Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD): an Overview

Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD): an Overview

Technology is changing the way the world does business at a pace never before seen in history. Computers are becoming more powerful and more mobile with each passing day, and our smartphones have become more powerful than desktop computers were 15 years ago. In conjunction with the proliferation of the internet, virtually limitless amounts of information are available from anywhere in the world at any time of day or night.

Part of this transition has been driven by the increasing affordability of mobile computing devices like smartphones and tablets. For a long time, large companies, out of concern for confidential and privileged information, banned the use of personal smartphones for employees while at work. In addition to issues related to personal calls and text message on company time, more significant concerns arose when employees wanted to use their personal devices for corporate email and to access internal servers and databases.

Fortunately, there is a growing trend which allows companies to improve morale while increasing employee efficiency. “Bring-your-own-device”, or BYOD, is an increasingly popular policy in which employees are encouraged to use their personal mobile devices for work.

There are a number of benefits to both the employee and employer with this policy. For example, employees are happier because they are able to use their personal devices at work. For less tech-savvy employees in particular, this alleviates the hassle of learning a different mobile operating system if the phone they use is not running the same OS as company phones. In addition, being able to use a personal device also means employees will be more responsive after work hours.

In the past, it was common for employees to turn off their work phones when they left for the day. With BYOD, employees will almost always have their work phone in their pocket, after hours or not.

However, before implementing a BYOD program, companies need to look at numerous issues and decide what the right fit is for their organization. Issues may include: stipends (will employees receive a monthly reimbursement because they are using a personal device for work?); taxes (is the employee or employer responsible for taxes on stipends or device charges?); HR and legal issues (what happens if an hourly employee gets an email after working hours, does the company have to pay them overtime?); and support (company devices are supported by an IT department, what happens if and when an employee’s device breaks or is stolen – who helps the employee and who is responsible for incurred fees?) As well, businesses should take a hard look at the costs involved in a BYOD policy. Often in times, a BYOD policy could end up costing more than a corporate-owned device plan.

Additionally, if a company is going to implement a BYOD policy, it is absolutely essential to protect corporate information and servers by implementing a Mobile Device Management system such as BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) or AirWatch’s Enterprise Mobility Management Solution. Mobile Device Management, or MDM, is a combination of software and company policies that protect and manage sensitive company information and the devices that are able to access it. Although it is possible to have an IT department run an MDM solution in-house, choosing one of the hosted solutions with software and services running in the cloud, is more effective and less expensive for all but the largest of companies.

With all things considered, before a company makes the jump to a Bring-Your-Own-Device policy they should seek the help of an organization that will assess the environment and give insight on the right fit for their business. By knowing what direction they should take their mobile device policy, steps can then be taken to implement the right management solution.

Want to learn more about BYOD and other corporate mobile device programs? Want to find the right fit for your business? Get in touch with us and find out how Cloud Capital Group’s MDM solutions can help you manage your company’s mobile devices.

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