Do you allow your employees to use their personal mobile devices in the office? Some companies would say it is virtually impossible not to since personal laptops, tablets and smartphones play a vital role in business communication. Enter the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, or more technically known as “Mobile Enterprise Management”, the new workplace trend that is helping to enhance employee productivity, reduce company cost and improve morale.
Take this example: Your employee has a preference for Android and travels away a lot on business. It makes sense for him or her to bring their own device, right? You are probably thinking “what about all the security, management and data issues, not to mention the extra layer of work for the IT department?” Despite this, there are an increasing number of companies embracing the trend and below we will explore the pros and cons in greater detail.
Personal mobile devices offer the benefits of convenience and speed. Sales executives can do their jobs while traveling, management can keep up with emails or review important documents on their tablets, and anyone can stay connected with their smart phone. Personal mobile devices have become a primary player in how workers communicate and share both work-related and personal data throughout the course of the day.
In a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (http://www.dell.com/en-uk/work/learn/mobility-byod) environment, the costs associated with the personal device are just that: personal. Most workers willingly purchase their preferred laptop or mobile device, including their data plan and simply want to use it for business purposes. This can mean significant savings for your IT department compared to the cost of company-issued devices.
Let’s face it, we all have a preference – iPhone or Android, iPad or Surface, specific apps and cloud services. The list goes on. Tech-lovers essentially want to have their own personal device to use on the job as well as at home. Allowing this option for your workers is more likely to improve their overall satisfaction with your company.
One of the key concerns of Bring Your Own Device is security. Take for example an employee losing their laptop or mobile phone. This could easily result in sensitive company data getting into the wrong hands. Therefore, every BYOD policy must have minimum security measures. A secure mobile app could be worth the investment if your business wants to have a BYOD policy. It is also wise to develop a process for establishing those controls before the employee is allowed to access company data. What about compliance issues? Does your business operate within an industry that must adhere to certain practices for protecting data?
Controlling Acceptable Use
Allowing employees to use their own personal devices means that your company has suddenly lost some levels of control over the appropriate use of the technology. Unlike a company-issued laptop or device, which comes with an acceptable use policy, it’s not exactly easy to control how someone uses a personal device. That’s why many companies are turning to BYOD policies to set reasonable expectations.
Your BYOD policy should also address what happens if/when an employee leaves your company. Who will discontinue their access to your company data? Do they have their own phone number? What if clients were calling that number directly? In a sales environment, this is particularly risky. Suddenly, your ex-employee may become a direct competitor with easy access to your client’s contact info and vice versa.