Advantages and Disadvantages of BYOD
Sixty-two percent of companies will have a BYOD (bring your own device) policy in place by the end of this year, according to TechRepublic's BYOD Business Strategy Survey. That's a huge increase from the 44 percent that allowed it at the end of 2012. If you're thinking about adopting a BYOD policy at your company, you probably already know there are some divided opinions on the matter, especially when it comes to cost, trust and security. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of BYOD in the workplace:
The Advantages: Cost, Flexibility & Better Tech
One of the biggest pros for companies to adopt a BYOD policy is the cost savings on hardware. According to PC World, by not having to supply staff with computers, voice or data services and the costs associated with them, business stand to save as much as $80 per month per user. Surprisingly, employees are happy to pay for the devices themselves, since they get to choose what they want to use. Most of the time, these are not additional purchases, because most employees already have a personal mobile phone and laptop.
Since the employees are purchasing these devices, they tend to be newer and more cutting-edge, so the company benefits from the latest features. And the makers of mobile devices are prepared to bridge the gap between work and home—BlackBerry, for example, has technology that enables users to seamlessly switch between their personal data and their work data. This leads to increased flexibility and freedom for employees, which in turn increases job satisfaction and loyalty.
The Disavantages: Trust and Security
Network security is the biggest hurdle to BYOD. According to a recent SAN Mobility/BYOD Security Survey, more than 60 percent of organizations are allowing BYOD, but only 9 percent felt they knew what devices are accessing the sensitive data on their network.
This is a huge issue. If the company issues the hardware, they know it is compliant with their IT standards, and they can mandate what their employees can and cannot do with them. When it is an employee's personal device that he or she bought, it becomes tougher to regulate.
Plus, what happens when workers lose their devices? USA Today reports that in 2011, $30 billion worth of mobile devices were lost. Not only do you need excellent security procedures, but also a top-notch lockdown procedure in order to protect your data, including the ability to wipe devices remotely.
And it is not just the employers that have trust issues. Employees do not want their bosses knowing the ins and outs of their personal business. A Mobile Iron survey revealed that over 50 percent of employees 18-34 years old were not comfortable with their employers seeing any of their personal data.
The Solution: Transparency
If your company is going to adopt BYOD, make sure everyone in your organization knows what you expect of them and what they can expect of you. Have a strict policy that details who has access to what and what happens in the case of a lost or stolen device. Ensure that the approved devices can handle high levels of encryption but still give the freedom of a personal device. And most importantly, make sure these policies are enforced at all levels of the company.