Controlling IT costs while maintaining state-of-the-art equipment and security are two of the more challenging aspects of running a business in the 21st Century. However, a solution may lie in the growing trend of BYOD: Bring Your Own Device.
With BYOD, employees are allowed–or mandated–to use their personally-owned mobile devices (laptops, smart phones, and tablets) in the workplace, thus saving the company the cost of purchasing this equipment for its staff.
While the cost savings can be large, there are some potential downsides of BYOD that could jeopardize a company if not well-managed. It’s important to examine both sides of this technological coin.
The most obvious benefit of BYOD is the ability to manage IT costs and put a better spin on a company’s bottom line. Small companies, in particular, can develop a mobile workforce without a huge cash investment. A recent Gartner press release stated that the advantages of BYOD also include “creating new mobile workforce opportunities” and “increasing employee satisfaction.”
Some of the new mobile applications, says Gartner, include time sheets, site check-ins and self-service HR functions such as adding new beneficiaries and requesting time off which will make life easier for employees whether they are in the office or on the road.
With a little out-of-the-box thinking, there is the possibility for BYOD to expand innovation in every industry beyond just email and mobile communications.
Gartner sites two major areas where companies can get into trouble with BYOD.
The first is security. Employees may decide to use a minimum level of protection on their own devices; they can also visit any sites and install any apps they choose. This opens the door for Mobile malware that can put a company’s sensitive information at risk.
A mobile device management (MDM) software agent installed on all employee-owned equipment can help prevent these security issues. A URL filtering tool and company app store can also help to keep proprietary data safe on a variety of mobile devices.
What’s more, Gartner recommends that the IT department, not the employee, determine what mobile devices and operating systems are acceptable to the company. For example, a basic phone or even an older smart phone likely will not have the necessary security capabilities. A security baseline should be put in place that sets certain requirements on log-ins, password controls, data encryption, hardware requirements and any other possible security risks.
Employee privacy rights encompass the second BYOD issue, particularly wiping the personal device of someone leaving the company. Gartner suggests meeting with legal experts for specific advice on creating a data wipe policy.
Currently, BYOD is showing up more often in middle-sized to large corporations, those with 2,500 to 5,000 employees and anywhere from $500 million to $5 billion in revenue, says Gartner.
As for the future, a Gartner global survey of CIO’s showed that “38 percent of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016,” relying instead on BYOD. This number could grow to 50 percent by 2017.
However it plays out, BYOD will create both benefits and challenges that are sure to change the landscape of business environments across the globe.
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Author Bio:†Sakshi Sharma is working as a mobility strategist at SDI and the author of this article. She loves blogging and has vast knowledge on Mobile & Web app development. She can be reached at email@example.com or call on 408 802 2885. For more details Please Visit www.softwaredevelopersindia.com †to learn more!