BYOD and it’s Importance

BYOD is the emerging trend of employees using their personal devices, like smartphones, tablets, laptops etc, to remotely access any organizational network to carry out work. BYOD encompasses BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone), BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) and BYOPC (Bring Your Own PC) and is now encouraged by companies all over the world.

Employees can thus access official mail on their smartphone, connect to office and work using their laptop even while they are traveling and use tablets to be part of conferences that happen at their office when they are away.

BYOD is important today since employees would want to deliver their best in today's competitive world and companies too would want to make the most of the manpower they have at hand.

Why BYOD Matters?

bring your own device

Mobile devices used today are much advanced than the systems deployed by the IT departments in many companies. Thus it would prove fruitful for any company today to adopt lightweight ultrabooks, phones with large screens etc as part of their work culture. Experts believe that even if the IT departments in certain companies wouldn't want to encourage or adopt BYOD, they won't be able to prevent it from happening, in today's scenario. Hence, it's good for any company not to pose hurdles in the path of consumerized mobility; they should instead attempt to make full use of this after forming a thorough understanding of its benefits and risks.

BYOD Benefits

There are different benefits of companies adopting and encouraging BYOD practices...

  • Boosts productivity. Employees can always work by accessing work using their personal devices and they can even check emails and update presentations while on vacation or while traveling back home. This works towards boosting productivity for any company.
  • Helps companies improve employee morale. Employees work with devices that they are more comfortable with and are hence happier when they work in places where BYOD is encouraged.
  • Helps cut costs, especially for SMBs. The money that needs to be invested on buying hardware, software etc can be utilized for other things even as employees use their own personal devices for work. Thus SMBs can benefit out of BYOD in a very direct manner.
  • BYOD helps improve the relationship between employees and IT departments, as per experts.
  • BYOD helps companies stay abreast of changing technology as employees using personal devices for work would stay up-to-date as regards technology and would use the same for the company as well.
  • Having BYOD policies could help companies attract new employees because there are many people who'd love to use their own mobile devices for work as well.

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BYOD Drawbacks

Though BYOD has its benefits, it's not bereft of drawbacks as well. Here's a look at the drawbacks of this emerging trend...

  • Security issues are of much concern for companies adopting BYOD. Most IT specialists believe that adopting BYOD causes serious security issues to any company and the data that the company stores on its systems/network. The security threats arise due to the increased number of people who would be accessing a company's data using other devices and also due to the fact that malware could get in through any BYOD device that isn't properly secured.
  • Company files and data, which are free to be accessed by employees using their personal devices, could also end up in wrong hands. Such data can be easily seen or stolen by outsiders with malicious intentions.
  • BYOD devices might also get stolen or they may get lost, which would also cause data breaches.
  • The IT departments in companies where BYOD is practiced would have to undergo tremendous pressure support, managing and securing all BYOD devices.

Organizations now rely a lot on BYOD

It is here to stay is certain; it's nothing short of a revolution. Today organizations rely a lot on BYOD; increased use of smartphones and other mobile devices have led organizations to adopt BYOD practices. At present over 40% organizations have adopted it. Experts say that by the end of the decade, over 85% of organizations worldwide would have adopted BYOD, in one form or the other. Small and Medium businesses are and would be making the most of the BYOD trend, owing to obvious reasons.

BYOD policies

Having a well-defined BYOD policy is a must for any organization that has adopted BYOD. Such a BYOD policy, which governs how the devices can be used and which ensures maximum security to the organization, its customers and all data that the organization handles, should focus on the following aspects.

  • The BYOD policy should have clear clauses as regards the devices or kind of devices that need to be used and also about the OSs that the organization would support.
  • The policy should be clear as regards the functions that can be accessed by employees using personal devices.
  • There should be policies about the importance of having strong passwords to protect each single device that an employee is using.
  • The policies should be clear as regards usage of applications; outside applications that could pose a threat to organizational security should be banned.
  • There should be clarity regarding costs, the mobile costs, that a company would provide to employees.

Employees should be made to sign the BYOD policy before they start using any personal devices for work or when they start working for the company.

BYOD Rewards

We've already discussed the benefits of BYOD, plus the drawbacks as well. Despite the drawbacks, especially the security risks involved, adopting BYOD is always rewarding for any organization today. The work becomes easy and dynamic, profits are enhanced, productivity increases and employees are satisfied and more involved. It also offers maximum mobility to corporate resources. Overall, it's totally rewarding for any company, any organization.

Implementation After Securing BYOD Environment

Adopting and implementing BYOD is important, but any organization that implements it should ensure that it's fully prepared for it. In addition to preparing a BYOD policy, there should be attempts to address all related security issues. The policies should be clear- as regards wiping of data from employees' personal devices, regarding access of data and transfer of data and also regarding the type of encryption to be adopted.

A company that adopts Bring Your Own Device policy should differentiate business data and personal data and should also ensure that access to corporate data is privilege-based. All employees should be educated on various aspects of security and should also be taught to be responsible while using their personal devices for work. An audit on access to personal data and the kinds of devices used could help companies ensure maximum security. Having a comprehensive MDM (Mobile Device Management) suite is also important because with too many mobile devices being used to access organizational network and data, it won't be practically possible to manage and monitor each single device within the network.

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