What is BYON?

14 September 2017 | Posted by Josh Bouk

Hot on the heels of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) comes another “bring your own” trend— Bring Your Own Network or BYON. But what is it and what are the benefits and challenges it presents to IT managers and telecoms procurement specialists?

Just as IT managers everywhere were exhaling a collective sigh of relief at having got their heads around BYOD and how best to implement a corporate policy to maximize its benefits and avoid its pitfalls, BYON has emerged as another alternative to the “corporate cube” and traditional working practices.

Driven by the proliferation and widespread availability of cheap, high-speed broadband, BYON, or Bring Your Own Network as it’s called in some quarters, is the practice of employees using their own high-speed home internet access to support their work. Like BYOD before it, the benefits to businesses adopting a BYON model are likely to make it an indispensable part of modern business infrastructure.

What Are the Benefits?

It Enables the Working from Home Trend

BYON has the potential to liberate staff from their desks, crucial to the “always on” nature of modern business. The benefits to businesses of allowing staff to work remotely are well trodden—improved staff satisfaction, greater flexibility in when and where staff can work, increased availability of staff and the breaking down of geographic barriers when hiring new staff.

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Increased Staff Satisfaction

Many employers are by now used to hearing the refrain “it’s quicker at home” from their staff, and, in many cases, it’s probably true. A personal network is much less likely to suffer from the issues in traffic and bandwidth that large scale shared networks often do. Implementing a BYON program means staff no longer rely on a spotty or slow network connection, increasing productivity and minimizing staff frustration and stress. Alongside this, it can actually save staff money, with reduced need for commuting or travel for physical meetings and offer a better work-life balance.

No Need for Business Class Cables

In the past, any business looking to equip staff working from home regularly were faced with a stark choice: install a costly business class internet or phone cable direct to the employee’s house or suffer the problems associated with a poor-quality home connection. The advent of super-fast, affordable broadband has changed this, businesses no longer need to worry about the quality of their employee’s internet connection when they’re off site, as in many cases, home connections are of a similar quality to those in the workplace.

It Makes IT's Job Easier

While it may take a little getting used to for some IT departments, BYON has the potential to offer IT enormous benefits. The beauty of BYON is in its simplicity, all staff really need to get started is their own internet connection and a VPN to securely access corporate systems.

Compare a BYON model with the headache of providing and managing a business class service in the employee's home, setting up and maintaining a business class connection, and the benefits to IT managers become clear. It’s a simple case of using a plug and play solution vs one that’s costly, dated and difficult to scale.

Using a VPN has the added benefit of being considerably cheaper than past solutions to the working from home puzzle such as leased lines, remote access servers or running an expensive business class cable through to the employee’s home. Instead, with a VPN, employees need only connect to the nearest service provider's access point using their own internet connection, dramatically cutting the costs associated.

And the Challenges? 

The major drawback of BYON is an obvious one: even the most conscientious employee is likely to question why their employer is asking them to shoulder the cost of a high-speed broadband connection. Which poses the question, how do employers go about accurately reimbursing staff for the costs incurred by BYON, particularly if the company is a large one with hundreds of employees working from home each month?

Businesses could use indirect reimbursement: funds are paid straight into the employees account through payroll or expense report process, which is then paid to the provider by the employee. However, this is problematic, it places the onus on the employee to manage payment to providers and leaves them out of pocket until the reimbursement comes through. Unsurprisingly, more bills to pay and being hit in the pocket is unlikely to give staff an incentive to use their own internet connection for work.

Instead, businesses should consider using a BYON payments solution that allows for direct-to-carrier payments. The way this works is simple, rather than reimbursing the employee directly, the reimbursement is credited to the employee's carrier account whenever they are invoiced. The benefits of this solution are twofold, for staff it offers an incentive to use their own connection for work, without the problems mentioned in the indirect model.

For IT and telecoms managers, a payments solution offers a way to alleviate a business pain-point. Firstly, by giving them greater visibility of users and the expenses they’re incurring. Secondly, by giving them greater control, for example, non-adherents to policy can be tracked and their reimbursement’s paused, arming IT managers with a powerful deterrent for tackling misuse. Finally, automating the payment and approval process allows managers to take a hands off approach to reimbursement for BYON costs, saving them time, resource, and a headache. 

It’s clear that as the way we work changes and employees move further away from using employer provided devices and networks, BYON will become an important part of organisations’ IT and telecoms infrastructure. While it has the potential to be a game-changer for staff and businesses alike, it also has the potential to create a considerable headache for IT managers everywhere.

To avoid complicating what should be a simple and liberating development in the way staff work, leveraging the right reimbursement solution is essential. So, if your business is considering BYON, this is the place to start.

To learn more about implementing a BYON model and how Cass’ Bring Your Own Network solution can help you streamline the process, book a discovery session today.

Talk to Cass about Bring Your Own Network Management

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