Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

“Bring your own device” (BYOD) is a new trend whereby companies allow their employees to bring their mobile devices (Smartphones or tablets) to work and allow them to be used for business purposes with access to company network and data. It’s a part of consumerization-of-IT wave that has started to gain serious traction in last two years. A recent survey has all the numbers.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/bring-your-own-device-becoming-accepted-business-practice-survey/63811

BYOD benefits:

1. Employees are more comfortable in using the devices of their choice. They don’t have to use two devices anymore, one for personal and one for business work.
2. With BYOD program in place, companies can avoid making investments for purchasing the devices. E.g. a company with 100 employees will usually spend $400 per Smartphone or tablet with a total cost of $40K. All that cost is now saved and so is the overhead and additional cost of commissioning, asset tracking and maintenance of the devices.

BYOD challenges:

1. With BYOD, Employees are going to store personal and business data on a single device. It is a challenge to ensure that the business data is protected.
2. Companies need to make sure that the devices are secure i.e. password policies are applied and data encryption is enabled. Normally users are not careful with their personal devices but companies cannot afford risking loss of business data in case the phone is lost or stolen
3. People tend to change gadgets as soon as something new and fancy is available. Employees will be upgrading to newer devices faster than ever. IT department has to make sure they keep themselves updated with new technology trends to ensure compliance goals are continually met. IT needs to move faster than the employees. Good Luck!
Above challenges can be alleviated to a large extent by using mobile device management tools (MDM). Overall cost for deploying these solutions is much lower than the cost of the devices.

Where BYOD won’t work?

BYOD model does not work in all cases. Some businesses want to super-secure the devices and restrict employees to use only certain applications or want the worker to access only a particular website on the device and nothing else. Of course the employee would want to have the freedom to play Angry Birds or browse news website once in a while on her “own” device. In such cases it’s better to provide a company owned devices to the employees.

Conclusion

BYOD is a new trend that has gained deep inroads into the financial services sector and looks promising to hit other domains as well. It could be beneficial to both employees and the employer. A well thought IT strategy around policy-based deployment, security, and management of “personal” devices is a pre-requisite for rolling out the BYOD program.

Lets us know what you think about BYOD. Will it work?

42Gears Mobility Systems is a leading vendor of mobile device management and security products. To know more about our game-changing approach to mobile device management visit http://www.42gears.com.

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