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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)—Perks and Safe Practices

July 28, 2015

Imagine this: It’s Monday morning at work, and your office computer crashes as soon as you login to the system. Not only is it a Monday, but the morning you had planned to spend preparing for afternoon meetings with some of your company’s top clients is now ruined. What if you didn’t have to rely on your office desktop to catch up on emails and review work documents? This is exactly the idea of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)—a system in which a company allows its employees to use their own mobile devices for work-related purposes.

Perks

BYOD has several perks that make it a desirable method for many companies. First, in a society that practically requires people to be available 24-7, employee access to their own devices allows for increased connectivity, and therefore, productivity. When employees can conduct calls, reply to emails, and even appear in video conference calls off-site, this conserves time and creates more flexibility for conducting business.

When people are given the opportunity to control an aspect of their work, it empowers them to be more innovative. Instead of being told how they must complete tasks A, B and C, they get to decide what methods to use. This ownership of ideas inspires people to put in more effort to create the best possible results. It also leads to more satisfied employees and a more pleasant work atmosphere.

Furthermore, BYOD is both cost and time-saving. Employees that utilize their own devices don’t have to be trained on how to use company devices or software, so they can come in and get straight to business. Therefore, their energy can be focused directly on work-related tasks, instead of adjusting to new technology.

Using a BYOD system also allows companies to strategically place employees where they will work best, according to their strengths. If, for example, an employee is very social and works well in an out-of-office setting, the company would still have access to that employee through the mobility of his or her personal device. In this case, the employee would have more freedom to work in a choice environment, resulting in greater satisfaction and increased productivity for the company.

But What About…?

Security– You may be wondering how a company can ensure security from data breaches if its’ employees are operating from personal devices. By tightening network security measures, implementing antivirus policies, and setting up password protection, work and personal information can be kept separate.

Support– In the realm of technology, it would be impossible for companies to provide support for every potential glitch in the system. Therefore, companies should instead seek support for major problem areas and deal with smaller ones as they pop up. Software as a Service (SaaS) is one solution, because a service provider can help employees operate through the same network, even amongst different devices. This allows data to be stored in the cloud, rather than on a person’s mobile device.

Data Loss– Data can be lost in the blink of an eye. By educating employees so they are aware of the risks that come along with BYOD, a company can minimize future frustrations and set expectations for “if-then” scenarios. Additionally, guidelines should be set to establish which documents employees can reasonably have access to. In the case of a lost or stolen device, or employee departure, company data should be cleared from the device to prevent information from leaking into unwanted territory.

Costs– BYOD does require significant IT support, which can be costly. However, these costs replace that of purchasing company devices, installing data plans, and covering maintenance costs. These become personal costs that most employees already cover with the use of their mobile devices.

All in all, the perks of BYOD far exceed the downfalls of allowing company employees to operate from personal devices in a business setting. Not only does this approach give employees more freedom over how and where they work, it also increases efficiency and saves money that would be spent on company devices. Today, people are attached at the hip to their smart phones and tablets. Why not take advantage of this to increase productivity in the workplace?

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