There was a time when the business held all of the technology cards. A business could invest in sophisticated computers, laptops and other devices that were simply out of reach for the average employee. But the times have changed.
Today many employees have very reliable high tech devices that can perform all office functions and more. This has sparked the trend called BYOD – bring your own device.
If an employee is comfortable in using his or her personal device, and the business is comfortable in providing access, then it can be a win for both parties to use the technology to help the company as well as the employee.
Likewise, many software application service providers have opted out of requiring specific types of technology for their products. Instead the solutions are designed to be device agnostic and the customer can utilize whatever device works best for their business.
To properly consider whether BYOD is a viable approach for your company, consider the following:
- Most employees feel very comfortable in utilizing their personal technology for work purposes
- Businesses can realize a reduced need to invest in user-specific devices, and instead can focus on their own servers or even leverage cloud service solutions to reduce their hardware acquisition and maintenance expenses
- Employees who support their own devices naturally become more familiar with the technology and therefore there is less troubleshooting and support requirements. Employees will also typically assume the responsibility for keeping their devices updated and maintained properly
- Subsidies are an option for employers to provide in order to insure that the devices are properly secured and kept compliant with the business policies
- The business must establish a sound policy on the minimum requirements for the devices. This can include virus and malware protection software, password security, and any corporate information sharing restrictions. The policy should also include a contingency if the employee leaves the company, uses the device for malicious purposes, or deliberately discloses intellectual property - and what the results would be if this happens.
- Keeping personal information separate from business is important for both the employee and the employer. Employees want to protect their privacy and personal information. Employers do not want to be held liable if some photos or other data is inadvertently opened while “on company time”
For software and service providers who support BYOD similar considerations should be made regarding security and access policies. Devices can vary greatly from smart phones to tablets, iPhones or laptops. Each of these types of technology will have their own unique challenges, but in the end the expense to develop solutions for each platform is offset by the costs to provide hardware that the solution will support.
Businesses should consider allowing – or even encouraging – BYOD in their workplace. The benefits and cost savings can be great for the company as well as the employees, and with the right security and authentication policies in place risk would be minimized. Whether you are a software provider or an employer, BYOD can be GOOD for your business.