As we mentioned in our recent “Trend Watch” article, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement is gaining popularity among organizations of all types and sizes. Some companies are already seeing significant benefits as a result of implementing BYOD programs, while others have been hesitant to get onboard.
BYOD refers to the so-called “consumerization of IT” trend that has emerged, in which the culture of enterprise IT is shifting such that the end user is now the one who has cutting-edge technologies first, as opposed to the organization. As a result of this trend (which is frequently attributed to the advent of such Apple products as the iPhone and iPad), individuals are now starting to prefer using their personal devices in place of company-issued products.
Some organizations have begun to embrace these preferences and have implemented BYOD programs to facilitate the use of employees’ personal mobile devices for business use. So far, many of these firms have reported positive results, although lingering concerns remain. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of introducing a BYOD program at your organization.
- Cost Savings – Companies with BYOD programs in place frequently report significant cost reductions in IT. This is the result of a reduction in the volume of desktop support requests from employees to internal IT departments. Additionally, when employees supply their own mobile devices they typically absorb hardware costs and, at least, a portion of the accompanying voice and data service fees. In fact, according to the Good Technology State of BYOD Report, about 50% of companies with BYOD models in place require that their employees cover all costs associated with their mobile devices – and most are more than happy to do so.
- Employee Satisfaction – People buy and use the cell phones, laptops and tablets they have for a reason: they have done research and determined that those devices are the best for them. They quickly become accustomed to the intricacies of those specific devices and are able to efficiently maneuver them to perform daily tasks. Given the opportunity, many employees would prefer to use these devices in the workplace in lieu of company-issued hardware.
- Flexibility – Today, employees do not want to be constantly tethered to a desktop PC. They want the freedom to work remotely if necessary, especially if travel is a major aspect of their jobs. In order to do so, they need mobile computing devices that can maintain the speed and efficiency of in-office equipment. There are now several devices available in the marketplace which make this possible.
Green/Sustainability Benefits – Employees who use only desktop PCs tend to leave them on all night. Although computers are much more energy efficient than they once were, they still require far more energy to operate than laptops, cell phones or tablets. Also, these mobile devices are generally more likely to be turned on and off between uses, thereby reducing the company’s environmental impact even further.
- Loss of Control – When an organization agrees to allow employees to supply their own devices, it inherently loses control over the hardware and how it is used. When employees use the same device for both personal and professional use, governing where the line between the two should be becomes difficult.
- Security Risks – Mobile devices that are provided by a company’s IT department are usually equipped with enterprise-level security tools to prevent a potentially costly breach. The IT team then has the ability to continuously upgrade and enhance these tools over time to ensure ongoing protection. The same cannot be said for an employee’s personal device, so the risks are much greater.
- Compliance Risks – Many industry regulators require specific data protection measures that may be difficult to maintain with a BYOD model.
- Handling Employee Departures – When an employee leaves the organization, there must be a way for the company to retrieve any proprietary or sensitive information from the individual’s mobile device and sever future access to the network.
As the BYOD trend continues to grow, it will become increasingly difficult for organizations to ignore. Nearly all employees now have personal mobile devices, and it will become continuously more convenient to handle both personal and business tasks on them. Whether your firm chooses to adopt a BYOD program or not, be sure you have a clearly defined policy in place that outlines what is and is not acceptable and clearly states what the expectations are.
For more information, contact an Eze Castle Integration representative today!
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