Category: Network

What is BYOD?

man using a BYOD device

Smartphones have become a regular part of everyday life for most Americans and an integral part of the workplace for many employees. In the United States, nearly 80% of senior managers and IT executives say that, without a mobile device, employees can’t do their jobs effectively.

With such an abundance of mobile phones, tablets and laptops and the tasks that require them, many companies have implemented Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies, which allow employees to work from their personal devices. When used correctly, it can create improvements for workers, employers and customers alike.

BYOD Explained

BYOD is a growing trend among employers looking to add flexibility and ease of access to the workplace. It involves allowing employees to work from the device of their choice. They might be able to use their smartphone or tablet to access resources, like their corporate email, files or inventory levels, among an array of other information.

Many companies have internal apps that employees can download and access with their devices. They may provide access to corporate information with added security or allow the user to log in to their email.

For the employer, a BYOD policy may require them to adopt new or improved security habits to ensure that the increased access doesn’t put the company or its clients at risk.

What Is a BYOD Allowance?

Most employers will compensate workers who use BYOD. According to a survey from Oxford Economics and Samsung, this amount is usually between $30 and $50 each month, intended to cover part or all of the cell service plan. It can vary widely based on the amount of device usage expected. If it’s supplemental or not a large part of the workday, an employer may not provide as much of an allowance as one that works with the device for the majority of their day.

Why Are Companies Using BYOD?

BYOD is an incredibly fast-growing trend, with the BYOD market projected to reach $300 billion by 2022. As businesses adapt to the needs of the 21st century, they frequently find that BYOD policies fulfill employee desires, improve efficiency and save them money.

One analyst, Richard Absalom, posits that BYOD is an inevitable adoption for any modern business. He said that standing in the way of consumerized mobility is likely a “damaging and futile exercise.” When most people have smartphones with them that they take to work every day, it becomes simple and convenient, almost natural, for them to use those devices to get their work done.

While BYOD is becoming more and more common, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) may face more challenges regarding security and keeping themselves out of financial and legal trouble. If they don’t have extensive IT resources, it might be difficult to put those security measures in place. Even though it requires a different approach for every organization, BYOD can still be incredibly valuable and viable for businesses of all sizes.

Before implementing this policy, organizations will need to consider the BYOD pros and cons and how they apply to the work they do.

What Are the Negatives of BYOD in the Workplace?

So, what are the risks of BYOD? Some of the difficulties that BYOD can bring with it include a lack of control over employee usage and difficulty supporting the wide variety of different device types that exist.

However, the most pressing concern is the security risk. When employees can access corporate data on their devices, that data is more vulnerable. Personal devices aren’t likely to have the heavy security that corporate devices do. They’re more open to hacking or misuse on the part of the employee. One way to mitigate this is to ensure that employees are well-trained on appropriate use and limitations.

Some of the ways that companies address security concerns include requiring devices to use:

  • Anti-malware software
  • Encryption
  • Passcodes
  • Remote wipe functionality

Employee privacy can also be a concern, as you’ll want to enable enough security features to keep your corporate data safe without overstepping access to the employee’s personal information.

Every company will need to conduct a risk assessment when looking at BYOD policies, and the concerns will vary depending on the business. Financial, medical and legal companies, for instance, can deal with more severe repercussions in the case of a breach than other businesses. The kind of corporate data being accessed will also influence how critical its security is. Encrypted corporate emails without any sensitive data might be considered safe, while important financial documents should remain on secure servers.

Security needs and concerns vary widely across different types of organizations, and an expert like those at Morefield Communications can help determine what you need.

What Are the Benefits of BYOD?

There are many advantages and disadvantages of BYOD to consider. So what are the benefits of BYOD in the workplace?

