In recent years, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have grown in popularity. In fact, a 2015 study showed that almost three-quarters of companies have a BYOD policy or plan to implement one in the near future. It’s important to take time now, before adopting such a policy, to understand the pros and cons of BYOD.
Primary Pros and Cons of BYOD: Convenience Vs. Security
For many organisations, the biggest benefit of a BYOD policy is increased productivity. Your employees already know how to use their own devices, so they don’t have to go through a learning curve before they can begin their work. Avoiding this hurdle is particularly beneficial for new employees who aren’t yet familiar with your company systems.
The primary drawback of BYOD is security. Businesses that allow employees to use their own devices to access company networks have to consider the possibility that those devices might be lost, stolen or otherwise compromised, giving criminals the opportunity to steal valuable company data.
As a result, you must have security safeguards and BYOD policies in place to restrict network access and keep confidential data safe.
Other Pros of BYOD: Flexibility and Financial Savings
Flexible working is important to many of today’s young employees. Millennials expect to be able to work from home, access their emails and important data while travelling and remain connected to their co-workers at all times. By allowing these tech-savvy employees to connect their devices to your company network, you free them to work from anywhere without having to save their files on flash drives or email their documents between accounts. The increased flexibility can persuade employees to put in more hours, boosting productivity across your organisation.
BYOD policies have important cost benefits for employers. By allowing employees to use devices they already own, you can reduce the amount you spend on hardware and employee training. Employees also front the costs of data and other services, further cutting costs for your organisation.
Other Cons of BYOD: Compatibility and Compliance
The downside of a BYOD approach is that you can end up with a variety of devices connected to your company systems. Your business apps, therefore, must be able to run on many operating systems, from older versions of Android to the latest release of iOS. Some devices may even run on less common operating systems, such as Windows Mobile or Blackberry OS. The costs of ensuring compatibility across all devices could eclipse the savings you make on hardware.
The other major issue is ensuring compliance with government or industry regulations. For example, businesses in the healthcare industry must follow strict rules to keep patient data secure. You may find it difficult to meet requirements when your employees can access data from anywhere using their personal devices. However, employee education and enhanced security measures such as two-factor authentication can reduce the risk of a breach.
The Solution to BYOD Problems
Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite can solve many of the security and management drawbacks of BYOD policies, while also boosting productivity. This useful suite of apps provides a consistent experience across Windows, Android and iOS operating systems, and it provides many important security benefits for enterprises.