BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a strategy used by enterprises allowing employees and other users within the organization to use personally selected and purchased client devices to access company applications and company data opening up a fascinating world of possibilities. BYOD strategies are typically focused on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets but can also be used for PCs.
Organizations with a BYOD policy in place comes with many advantages from cost savings to increased productivity. Gartner predicts nearly 40 percent of companies will go completely BYOD by 2016.
Companies who have BYOD policies in place have found it easier to appease their workers. Workers can choose devices based on their preferences whether they like Apple devices over Android. End users can also find it easier to function and work with a BYOD policy because they can choose which applications work best for them rather than having to go through IT. This strategy helps enterprises focused on a strong mobile and cloud-focused IT strategy since employees can access their work in the cloud, improving productivity.
The reduction of new equipment costs like PCs and laptops can add up to great savings for companies. Mobile device owners are more likely to update their own software rather than taking up time IT could be spending on more critical issues. Employees using BYOD show they are willing to personally pay for a device used for business purposes. A recent study states fifty percent of companies with BYOD programs find employees are happily complying to the requirement to cover device costs.
BYOD software puts the cloud model to work for enterprises for both the company and users, giving access to different resources like storage, processing power, development platforms, applications, and SaaS. Enterprises are able to access scalable computing, software, or storage and pay only for what they've used. If organizations are able to adopt a BYOD culture, they can deploy applications in-house and companies can maintain security and meet their needs.
BYOD comes with its own risks and disadvantages. Critical company information can be at risk as employees are accessing company files through the cloud. Enterprises may also find it difficult to get employees to follow company policies.
Privacy issues and other legal concerns arise with BYOD policies. With company issued devices, companies track employee activity on their personal devices, delete personal data, and see web activity which end users aren't the biggest fans of. Some organizations still seek to monitor employee activity even with a BYOD program in place.
As BYOD adoption grows across different industries, the reliance on mobile/remote workers will increase and so will a dependence on phone networks. An increase in smartphones will be accompanied by a decrease in bandwidth as more and more workers rely on the cloud. Industry experts have found there will come a time when mobile devices will be affected by the same viruses that affect PCs and data centers around the world.
How to Minimize BYOD Risks
Key to the success of any BYOD program is keeping employees properly informed as to what they're agreeing to adhere to and what BYOD means for them as members of an organization. Policies and procedures are the first line of defense against data leaks and are only effective when everyone is on the same page.
Knowing who has access to the company network at all times will keep IT on the look out for who has what type of clearance for different levels of company data. It'll also help keep track of employees attempting to access data they're not authorized to see. It's important to classify data according to its importance whether it's tax and medical records or plans for a retreat. IT will need to establish security protocols around critical information that may need to be accessed remotely by employees working off-site.
MDM (mobile device management) solutions will provide IT with a way to minimize risk. IT will be able to lock down device functionality, limit access, guard against security breaches, and protect company critical data. Companies will be able to put BYOD to work for them and manage users effectively.