Some of the most popular presents at Christmas time are new devices, whether that’s an upgrade for an iPhone, or a new tablet – and this may lead to a surge in your employees bringing their own devices into work with them.
What is Bring Your Own Device, and how can it benefit you?
In case you didn’t know, this trend is known as BYOD. As SMEs and their IT departments try to keep up with technology changes, some find it easier to let their employees bring in their own laptops, mobiles and tablets from home to use at work and access company data. There are pros and cons to adopting a bring your own device policy to some degree in your business.
Bring your own device is something you can actively encourage in your workplace, or it could be happening on a smaller scale without your realising or purposefully implementing it. So whichever way you feel about BYOD, it’s best to have a policy on it which is clearly communicated to all staff.
The driving force behind the trend is increased self-sufficiency among employees, who use personal laptops, tablets and smartphones for everything, and switch seamlessly between them. Many of these devices are newer and more advanced than those that IT departments can offer employees.
BYOD eases some of the burden of keeping up-to-date with technology. This can be a struggle for some SMEs as the pace of innovation accelerates. So, if employees are getting this tech for themselves anyway, why not let them use it?
For employees, bringing their own devices into work can increase motivation and job satisfaction. It feels good being in control of what equipment you work on, especially if it is superior to what you would otherwise have. And running your work and life through one set of equipment means less clutter than having two phones, two laptops etc. If it is their device and they are familiar with it, then they are better placed to fix minor issues too.
BYOD also comes with an element of flexibility and trust, which as long as it is not abused, is good for the employer/employee relationship.
And it will, of course, bring down hardware costs.
What’s the catch?
Convenience does come with a cost though. There are also risks associated with a bring your own device policy. If they aren’t fully understood and planned for, this can threaten your IT security and systems.
First, there may still be costs to implementing or accommodating BYOD in your workplace. You’ll no doubt spend less on hardware. But the costs may come in having to integrate, and provide support for, a range of different employee devices from different manufacturers. And you will probably still have to pay for relevant software licences.
You must weigh up the implications of allowing data to be accessed and used on employees’ personal devices and put in place appropriate controls – especially in our GDPR world. Employees will be taking their devices home with them at the end of the day, which could pose an extra risk to your sensitive data.
As they are used at home as well as work, these devices are at heightened risk of loss, damage and theft. Therefore, it is sensible to put measures in place to prepare for this possibility. This is particularly a risk where devices have limited password protection, as they are also at risk of hackers and viruses. iPhones, iPads, Androids and Windows phones all have their own vulnerabilities.
What can you do to mitigate risk?
Don’t let a BYOD issue creep up on you, especially after the gift-giving of the festive season. It’s always best to evaluate the benefits and risks of BYOD to your individual business. Having done this, you can decide whether it’s worth implementing a policy or at least allowing BYOD with your employees, or whether you should prohibit it. There are many ways to roll out the scheme across your company.
At Nebula, we can provide you with comprehensive mobile device management to secure and manage the handsets used within your organisation. Our mobile device management service includes making sure handsets are used within company IT policies, managing security and remotely wiping a device. If you want to find out more about managing the personal devices used in your business, call Nebula today on 01454 534 009.