Gone are the days of begrudgingly using your office’s computers and tablets to get your work done. One of the hottest things in business right now is “bring your own device” (BYOD) computing—instead of using your office’s devices at work, you bring your own.
Of course, there are caveats to what otherwise sounds like a simple and reasonable concept. Here are the pros and cons of BYOD computing for businesses of all sizes.
Face it, different employees prefer to use different devices, operating systems and data plans, and it’s difficult to find one of each that will appease everyone on a company’s team. When individual employees are able to use the devices they are familiar with at work, they are happier and more productive.
BYOD computing is also capable of saving businesses money. Rather than paying for brand new devices upfront, businesses benefit from having employees bring in devices they already own.
Finally, BYOD computing is supported by the cloud, which is being used more and more every day by small, medium-size, and enterprise-level businesses. Instead of linking devices on a physical network, employees can securely share and access data via the cloud. This means that teams are able to work anytime and anywhere. The flexibility and agility offered by connected devices enable greater collaboration, communication and efficiency.
Most businesses that engage in BYOD computing partially or fully reimburse employees for their data plans or pay for device upgrades and upkeep. If the employer requires personal devices to be used in the workplace, the company is also responsible for the wear and tear that result from work-based activities. As a result, most businesses that leverage BYOD computing also devise contracts that lay out what the company will and will not pay for, how often, and exceptions to the rules.
Data security is a major concern for those who bring their own devices to work. Businesses are entitled to view and manipulate data relevant to their operations, which presents an open door to employees’ devices. To avoid invading employees’ privacy or affecting their personal data, businesses should employ strict written policies about what data is theirs and what data is the employees’.
Many businesses also deploy mobile device management (MDM) programs, which treat private data separately from corporate data. A similar result can be achieved by installing virtual desktops on employee laptops and tablets. A virtual desktop separates the devices from their operating systems, which allows an employee to enjoy both a work and personal desktop on the same device. These programs are immensely helpful in compartmentalizing corporate and private data; however, businesses that use MDM programs or virtual desktops should still have written BYOD computing policies in place.
For many businesses, the pros of BYOD computing outweigh the cons, making it worthwhile for employees to bring devices of their choosing to work. Does your business employ BYOD computing? After considering the pros and cons, would BYOD computing be a good option for your business?