Save Money Without Compromising Security With Your Field Force Mobile Deployment: The COD -> BYOD Transition

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For decades, most companies assumed that they needed to buy COD (company-owned devices) for their employees if they wanted to keep their data safe. Even a few years ago, this was probably true; IT teams just didn’t have a way to keep corporate data if they asked employees to access work apps on personal devices.

Some time ago, executives wanted to use their own devices at work for the sake of convenience. This established a precedent for high-level white-collar knowledge workers using their own devices. This remained solely at the executive level for years, as enterprises could not assume that blue-collar workers owned smartphones. (In 2011, only 35% of Americans owned a smartphone; today, over 80% do.) This incentivized enterprises to provide blue-collar works with locked-down smartphones; as their limited functionality was simple to learn, any blue-collar worker could learn to use one quickly.

Thanks to recent advances in security, protecting corporate data on blue-collar employee-owned devices is now possible.

This means that if blue-collar employees utilized COD in-the-field for accessing a single app, they can now securely use their personal devices for the same purpose. As a result, we are in the middle of a major industry shift: COD to BYOD at all levels of a company, not just the executive level. 

As with any enterprise strategy, “COD to BYOD”  has both pros and cons. There is no “correct” answer; what’s right for your company depends on how much value the pros and cons have for you.

Pros:

  • The most obvious benefit, and the one that has driven most interest in COD to BYOD, is cost savings. No longer do companies need to buy devices for all of their employees; all they need to do is pay for a mobile device management solution like SureMDM by 42Gears, which costs only a few dollars per device per month.
  • Blue-collar workers typically need only one app when working in-the-field. This means that setting up and implementing BYOD systems will be straightforward. As long as the employee device can run the app, no functionality is lost by making the switch from COD to BYOD.
  • Businesses can secure data on BYOD devices via containerization- or creating a virtual container on employee devices.
  • Business apps and data reside in the container, which the company manages; the company can update, alter, or remove content from the container at will without impacting the personal content on employee devices. The user can’t take any data from the box outside of the box with methods like text copy-pasting, screenshots. 
  • Operating systems and device manufacturers have made huge strides in support for BYOD policies- most notably Android Enterprise. This lets companies implement BYOD with the brand recognition needed to show stakeholders that security is still a top priority. 
  • Because employees have experience using their own devices, they do not need to learn how to use new COD. This reduces training time and can increase efficiency.
  • Employees need only bring one device with them when working in-the-field, rather than two. This eliminates the downtime caused by switching between devices, and streamlines the way workers use devices.

Cons:

  • When choosing COD, companies select only one or a few device models to purchase in bulk. This makes testing and app validation straightforward, as IT teams only need to manage a few configurations.
    With BYOD, companies can’t rely on employees owning the same device models as each other.
    This makes testing and app validation more difficult and requires any apps to work on a wide range of devices.
  • Because companies cannot restrict employees from accessing personal data, employees may be distracted by games or social media, cutting productivity.
  • Employees may be uncomfortable using their personal devices for work, preferring to keep personal and professional data segregated on different devices.

If you are considering making the COD to BYOD leap, consider working with 42Gears. Our team provides support at every step, and our software is easy-to-use yet powerful. If you have any questions about COD, BYOD, or device management, we’d be happy to talk to you. Please email us at sales@42gears.com to start a conversation. 

Switching to a BYOD model is a big decision. 42Gears can help.

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