Bring Your Own Device — Empowerment, Or Risk?
A generation ago, the thought of a company allowing workers at an office to bring their own landline telephones and desktop computers into work would be laughable (and physically impossible). Today, however, companies seek to empower their employees by allowing them access to company networks, programs and apps using a BYOD, or ‘Bring Your Own Device,’ protocol. Now that it’s possible, why have some companies shied away from implementing it?
Statistics On Device Ownership
Many companies pride themselves on providing mobile phones, laptops or tablets to their employees as a means of creating rewards, keeping in close contact and assuring nobody gets left behind on memos and updates. However, BYOD eliminates these company costs. Gartner suggests that by 2017, half of all office workers will be responsible for bringing their own devices to work in order to get the job done. As such, some companies approach BYOD from the perspective of empowerment, but many more view it as a policy of dollars and cents.
Pew Research Center reported, as of May 2013, 56 percent of Americans have a smartphone, and 34 percent have a tablet. Additionally, 63 percent of cell owners use their mobile device to go online; 34 percent going online primarily with a mobile device. The age of mobile use is increasingly embraced by businesses and, if used correctly, the trend can improve employee efficiency and productivity.
What is the dollar value of empowering an employee by allowing them to use their own device? While corporate intangibles like morale can be difficult to link to non-tangibles like productivity, the benefits of BYOD speak for themselves. One of the most appealing benefits for a company is the cost-saving factor. Employees can use their own devices and upgrade technology at their own discretion. Companies will not need to upgrade as often and employees are happier when they can choose their own devices. Employees are already familiar and comfortable with their own devices without needing training.
A BYOD policy also supports a cloud-based strategy and platform. Employees can access their work from anywhere. Remote workers and traveling employees can boost efficiency and productivity by embracing the flexibility BYOD brings.
The largest obstacle to complete BYOD success and integration lies within the variety of devices a network of employees utilizes. Offices have a need to secure these devices, and keep their private company data safe. An office of dozens or even hundreds of employees can represent a huge number of different mobiles, many of which may be incompatible with company programs. Worse, the security of a network drops when a larger number of people have access to it; each addition mobile device represents a way into the network if it is lost, stolen, hacked, or carelessly utilized by an employee who disregards the security protocols associated with the company BYOD policy. BlackBerry EMM is a platform that includes unlimited support, security umbrellas, immediate updates and remote wiping ability and is a great start to creating a BYOD policy that will empower your employees without too much risk.