  • Better equipment: Often, personal equipment is faster and more advanced than the aging equipment provided by IT departments under tight budgets. It may work better and reduce downtime due to broken equipment.
  • Cost savings: When employees bring their own devices, you’ll have to spend less money purchasing new devices for them to use. You also don’t need to worry about paying maintenance costs or dealing with tech support if the devices stop working.
  • Employee satisfaction: Most employees are more comfortable using their own devices, speeding up the process and making their workday easier. Many see the ease of use as a perk and enjoy using their own phones or laptops to get the job done.
  • Increased productivity: With the familiarity of a personal device and fewer tech problems, employees are more productive. Smartphones themselves are a big productivity booster. A study by Frost & Sullivan found that smartphones added about 58 minutes of work to an employee’s day and improved their productivity by about 34%.
  • Easy transitions: Adding or terminating employee access can be cumbersome and difficult with corporate-provided devices. Working with a BYOD policy makes this move easier, as you can typically add and revoke user access with ease.

BYOD policies and best practices will vary from organization to organization, but an effective system can ensure that you reap as many benefits as possible.

Work With a Business Technology Expert

If you’re considering adding BYOD to your organization, you have a lot to think about. Fortunately, the experts at Morefield Communications know all about this beneficial policy and the details that come with it.

Whether you want to improve your security measures to allow BYOD, utilize unified communication with personal devices or otherwise contribute to personal device usage, Morefield Communications can help. We’ve worked with SMBs and large enterprises and can work with you to identify the distinct needs of your company, regardless of industry or size. To learn more about working with Morefield Communications, reach out to us today.

Guide to Cable Modems

what are cable modems

Don’t take the inconspicuous cable modem for granted. These devices are the foundation of your business’s high-functioning communication systems, with capabilities spanning beyond being an internet gateway.

Learn the essentials of how cable modems work, plus what modem features and terminology to look for when outfitting your office or changing your Internet service provider to save yourself from serious headaches down the line.

What Is a Cable Modem?

Cable modems are a prevalent type of hardware that connects computer devices with your Internet service provider (ISP). Differing from other types of modems, a cable modem uses coax cable, the same infrastructure that brings television programing to our business or homes, to proxy that connection, rather than a telephone or DSL line.

In residential and commercial applications, a cable modem is able to provide multi-channel voice, internet and television access, in most cases under a single consolidated service contract.

How Does a Modem Work?

Essentially, cable modems work as digital translators. They receive data signals from your ISP’s network, then immediately translate them into a digital “language” for your routers to distribute across your local network via wired ethernet or Wi-Fi connection.

Cable modems perform that all-important conversion via coaxial cables and an ethernet cord that connects directly into computer devices or a network router. Some modern cable modem devices, though, come with an integrated router, meaning you do not need two separate devices connected via ethernet cords and ports to access the internet. The single machine performs both functions simultaneously. In either case — a separate cable modem and router or a dual unit — your modem relies on the same kinds of cables relaying TV signals to access the Internet.

This delivery ecosystem requires national cable providers or operators to set up regional and even neighborhood hubs to transfer cable-line based data. Within those hubs, people evenly split bandwidth, with those cable operators imposing data limits to ensure no single user (including businesses) siphons too much bandwidth.  With the wide adoption growth of the technology, cable providers have elected to segment their residential and business customers, so while the platform is still shared, business traffic is isolated from the residental neighbors.  Business services will also include a higher tier SLA (service level agreement) that assures an accelerated response and priority to disruptions or service outages.

Higher-priced tiers open your organization’s access to greater bandwidth.  Many people assume adding more bandwidth means you’re increasing your Internet speeds. However, this is a misunderstanding, since bandwidth is actually the amount of data that can be sent to you in megabits per second (Mbps). Increasing bandwidth simply means you can receive more information — i.e., more megabits. This creates the impression of data-speed improvements but is actually a data-quantity improvement.

In fact, only cable modems and other network infrastructure can increase what we perceive as internet speed. How does a modem work and what are the affects on your internet speed? These speeds are relayed in a transmission measurement known as the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification standard, or DOCSIS for short. Every cable modem comes with a DOCSIS speed, and these speeds vary widely across modem models. Typical download speeds for older DOCSIS modem models (e.g., DOCSIS 1, 1.1 and 2) average 30-100 Mbps, while the most advanced models transmit between 1 to 10 gigabit per second (Gbps) uploads.

What Is a Cable Modem Used For?

