What is BYOD? What are the pros and cons of a BYOD model?

Mar 31, 2022 | 42Gears Team

Exploring BYOD and its benefits along with possible risks

What is BYOD?

In the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model, businesses define a set of policies to allow their employees to use their own devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and tablets to access business applications, enterprise data, work emails, and connect to the corporate network.

BYOD is believed to have a positive impact on businesses and worker productivity. Based on a research report, BYOD policies can help generate $350 per employee every year. That’s why businesses have gradually started adopting BYOD policies. 

A BYOD policy must outline the types of devices employees are allowed to use, software and tools [such as Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Mobile Application Management (MAM)] that must be installed to secure devices and corporate data, and the extent to which employees will be allowed to use personal devices for work (work-related apps or jobs that are allowed to access on personal phones).  

In order to protect corporate assets and data from cyber threats, it’s imperative that businesses  understand the risks and benefits associated with BYOD policies. 

What are the pros of adopting a BYOD policy?

Adopting a BYOD model has multiple benefits for companies and their employees. It allows employees to choose mobile devices they are familiar with and comfortable using. In addition, it allows companies to reduce hardware costs significantly as they no longer need to buy devices for employees.

Let’s explore the benefits in detail:

Improved Productivity

Here are a few statistics for you:

  • Employees say smartphones boost productivity by 34% and save them 58 minutes per day. (Frost & Sullivan
  • 49% of employees say that they are more productive using their own devices. (Source: Forbes)

Cost Savings

The more the number of employees using their own devices for work, the fewer the number of assets the company has to purchase, issue, track, manage, repair, and maintain. This clearly reduces operational costs. 

Improved Employee Relations

Employees feel more comfortable when they use their own devices. They feel empowered as they can be more productive using their own device - they don’t need any training to learn how to use a specific device (or device model). 

Fewer Devices to Carry

With the BYOD model, employees don’t need to carry multiple devices such as work devices (which can be multiple) and personal devices. From a single (personal) device, employees can manage everything (both professional and personal things), which not only ensures a hassle-free experience but also increases their productivity. 

What are the cons (risks) of using a BYOD model?

Data Security Risks

Data security threats are a major concern with BYOD adoption. Businesses need to clearly define policies on how to prevent threats from entering the environment and the kind of remedial actions that will be taken in case they do. A framework should be designed to explain how business-critical data should be used and how to secure them from possible threats. 

A few statistics on security risks:

  • 74% of participants consider careless members of staff as the most likely source of an attack. (EY)
  • 56% of enterprises believe they are unlikely to detect a sophisticated threat. (EY)
  • On average, 2000, or more unsafe, malicious apps are installed on large enterprise employees’ mobile devices. (Veracode, 2015)

Lack of Consistency and Uniformity

Another drawback of BYOD adoption is a lack of consistency and uniformity in the system. When you allow BYOD, users might use different devices based on different OS platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows, or Mac. In addition to the platforms, their versions may also vary (i.e. some may have the latest version of an OS  while others may have outdated versions). In that case, employees need to understand and learn different technologies and platforms-related things to collaborate with others. 

Threats Caused by Lost BYO Device

If an employee-owned device is lost or stolen, it could lead to third parties accessing sensitive corporate information or apps which can be dangerous for the organization. Other than that, if an employee leaves the company and the sensitive information or apps are not deleted from the device, it could lead to data theft. 

How can a BYOD policy be implemented effectively?

After analyzing the pros and cons of BYOD, it is clear that an organization must carefully examine multiple factors before adopting the BYOD model. The organization has to define a proper BYOD policy that includes details such as the extent of data access employees would be allowed through their personal devices. Additionally, all possible remedial actions should be chalked out and listed in advance so immediate action can be taken in case a security breach happens. However, while securing organizational data, it is also important to keep the privacy and security of the employees’ personal data in mind. 

So far, we have analyzed all benefits and risks pertaining to BYOD. In order to leverage all the benefits with minimum risks, you need to implement BYOD with a UEM solution. One reliable MDM solution performing exceedingly well in this space is 42Gears’ SureMDM. It offers an easy way to secure corporate data on BYO devices while providing necessary tools to IT teams to ensure privacy controls. 

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to manage BYO devices?

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