The Value of Having a BYOD Policy
Chances are, your business employs people that have mobile devices like tablets, laptops and iPhones. Often the equipment that they have is better than what you could supply them to work with. In many instances, employees are happier to use their own devices as they are more efficient and may have functions that make their work easier. As this situation is becoming more common, a growing number of companies are adopting a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that defines what acceptable and unacceptable usages of personal devices exist in the workplace. There are a number of benefits and difficulties that come with adopting a BYOD policy which need to be weighed before you can decide if such a policy is right for your business.
The popularity of many mobile devices has given them value as status symbols, and so perhaps the most tangible benefit of adopting a BYOD policy is that it engenders greater job satisfaction. Because the devices that your employees purchase will usually be the most recent equipment available, you also get some of the benefit of being able to try out new technologies without having to invest anything up front. In fact, in half of the cases surveyed recently it was found that employees are absorbing all of the costs of using their own devices at work and that generally they were happy to do so. This represents an average saving of as much as $80 per month for each device1. Generally the expenses are shared to some extent and the amount that an employer contributes is capped at a level that still represents a substantial saving in costs while giving the employee some extra benefits.
While this may make a BYOD policy look like a great way for business to shift costs onto willing workers, there are some difficulties that immediately present themselves. The primary concern for most businesses is security, with employees often having sensitive corporate documents saved on their personal devices. While inconvenient, it is not an insurmountable problem. One way to get around it, for example, is to create a Desktop as a Service network environment for all of your users so that all of their work-related documentation and applications are stored on your company’s servers, and they may only access them via their personal devices.
Allowing BYOD also raises concerns about viral infection brought into your business network by a personal user’s device. To counter the risks, there is often a stipulation in place which states that employees must use the corporate anti-virus software to remain compliant with the requirements of the work environment. Another problem is that allowing BYOD in your business often introduces a grey area of acceptable use of the personal devices for things like checking personal e-mails or logging onto social media sites while in the workplace. In some businesses this may not be as an important issue, but it does raise the question of whether BYOD will raise or lower productivity.
As mobile devices become cheaper, and more people acquire them, the issue of BYOD is going to become more pertinent to all businesses. The companies that implement the best policies will be the ones that derive the most benefit from the strategic use of employees’ devices. Taking the time to speak to your employees about what sorts of devices they already have, and how much they are already using them at work, may be very revealing. This issue is one that is sure to come up in most industries as more employees request permission to bring their own device to work because they know that it can get the job done more efficiently. With this information in mind, it is definitely worth the effort to examine the pros and cons before you finalize your decision.
1. Good Technology State of BYOD Report