Bring-Your-Own-Device Pro & Con’s

The BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) trend has seen a dramatic spike in popularity as employers seek new ways to save money on tech costs and improve employee satisfaction by offering flexibility to work remotely and use the hardware or operating system they’re most comfortable with.

While BYOD can effectively reduce costs, and in many situations has been shown to improve overall staff satisfaction, it’s not without risk. There are pros and cons of a BYOD policy which should be carefully considered before making the switch. In order to mitigate risks or challenges, it’s important to have a clearly defined policy, well-executed roll out plan and minimum security requirements.

Today, we’re taking a look at a few of the benefits of BYOD and highlighting some things to consider to mitigate risk and maximize reward if you think BYOD is right for your company. 

BENEFITS:

COST SAVINGS: 

A BYOD policy can dramatically reduce tech costs by eliminating the need to purchase mobile devices for employees, and reduces data and cellular costs by shifting the costs to the individual user. Even when subsidizing an employees’ cell and data plans, a company will spend less than if they purchase devices and cover all the monthly costs.

IMPROVED USABILITY:

When employees are able to use the device they’re most comfortable or familiar with, they are often better versed in the capabilities, functions, and features and therefore more productive and efficient than they might be if they’re switching between from work device to personal device, operating system to operating system.

INCREASED EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION:

Everyone knows the value of retaining good employees and that it can be a challenge these days. When employees use the devices they know and love and are able to achieve success or higher productivity as a result, they may feel higher job satisfaction.

NEWER TECHNOLOGY & FEATURES:

Individual users generally upgrade personal devices to the latest greatest hardware far more frequently companies do, which means when employees provide their own devices, they are often the newest, fastest, and most well-equipped devices.

CONSIDERATIONS:

POSITIVELY FRAMING TRANSITION OF COSTS TO EMPLOYEES:

Passing on the cost to an employee can be met with initial resistance if they’re in roles where they’re used to having a device provided and perceive that as a benefit that being removed. Implementing a BYOD program that considers this response and mitigates risk with provisions like a clearly communicated program for providing monthly data and cellular allowances, or letting the employee retain their current company provided device can help to ensure a smooth transition to a BYOD program.

SECURITY: 

Security is an unavoidable challenge when it comes to BYOD but it isn’t insurmountable. From platforms, apps and services that help separate work from personal information to mandatory password protection requirement, to antivirus programs, there are a number of systems, policies, and procedures that can help mitigate security challenges.

CUSTOMIZED IT SUPPORT REQUIREMENTS:

When everyone is working on different devices, and platforms, it may be more challenging for internal IT teams to manage issues and provide support for all systems and issues that may arise. Being aware of potential issues and knowing where to direct employees for appropriate support or providing well IT support solutions to them.

REPLACING AN ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY WITH A BYOD POLICY:

Allowing employees to use their own personal devices ultimately results in reduced some control over what uses are acceptable or unacceptable, as well as the ability to monitor use. Replacing traditional Acceptable Use policies with a comprehensive BYOD policy to set reasonable expectations is an important shift that should accompany any BYOD program.

DATA RETRIEVAL POLICY AND SYSTEMS:

A comprehensive BYOD policy also needs to address what happens when an employee leaves your company. What is the process for revoking access to company data and shared files? How can you prevent the loss of important files or information? Who owns the phone number? And so on and so forth. There are important things to consider in mitigating risk when an employee leaves.

If you think BYOD is a solution that could be right for your company, our experts would be happy to help you assess the pros and cons and ultimately plan for and implement the IT system that’s right for your company.  Contact us today.

About the author