Implementing a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy can be tricky road to navigate for some companies. How will company data be secured? How many devices should employees be allowed to use? If employees bring their personal devices to work, will productivity decrease?
These questions will most certainly pop into the minds of companies looking to put a BYOD policy in place. While most employees love the idea of working in a BYOD environment, companies need to weigh the risks and rewards associated with a BYOD plan. According to Gartner, more than half of U.S. employers will adopt a BYOD within the next three years. Keeping that statistic in mind, it’s important for companies to have a BYOD that is properly managed.
1. Security: Keeping company data secure is one of the biggest concerns employers face before putting a BYOD policy in place. Accessing company data and the company network while using a smart device for personal use can make valuable information unnecessarily vulnerable. Misplaced devices and phones will also present various security risks. For small and midsize companies, Codeproof offers a cloud-based BYOD security platform for both Android and Apple iOS devices. Codeproof service costs are $2.99 per month per device or $29.99 per device per year. Other key players in the BYOD security market include AirWatch, Citrix Systems, Fiberlink Communications and Good Technology. Companies can also set rules such as restrictions on downloads of proprietary data and limit network access in order to reduce security risks.
2. Expense: One reason many companies are willing to consider a BYOD environment is that they believe it to be cost effective. Tell an executive that they are no longer required to purchase technology for employees and they will probably be interested in hearing more. Actually, BYOD can be an added expense. Fact is, as companies instate BYOD policies and require employees to bring capable devices; they are going to be put in an awkward spot. While some new hires will have access to modern technology, others will not. Companies are going to be forced to contribute to data plans and in some cases may need to purchase devices. Likely, the office will also need reliable technology whether or not the office supports BYOD. In some cases, companies could end up paying for traditional devices and personal devices, resulting in high expenses.
2. Business and Pleasure: Many employees have a hard time separating business and pleasure; an increasing concern as work-culture becomes more and more casual. Today, no two office environments are alike and some couldn’t be more different. In a number of offices, employees don’t even listen to music, while others watch sitcoms while getting important work done. Employees doing work on a personal device are far more likely to spend a chunk of their day on social networks and checking the scores of last night’s game.
3. Power Struggle: Using a personal device in the workplace can certainly lead to awkward situations. The employee owns the device, yet the company wishes to impose guidelines on how the device can be used. Because phones are accessing company networks, companies feel they should be able to control the device. The resulting grey area can be very confusing and might have employees expecting companies to foot the bill.
4. Failing Devices: Many companies do not have a plan for supporting employees with failing devices. Is your company prepared to offer support for various devices? Some employees use an iPhone, while others use an Android. If the personal devices are used for work, companies will be forced to support all the various devices and operating systems. Personal devices are commonly dropped, lost, and broken; all concerns in the BYOD environment.
These five concerns should present companies a few things to consider when making an informed decision. Although 90% of companies are expected to offer BYOD by 2014, we can expect new protocol and guidelines to be placed on the future of BYOD.