BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is simply the practice of giving employees the option of using their own devices – such as smartphones, tablets or laptops – for work, instead of company-owned hardware.
BYOD policies can deliver savings and reduce pressure on stretched IT departments. However, such programs must be well managed if they are to be a help, not a hindrance, to the enterprise.
Isn’t BYOD Just Another Business Buzzword?
It might get thrown around a lot by professionals, some of which may not know exactly what it means, but BYOD certainly isn’t just empty hype and hot air.
Already we’re seeing the majority of businesses embrace some form of BYOD, with more than 67% of workers now using their own devices at work and 72% of companies either supporting BYOD or planning to support it, according to Tech Pro Research.
Whatever your opinion of BYOD, the truth is that at this point it's irrepressible. Whether or not you have an official BYOD program, many employees are going to connect personal devices to work networks, as well as use them for work tasks.
While it's unlikely you'll stop employees from checking business emails on their smartphone or reviewing documents on their tablet, you can take back control of how personal devices are used in your business by implementing a BYOD program, supported by a clear and comprehensive policy - helping mitigate security risks and increase financial benefits.
What are the Benefits of BYOD?
Purchasing a new phone and laptop (along with any peripherals required) for every employee is extremely expensive. One of BYOD’s biggest benefits is the potential to reduce enterprise technology spend by scaling back on the number of devices you purchase.
There's also the opportunity to increase profit as a direct result of improving productivity. Allowing large and diverse enterprise workforces to use the technology they prefer, rather than a one-device-fits-all solution, empowers employees to get more done.
It's this increased productivity that's widely vindicated BYOD programs, with a Cisco study showing U.S. BYOD workers save an average of 81 minutes per week – which adds up to nearly nine working days a year.
It’s not just good for business though, BYOD programs have also been shown to have a positive effect on employees too, with 78% of BYOD workers saying that it helps them achieve a better balance between their professional and personal lives.
BYOD is also an opportunity for enterprises to better utilize overstretched IT departments. Rather than simply trying to keep pace with the evolution of technology, your IT team can focus on areas that drive measurable results for your business.
What are the Risks?
BYOD is clearly beneficial for a business, but there are risks too and security tops the list of concerns, with 81% of managers surveyed citing data security as the primary barrier to BYOD adoption
Although they’re right to be concerned about BYOD security, business owners are also complicit in the issue by not doing enough to manage their program. In fact, 80% of all BYOD is completely unmanaged according to a SecureEdge Networks' study.
Other surveys show that 77% of employees say they’ve received no instruction in the risks of using their own devices at work and, even more worryingly, only 64% of companies have a BYOD policy in place.
How to Prepare for BYOD
The best way to get the most out of your BYOD program while making sure your business remains secure is to develop and enforce a strong BYOD policy.
This isn’t too different from any other policy your business has, it’s simply a collection of rules, best-practices and guidelines to help employees use their own devices safely and securely at work.
Although it needs to be easy to understand, your BYOD policy is still an important document and there’s a lot to take into account - including reimbursement, eligibility and legal issues.
For a more in-depth look at all the questions you need to ask and points you need to cover when creating your BYOD policy, download our free, straightforward guide today.