The Bring Your Own Device culture (or ‘BYOD’, as it is more commonly referred to) has long been seen as something of a risk by IT departments. Today, I’m going to argue that instilling such a culture is, in fact, one of the best moves any business can make.
BYOD refers to the increasing trend for employees to bring their own smartphones, laptops and tablets into the office in order to get work done. And IT departments are right – this is inherently risky with such devices capable of inadvertently transferring harmful malware and viruses onto the business network.
However, with many business applications moving to the web, the need for personal devices to connect directly to networks is diminishing. People are also relying increasingly on apps that make their lives easier, thus strengthening the bonds they have with their devices and ensuring they are always by their side.
With that in mind, let’s look at 6 reasons businesses should consider embracing a BYOD culture.
1. It lowers overheads
Let’s start with the most obvious. If employees are happy to bring in their own devices, the business won’t have to buy them itself, nor will it be burdened with the on-going insurance and maintenance overheads commonly associated with IT equipment.
2. Assists with a move to the cloud
As noted above, many businesses are moving the various apps and tools they rely on to the cloud in order to lower costs, assist in disaster recovery and mobilize workers. Personal devices can become an intrinsic part of this strategy and you’ll likely find that employees will naturally begin turning to their own tablets and laptops once they are granted access to cloud-based applications.
3. It gives employees more flexibility
The modern employee is rarely tied to a single desk and values flexibility when it comes to the working day. If you allow staff to use their own devices, you’ll encourage a working environment that looks beyond the 9-5 and empowers its staff to be the masters of their own productivity.
4. Raises employee satisfaction
The BYOD culture has become highly popular for a reason – it is driven by employees’ desire to continue using the devices they are wedded to in their private lives while at work. If you encourage them to do just that, their satisfaction levels will rise. This is an incredibly valuable trade off for businesses.
5. It is eminently scalable
As businesses grow, the demands on IT infrastructure increase considerably. With a BYOD culture in place, reduced overheads are matched by the ability for the company’s digital tool cabinet to expand effortlessly. The more employees you bring on board who are willing to use their own devices, the less of a task you have to scale the IT operation.
6. You can tighten IT security
Yes, you read that right – a BYOD culture can help IT departments increase security. If you fail to embrace BYOD, it will continue to happen under your nose and with zero governance. That’s a far greater security risk, but put a BYOD policy in place, and you can set the rules. It’s a two-way street; if you make the guidelines clear (accepted apps, strict antivirus policy, etc), acceptance and tighter security will follow.
The BYOD culture cannot be ignored. Your staff is almost certainly already bringing in their own devices to use for work purposes and in many cases, this tactic is probably enabling them to achieve more. So, embrace BYOD – don’t shy away from it.
It does have advantages, for both the organization and employee, but your statements are too simple.
BYOD, often is no more than a way to move the cost of devices to the employee, but leave the control over the devices (and related issues) in the organization.
To keep employees happy, you need to allow employees to have control over their devices. That means you will be constantly vulnerable. So to stay save, it actually means that the ICT department will need (and will obtain) full control over the device and none else will be able to set it up the way (and with the software) required – for other tasks than within the organization.
I’ve worked in such an environment and it meant I had to handle over my laptop, and the IT department would set the machine up to their standards: encryption, software, tools etc. Whether or not your device was already encrypted, had licenced sofwtare on it (that you needd in that job as well, but on other jobs as well) – didn’t matter. You brought your device – but they controlled it.
It has been one of the main reasons to leave that organization.