If you run your own small business, you will understand how easily the cost of technology can mount up. If you work by yourself then it can be costly to keep updating all your own equipment, but if you hire staff too then the costs are even higher. Your employees will need to be continuously connected, and that means smartphones and laptops. None of that comes cheap, and then you will need to consider that you may need to pay for software licenses as well as maintaining and replacing equipment.
However, there is a way around buying a load of expensive technology. The term ‘bring your own device’ may be quite alien to you. However, it could be something that may help to create a wave of change across your whole company. In this blog post I’ll explore some of the pros and cons of BYOD. It’s something my husband understands greatly with years of experience in service management and he’ll be chipping in with his advice as I write this!
What does BYOD mean?
The BYOD meaning is ‘bring your own device’. The idea behind BYOD is that you allow your team to bring their own technology to work. They basically use their own smartphones and computers for work. Overall, it can save a business a great deal of money, and it can also create a more productive workplace.
Is BYOD a good idea?
Here are some of the pros of a BYOD policy:
- Often, employees are quite happy to use their own devices at work. They will be familiar with the layout. They will know the programs that they have installed. Files and folders will be much easier for them to find. And they will be used to typing on and using the technology in general.
- The fact that they will know the device much better will mean that they will be much quicker at finding their way around it and getting on with work. They won’t need training to use the device.
- They can choose their own devices which should also increase happiness. They get to keep up-to-date with the latest technology if they so wish and choose a device that they are comfortable using.
- It should also mean they’ll take greater care of the device as it’s their own and they don’t want to break it!
- It makes the transition of staff a lot easier with no equipment to collect after an employee leaves and no new equipment to order or set up with a new start.
- The biggest advantage is BYOD saves a company a lot of money on the cost of devices and their maintenance.
Get greater productivity with bring your own device
Allowing your team to use their own devices will mean that they will have access to work wherever they are. This might mean they check-in and reply to emails on evenings or days off. Or if they can’t make it into work for any reason then they could easily work from home. You may find they will be accessing company data outside of work, and are proactively analysing it and finding solutions to ongoing situations.
What should you be concerned about if you have a ‘bring your own device’ policy?
Whilst a BYOD policy does present many benefits, it also has some disadvantages. Here’s a look at some of the cons of a BYOD policy.
Solving the BYOD challenges of small companies means understanding the risks that may be present in using a scheme such as this. Allowing your staff to engage with company data on devices that you do not have control over can mean that there may be security concerns. You need to develop a security plan that must be followed by the employees and is written into their contract.
Data protection is one issue that should be central in your companies BYOD policy. Having your team being able to access it from any device can put this at risk from viruses and theft. Nobody likes to think that their team is dishonest, but there is always a chance of data being used in a way that could be detrimental to the company.
Devices, even if the employees own, should still be subject to secure password login at all times, both on starting the device and from sleep mode. Company documents should also be secured with passwords where appropriate. Detailed BYOD security policies need be drawn up and adhered to.
You won’t necessarily have the same level of control over security software as you might if you owned the systems. You will need to find ways of managing this to ensure you are not putting your company at risk. There should be contractual policies in place to make sure employees have certain security systems on their computers and possibly checks to ensure these are upheld.
Another area that you will need to manage effectively is the exit procedure. When an employee leaves the company, you will need to be sure that they no longer have access or are holding any data. This may mean having the means of deleting information on personal devices.
Also, although many employees may be happy to use their own device, they may be disgruntled at having to fund the entire cost of their technology if they are expected to use it for work. They may now find the majority of their devices use is for work related purposes and thus the faster wear and tear of their technology is mainly attributed to work. It is therefore only fair to offer BOYD compensation to your employees such as a monthly expense towards their device cost and plan or a yearly cash allowance so they can buy or upgrade their devices.
Ultimately it will depend on your company and the work you do to whether BYOD is a good idea or not. If you have highly sensitive and classified information then it’s unlikely you will want to risk this being on employees personal computers. You will need to weigh up the cost reducing benefits against the potential risks. Having meticulous security and data protection policies and procedures in place will help to prevent any risks associated with a BYOD policy if you do decide to go ahead.
This is a collaborative post.
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