Business cable modems are an essential piece of hardware for functioning Internet and data communications systems. Finding a unit with the right capabilities is crucial to unlocking full communication capabilities, including:

  1. Accessing the ISP: The most basic function of a cable modem is to communicate with your Internet service provider’s network. A cable modem is one of the most popular and reliable modes of ISP connectivity since it operates on an already well-established ecosystem of physical cables stretching across the country.
  2. Using and bundling services: Voice services, Internet and television can all be bundled under one contract using cable modem-based delivery networks. In many cases, bundling services from one provider cuts your provider bills, saving your business money. When bundled, each service is delivered via separate physical cable lines, minimizing service disruptions and lag times. Bundling mirrors unified communications as a service (UCaaS)best practices, which often combine telecommunications technology and related infrastructure under one umbrella platform.
  3. Upgrading internet speeds: ISPs and cable companies offer a range of internet download servicing speeds, from less than 100 Mbps to up to a gigabit. Your cable modem significantly impacts the internet speeds to which you have access. Without a DOCSIS model with a corresponding speed standard, your organization may
what is a cable modem used for

How to Choose the Right Cable Modem for a Business

Keep in mind these cable modem tips when upgrading or selecting your internet service provider or communication hardware.

1. ISP Compatibility

Modems must be compatible with your internet service provider. Carriers typically give you a matching unit if you sign up to rent modems and routers directly from them. However, when purchasing your own modems, you must ensure it’s compatible with both your service carrier itself and your internet bandwidth tier. Both can be done by checking the DOCSIS standard release number as well as calling your provider to hear their definitive modem list.

2. High-Speed Internet Access

Upgraded internet tiers — including packages delivering bandwidth above 100 Mbps — requires new generations of DOCSIS modems, typically a DOCSIS 3 or 3.1. Older units simply won’t have the capacity to support these service speeds, meaning when you upgrade your overall internet package, you’ll likely need to purchase a new cable modem as well to utilize the connection you’re paying for.

3. Upload and Download Speeds

Many internet providers advertise packages according to their max download speeds (in Mbps). Typical download speeds depend on your service provider, geographic location, hardware condition, package tier type and other variables.

When selecting your cable modem internet package, though, it’s equally as important to consider the max upload speeds. Cable modems operate under an asynchronous delivery, meaning those upload speeds will be a fraction of the stated download speeds. Yet the nature of business operations is synchronous and relies on the constant flow of sent and received documents, data, Internet communications, cloud access and more. Each of these activities requires quick upload speeds just as much as fast retrievals and downloads. For that reason, organizational leaders must pay just as much attention to upload speed as advertised downloading ones.

  • Insider trick: A good rule of thumb is that most package upload speeds will be around 15% of its stated download speed. For example, if your internet package’s max download advertises 200 Mbps, it’s likely the uploading rate will be around 30 Mbps.

4. Actual Employee Usage

Higher Mbps is not always better. Business owners should consider the actual internet usage of its employee user group before selecting a premium bandwidth package, categorizing the actual applications its staff uses the internet for.

  • Moderate and high usage: Employees requiring frequent access to cloud-hosted applications, continual data exchange or high amounts of VoIP or videoconferencing fall into the moderate to high usage category. At these usage levels, experts recommend a 2:1 bandwidth ratio, or 1 Mbps of bandwidth per two employees.
  • Low or casual usage: Employees utilizing the internet namely for basic internet searches and email usage fall into the low or casual usage catego For this tier, experts suggest a ratio of 3:1, or 1 Mbps of package bandwidth for every three employees.

5. Firewall Throughput 

Upgrading your modems or internet packages is an excellent time to review your firewall throughput, or the volume of traffic that can pass through your firewall (also measured in Mbps or Gbps).

Like older DOCSIS modems, older firewall technology might not keep up with your upgraded cable speeds, lacking the RAM, CPU and other features required to do so. Make the most of your new coax service by considering upgrades to your firewalls and other similar network defenses alongside your selection of your Internet service plan to realize the most capability from your new Interner service.

Find the Right Cable Modem Solutions With Morefield

Have confidence you’re receiving the internet, telecom and data services you need — at the speeds you’re paying for — with a complimentary bill audit. Or get in touch to learn more about our unified business communications system consultations to leverage a best-fit communication suite for your needs today.

find the right solution with Morefield

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