BYOD is a business practice you might already use, without even knowing it. It stands for Bring Your Own Device. In other words, allowing your employees to use their own tech devices instead of supplying company-owned equipment. It applies mostly to mobile phones.
The concept of BYOD is yet another example of how technology has changed – and continues to change – the way businesses operate. Technology in general makes businesses more efficient, improves communication, and opens up opportunities. However, technology also brings new headaches to business owners and managers. This applies to BYOD as much as any other technical innovation.
The Positives of BYOD
Let’s start with the benefits of BYOD. The biggest is, of course, cost. When you let your employees use their own mobile phones, you save your business the expense of purchasing the equipment. Even when you factor in the cost of paying employee expenses, you will still save money.
BYOD offers a number of other benefits too:
- Improved productivity – employees are more likely to dip into work outside normal working hours when they use their own phone. For example, to check emails.
- Better device performance – most people upgrade their mobile phones regularly. In many cases, those upgrades would happen more often than you would upgrade company-owned equipment.
- Usability – your employees are comfortable using their own devices, so there is little or no training required. In addition, they don’t have the hassle of carrying two phones – one for work and one for personal use.
BYOD does present challenges to businesses, however. Those challenges don’t necessarily mean you should abandon the practice in favour of company-owned devices. However, it is important you understand the challenges so you can mitigate their effects.
Challenges of BYOD Policies
The main challenge of operating a BYOD policy is security. The vast majority of cases of data breaches, hacks, and stolen information occur because of human error – an individual failing to properly secure the information or account they are responsible for.
You can put technology in place to limit this risk, but you are more restricted when the device used to access the information is owned by the employee. To solve this challenge, you should extend your IT security policies to employee-owned devices so that everyone knows what is expected of them. You should also take time to educate employees on security issues – the importance of having secure passwords, for example, and the importance of not divulging password or login details to anyone.
Another challenge of BYOD policies is compatibility. You can’t be sure that all your employees will have a suitable device. If some don’t, it can take time and expense to solve the issue. In some cases, the extra IT support that is required cancels out any savings that were made by the company not buying the equipment in the first place.
Finally, there is the issue of employee satisfaction. It has already been mentioned that BYOD can improve productivity, but this can go too far. If your employees feel like they can never get away from work and switch off, the positive effects of BYOD will be negated.
So long as you can deal with these challenges, BYOD is a way you can cut business expenses while improving the way you operate.
For more help and advice running your business, please contact a member of the Gilroy Gannon team today.