Bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon is making inroads into the corporate world at a rapid pace. Employees want to use their personal smartphones, iPads, tablets and laptops at work to access enterprise data and systems. While many companies have been and still are skeptical of this growing trend, there seems to be no stopping. Many believe BYOD increases employee morale and productivity. Sheer freedom and the convenience of using their own devices, makes employees feel liberated and happy. Employees are more comfortable with and adept at using a personal device – making them more productive.
Very often personal devices are updated and cutting-edge, so enterprise gain huge benefits using latest features. Further, BYOD programs shift costs to the user. After all employees end up paying for mobile devices and data services. It appears to be a win-win situation for employees and employers. Right? Well, not exactly. When you let users bring their own devices, you are putting a lot at stake in terms of corporate security and confidentiality.
Of course, you shouldn’t let users bring in any devices they want and open floodgates of risks. There are some very strong arguments not to allow BYOD. Security concerns happens to top the list, but is certainly not the only factor playing on the minds of decision makers and IT teams. Organizations ultimately tend to lose the control, especially in absence of well-defined BYOD polices.
Consumerization of IT and BYOD: On the rise
Traditionally, many companies permitted employees to work only on corporate-owned devices. However, computers became affordable, mobile and connected, more and more people began using home computers to work on after office hours. Fast forward to today the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and iPad, along with rapidly increasingly remote employee base has forced enterprises to rethink their mobile programs. Many organizations are implementing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs which allows employees to use their personal devices be it a notebook, tablet or smartphone for professional work.
It is evident that “consumerization of IT”, which includes the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is on a rise. But it is worth realizing that “consumerization of IT” is not just limited to bringing your own device to work. It is about the larger influence and its implications on changing the way traditional enterprise apps look and operate.
IT managers simply can’t remain oblivion to the fact that consumerization of IT is here to stay and not just a tech fad. The real challenge is to develop policies to accommodate this phenomenon, enhance employee satisfaction while keeping secure company confidentiality, security, and compliance needs.
What triggered BYOD growth?
#1 Burgeoning Costs: BYOD programs shift costs to the users. After all employees pay for device or hardware cost, data services, maintenance, and other associated costs. Very often technology used by organizations needs to be updated at regular intervals or becomes obsolete. In such cases, by allowing employees to bring their own devices, organizations can benefit from latest technology with incurring costs. For organizations looking to cut costs, BYOD might appear to be a cost-effective proposition.
#2 Happy Employees=Productive Employees: Undoubtedly, when employees work on their preferred devices, they are happy and motivated. Being an expert user, allows effortless navigation across the device, increasing productivity. The very fact that the device is not forced upon them or simply selected by the IT team improves employee satisfaction. It allows employees to carry a single device for both personal and professional use, rather than different devices.
#3 Employee recruitment and retention: Employees prefer flexible working environment that enables work-life balance. Companies supporting BYOD and several mobile technology program in the workplace come across as forward-thinking and progressive entities. Naturally, employees tend to prefer to work for such companies.
BYOD: A Caveat
Hidden Costs, Oh My Goodness: While there is a lot of hullabaloo about BYOD and the reduced costs, organizations might be up for a rude shock with the hidden costs associated with managing BYOD program. The sudden increase in employees wanting to join BYOD policy could result in unexpected need for more bandwidth in order to eliminate performance issues. Your IT team could be swamped with calls for help and troubleshooting. The cost of ensuring governance, risk management, as well as compliance – is painstakingly high when devices need to be chased down on individual basis.
Strain on Corporate Infrastructure: IT can expect increased costs in terms of providing support associated with assisting employees comply with BYOD policies. IT must also be prepared for the additional demand and subsequent strain on the corporate resources and infrastructure from personal devices connecting to enterprise systems.
Security Woes: One of the biggest concerns with BYOD program is security. Remember, employees are constantly using their smartphones and tablets for personal reasons and tag around the devices constantly. Smart devices are invariably connected to the network and users frequently access corporate data from less secure environments. Also, because the equipment is personal, employees are often slack and resist security measures on the device. In these cases, IT must find ways to keep protect interests of both smart devices and the business environment.
Wrath of Disgruntled Employees: Unhappy employees can be an organization’s worst nightmare. And unhappy employee with access to sensitive corporate data on personal device can be a rival firm’s delight. You need a strong policy that acts as a control mechanism and governs how corporate data will be retrieved from the personal laptop, tablet, or a smartphone.
Stolen, lost mobile devices leak data: Whether it is sheer carelessness or misfortune, employees misplace their smart phones all the time. Companies do believe they have full protection with the remote wipe and the ability to safeguard data on lost or stolen device. However, there is one problem. Employees don’t report stolen or lost device immediately and take steps to find the device before actually informing IT team. This time window could result in corporate data being compromised.
I hope you liked the first part of Consumerization of IT and BYOD: An Inevitable Change. To continue with the second part (the last part), Keep following our blog.