The business and IT world continues to trend into a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ future, where the company furnish computer and mobile hardware for their employees. However, just because Gartner predicts that 50 percent of the workplaces in 2017 will have BYOD requirements for employees doesn’t mean you have to jump on board immediately. When you’re a small business owner writing a BYOD policy, you have to consider more than just the cost benefits. Concerns such as device damage liability, data security and network security need to be considered as well.
Your hardware costs are much lower when you have employees participating in a BYOD program at work, since you aren’t shelling out thousands of dollars on tablets, smartphones and laptops for your employees. However, what you are looking at is an increase in support costs. Even if your employees are completely tech savvy, they may not know exactly how to make business applications work properly, how to utilize maintenance techniques for their tablets or other small details that end up causing big problems if left unaddressed. You or your IT staff, have to handle these support issues. One way companies are getting around these issues is through crowd-sourced support, says Enterprise Networking Planet. Crowd-sourced support allows your employees to learn from each other in a wiki or forum support structure. When issues come up, they post in the forum and get feedback from other users. This also allows you to create a specialized knowledgebase for issues that you may run into with your network infrastructure and business applications.
The other side of allowing employees to bring in personal devices is that they may not have personal electronics that are capable of handling the tasks required of the job. You end up back at square one, which is buying equipment for your employees, mitigating a big advantage of BYOD. Publish a list of system requirements with your BYOD policy so you don’t have to comb through employee devices that simply aren’t up to par. This will save you a lot of time, trouble, and support tickets. Along with ensuring the hardware is capable of holding tough, it is also important to make sure you handle which devices you will allow in. Managing different smartphones can be tricky, but with the right tools you can allow iOS, BlackBerry and Android phones.
You also open yourself up to legal risk, according to CIO Magazine. When your employees bring personal devices into work, you have to worry about what happens if the devices get lost, broken or have their data stolen. What happens when a personal device ends up bringing in viruses to the company’s network? Look over your BYOD policies thoroughly before allowing personal devices to get officially added to the network, to keep the legal risk lower to yourself and your business.