If you run a business or you’re interested in evolving business trends, you may have come across the concept of BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device.
This programme involves employees using their own devices, most commonly laptops, smartphones, and tablets, to access company data in the workplace. BYOD is a contentious issue, as there are risks involved. However, it is possible to implement a successful BYOD scheme at work. If you’re interested, this step by step guide will hopefully provide you with the information you need to get an effective scheme up and running.
What is BYOD?
BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. Sometimes, you may also come across the acronyms, BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology), BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) or BYOPC (Bring Your Own PC). Ultimately, the aim of BYOD for small and medium-sized businesses is to cut overheads and improve productivity. However, to be successful, the programme must be implemented correctly.
The BYOD concept revolves around the notion that the vast majority of employees own and use laptops, tablets, and smartphones on a regular basis. Enabling them to use these devices at work could lead to reduced costs and improved efficiency. The worry is that BYOD can be more difficult to regulate, and this could result in headaches for a company director.
Pros and Cons of BYOD
Like most things in business, there are pros and cons to BYOD.
BYOD is becoming more commonplace, and there are good reasons for this. For starters, in this day and age, most employees own a laptop or smartphone, and in most cases, these gadgets are more advanced and more modern than those provided by a company’s IT department. We tend to update our phones and buy new tablets on a much more regular basis than a firm invests in new desktops, for example. The fact that employees are stumping up the money for new devices and that businesses don’t have to provide a second device for their workforce, for example, a company phone, also reduces costs for owners. If you throw in maintenance costs and the cost of software updates, savings can be significant.
Increased productivity, flexibility and employee satisfaction
As well as cost-saving, BYOD can also increase flexibility for workers and boost morale. Using devices that facilitate remote working enables employees to adopt a more adaptable approach to their schedules. Staff members also tend to be happier when they’re using their own devices, and they can work faster. It’s also possible to tailor the way you work to suit your preferences when you’re using your own phone or laptop.
BOYD doesn’t come without risks, and there are some disadvantages to adopting this way of working at the office.
Increased employee costs
If a company isn’t providing you with a mobile phone or a laptop, and you’re expected to provide this yourself, you may end up forking out a significant amount of money. This can lead to staff resenting their employer, and it may even cause them to look elsewhere. Although many people take an interest in technology, not everyone is desperate to spend their earnings on the latest phone or a fancy new laptop.
When you’ve got an office full of computers that are all programmed in exactly the same way, you know what you’re dealing with, and if there is a problem, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find a solution. If you work in the IT department, and you’ve got people bringing you different phones, tablets, and laptops on a daily basis, it’s going to be much more difficult to keep track of what’s going on, and find solutions.
Many business owners are wary about the prospect of enabling employees to access data, which may be sensitive, on their own devices. Passwords may not be as secure, and the threat of attacks by hackers or viruses is an issue that requires careful consideration.
A step by step guide to implementing a successful BYOD programme
BYOD can be successful, but it’s essential that it’s regulated in the right way. To ensure that your BYOD scheme works effectively, take these steps:
Draw up a policy
If you’re rolling out a BYOD strategy, it’s essential that there is a document or a policy in place that outlines exactly how it’s going to work to minimise the risk of problems. Lay out some rules based on discussions with your IT department, and put everything down on paper. Don’t rely on conversations or word of mouth. Every employee should be aware of what they can and cannot do when it comes to bringing a laptop or phone to work.
Insist on security measures
It can take just one hiccup to cause major issues when it comes to security. If one employee’s laptop is hacked, this can have disastrous consequences for your business network, so encourage employees to install antivirus software on any device they use at the office or at home if they’re accessing company systems. As an employer, you could consider the option of funding this software and insisting that it is installed on every device. It’s also essential to ensure that your network is secure. It’s highly likely that a large number of people are going to be accessing your wifi connection on a daily basis, so ensure that’s it’s stable and protected.
Stick to your guns
There’s no point in having a robust policy if you deviate from it, or only part of the workforce pays attention to it. Be consistent and stick to your guns.
Discuss plans with your employees
It only takes one employee to venture off-piste to cause an employer a headache, so talk to every employee about the BYOD policy, how it works, and how it could benefit them. Get everyone together, and make sure new employees understand the ins and outs of the policy.
BYOD is an increasingly popular feature of modern offices. If you’re looking into the possibility of enabling employees to bring their own devices to work, this guide should help you implement a successful scheme and eliminate potential hurdles.