In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing numbers of organisations are supporting employees to work from home, connect while travelling or commuting, or maintaining a flexible schedule. As a result, BYOD solutions have become more than a trend but an essential part of the business world.
In this guide to BYOD, we’ll explore what BYOD is, the pros and cons, and importantly, the right ways to introduce a BYOD program in your organisation. Keep reading for everything you need to know about BYOD.
Before we dive into the details of BYOD, let’s first understand what BYOD is and what its benefits are.
BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. More and more businesses are allowing their employees to use their own devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops to access company information. By allowing employees to use their own devices, businesses can cut down on costs and improve efficiency by allowing employees to choose the device that works best for their specific needs and location. This includes employees who are working in hybrid environments, and spending time between the office and remote locations. Many businesses are no longer requiring employees to live in the same city, state, or country. Remote work is no longer a thing of the past but the way of the business future.
The pros of a BYOD program
There are many advantages of supporting BYOD within your organisation, for both employees and the business itself:
Employee satisfaction – employees who are trusted to do their jobs well with flexible work arrangements feel more satisfied. This boost in employee satisfaction and morale can lead to a boost in company loyalty and retention rates.
Increased productivity – employees who are given the freedom to choose the device that works best for them are often able to work more efficiently and productively. This is especially the case when employees choose their own devices based on their specific needs or job roles.
Improved company culture – when employees are given more freedom and flexibility, they are likely to feel as though their employer trusts them and values their input and feedback. Employee engagement is therefore expected to increase, which is likely to lead to a boost in company culture and morale.
Capital expenditure costs reduced – there is less need for IT spending on hardware and devices, which can be directed elsewhere, such as licensing subscriptions for collaboration and communication software.
Sustainability initiatives achieved – BYOD programs encourage people to work remotely rather than commute distances. This reduces the need for having large office spaces available or promotes the hot desk approach, which makes space use more efficient and reduces the footprint per person.
The cons of a BYOD program
While the benefits of a BYOD program are many, it is important to take a critical look at BYOD and understand its disadvantages as well. Let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks of implementing a BYOD program.
Security risks – one of the biggest concerns companies have about implementing a BYOD program is the security risks that such a program might entail. The data on those devices might be less secure than the data on company-owned devices and needs a higher degree of management from IT security teams.
Higher costs – another disadvantage of a BYOD program is that it might come with higher costs than a company-owned device program. When companies implement a BYOD program, employees might be given the choice to be compensated for purchasing their own devices.
Increased support needs – There is a reason why IT departments are process-driven and controlled. Infrastructure variation (in terms of software and hardware) is limited for support and efficiency, e.g. a single fix for issues across many devices is possible. While BYOD may appear to be a cost-saving measure, in reality, it can be the opposite. A growing number of devices in the IT environment may lead to increased support costs, both in terms of additional staff and troubleshooting time.
Legal issues – one of the least considered but biggest issues with BYOD is legalities. How an employee uses, stores, shares, and manages company data not only has an impact on security but the company itself. If a device is stolen, or the company needs access to data on the device, how is this managed in terms of corporate data privacy (both the company’s and the employee’s)? If an employee leaves the business, how is the company data removed and secured against being shared elsewhere?
The right way to build a BYOD program
Now that we’ve explored the pros and cons of BYOD, let’s take a look at how companies can go about implementing a BYOD program. There are a few steps companies can take to ensure that their BYOD program is implemented successfully.
Get employee feedback – Another way to go about implementing a BYOD program is to get feedback from employees. Companies should ask their employees whether they are interested in bringing their own devices to work. Companies can also ask employees what devices they would like to bring to work. This way, companies can understand what devices their employees would like to use and can choose a BYOD program that benefits the majority of their employees.
Clarify authorised devices – Companies should clearly set out what devices can be brought to the office, as well as what types of devices are prohibited. Companies should also make sure that their employees are aware of what types of devices are allowed and what type of device they are expected to bring. As a result of remote working becoming more common, most businesses now permit any device that conforms with their security requirements.
Implement endpoint security protocols – BYOD can increase the risk of cybercrime for employees’ personal devices. Basic BYOD security measures are important to keep employees’ and business data safe. This includes password management, multi-factor authentication, antivirus software, endpoint data encryption, data backups, and so on. Mobile device management and mobile application management solutions can encourage adherence to strong security policies.
Provide BYOD training – security policies are important but it is just as vital employees understand the why of cybersecurity awareness. Ideally, your business should ensure all employees undergo security awareness training that ensures they are security minded when it comes to BYOD, including phishing attacks, third-party software downloads, password theft, etc. This ensures a multi-layered approach for mobile device security and reduces the risk of data breaches and security leaks.
Alternatives to BYOD
While the BYOD trend is definitely gaining traction, it is not always the right option for organisations that want to retain more oversight and control over devices that employees use. There are alternatives to BYOD, which include:
Corporate owned personally enabled: the business owns the user device but employees are allowed to personalise them and use non-work related applications, although there are still restrictions in place.
Choose your own device: organisations offer a range of pre-approved devices for employees to choose from.
Bring your own application: companies allow and encourage employees to choose the SaaS applications that they prefer and bring the most value to their job on any device, whether it is personal or company owned.
Get the right solution for your business
Every organisation has its unique needs when it comes to the type of devices and applications needed to ensure future growth and ongoing success, especially in today’s competitive market. Technology moves fast and it can be a challenge to keep up, particularly if your business is looking at implementing a BYOD program. If you are looking for a new way to cut costs and improve efficiency in your business, the technology experts at Virtu offer a range of devices that will increase productivity while being cost-effective.