

Pros

Increased productivity and flexibility

While workers used to differentiate between their work and personal devices, the merging of the two enables the freedom to work wherever you like. Long commutes, or travelling time between appointments, can immediately become more useful, with up to date information shared in real time and immediately addressed.

Furthermore, with the advancement of technology such as iPads or tablets, there are very few operations that require a laptop. With this is mind, productivity becomes streamlined and accelerated; efficiency facilitated and maximised.

Better use of resources

With employees supplying their own equipment, company resources can be reallocated elsewhere. When you begin to consider the purchase and maintenance cost devices purchased by the company, it can quickly add up. An American survey found that by implementing a BYOD programme, businesses were saving an average of $80 per month, per employee. That’s a considerable amount of money that could be better placed growing the company and improving the workplace.

Additionally, the consumerisation of IT means that consumers are often more immediate recipients of the most innovative technology. Therefore, not only are companies saving money, they are in many cases benefitting from more advanced equipment.

Employee satisfaction

While at first it may seem unfair to ask employees to supply their own devices to complete work responsibilities, studies have shown that workers generally prefer it. They can then use the devices they are comfortable with, that they have researched and that best suits them. If you’re a Mac person forced to use a Windows computer, or an Android advocator on an iPhone, you’ll understand the value in choosing your own tech.

Not only that, but employees are likely to make more regular upgrades – not only on their software, but hardware too. This means that companies are supported by the most recent features and capabilities.

Cons

Security and Privacy

Data protection has become the primary concern for businesses in recent years. Implementing a programme that allows employees to connect to a company server and access company information outside of work raises many concerns. Firstly, there is no certainty that the device is secure. If the device is lost, stolen, or infected with invasive malware, then the data it stores, or can access, immediately becomes at risk.

Secondly, when an employee leaves a company, be it voluntarily or otherwise, they take that device with them. Businesses will, therefore, need to prepare a process for how to protect the confidential information of their clients, leading to questions as to how to strike the balance between employee privacy and data protection.

Control of Use

When work and play are merged on one device, it’s hard to keep them separated – no one is immune to the distraction. Replying to a message seems harmless, but when you start to calculate all the small distractions (checking personal emails, taking a quick phone call, booking tickets online, etc.) workers’ productivity quickly suffers.

Cost

Despite budget being one of the attractive features of a BYOD programme, it’s important to understand the hidden costs. Businesses will need to develop policies that protect their data, which will involve both time and monetary resource. Employee training will be necessary to promote what is acceptable use of a device, and a mobile management tool may need to be developed so that company applications will function on different devices. While many of these costs are one-off, it is important to consider what the overall sum will be.

Overall, the success of a BYOD programme will depend on the nature of the business you run. Some companies will find it extremely beneficial, while others will not fit the criteria. Consider the above, and if you would like any more advice or guidance, we would be happy to help.

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