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 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
- 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.