IT Pro

What is BYOD?

By Clare Hopping

In a world where flexible working is becoming the norm, whether working from a hotdesk, from home or while traveling between meetings, it’s becoming increasingly important to be untethered from a desktop PC.

Having a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy makes this much more cost effective for businesses while being able to manage devices from a centralized console.

The idea behind BYOD is that employees can use their own personal device for both work and play, allowing them to choose the best smartphone, tablet or computer for their dual needs.

The benefits of BYOD

The most obvious benefits of BYOD are increased productivity and lower IT costs.

Employees who are able to choose their own device for work, whether that’s a smartphone, tablet or computer are more motivated and that means they’re more productive.

IT departments don’t need to stump up the cash for new equipment or software licenses and employees are more likely to look after their equipment if it’s their personal device too, so maintenance and repair costs will be lower.

Additionally, technology chosen by employees is likely to be more up to date than IT departments can offer everyone, which means they’ll often feature faster processors, more advanced security such as fingerprint readers and can be used alongside the latest iterations of apps and software to ensure workers have the resources they need at all times.

The challenges of BYOD

The most significant challenge of implementing a BYOD policy is that everyone will have a different device, which can make management and compatibility across applications a headache for the IT department. Each device will have different capabilities and may run on a different version of an operating system (iOS vs. Android, Mac OS vs. Windows), which makes unifying IT almost impossible.

Additionally, security is a huge concern for businesses with A BYOD policy. Not only does it mean IT departments have to be extra-vigilant with their MDM (mobile device management) policies, employees also need to be educated about the dangers of having access to confidential company information on their personal device.

This can put an extra burden on the IT department, which could take away from the productivity gains experienced by employees outside the department.

Key considerations before implementing a BYOD policy

Before you make the jump to BYOD, it’s important to ensure you have the policies in place before you invite employees to start introducing their personal devices into the corporate environment.

These include:

  • Having a list of devices your employees can and can’t use. Although you should be as open as possible, do not permit devices with a poor security record. This may involve only permitting devices made by specific manufacturers or operating systems.

  • Enforce a stringent security policy for all devices, such as only permitting certain passwords (they must include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, at least one number and a symbol for example).

  • Invest in staff training so employees are aware of the risks if their device falls into the wrong hands.

  • Register each and every device that is being used for work, whether that’s a smartphone, outside tablet, laptop, or even smart watch.
  • Ensure your network can be locked down sufficiently to resist attacks and your infrastructure has the capacity to run BYOD.

  • Define which applications are allowed to be installed on devices and which aren’t, or at least which can be run on your corporate network.

 

This article was written by Clare Hopping from IT Pro and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.