Explain It: BYOD
Do you have your own mobile device? (Answer: Almost certainly.) Do you ever use it to conduct business-related tasks like check an email? (Again, probably yes.) According to TechPro Researcher in 2016, 59% of organizations have capitalized on the ubiquity of mobile devices and implemented BOYD programs, or "bring your own device" programs. What is BYOD, and how does it impact your business and its current VoIP products?
What is BYOD?Not to be confused with BYOB, BYOD stands for "bring your own device." It’s a simple way of saying that a business allows its workforce to utilize their own smartphones, laptops, and tablets to conduct business-related tasks in place of company-provided hardware.
When you throw business VoIP into the mix, BYOD can mean that a business can use its own devices, or have its employees use their own devices, rather than buying hardware from the VoIP provider. With most VoIP providers, you simply don’t need specialized hardware to make a phone call, just the app and your computer or phone using a softphone through apps compatible with a PBX, like 3CX(where mobile provisioning is as easy as taking a picture).
This is a perfect example of how BYOD policies and VoIP can make beautiful (and more efficient) music together.
What are the major BYOD pros and cons?Defining BYOD is only half the battle, and it’s important to consider the pros and cons of this trending program before implementing it at your business.
As we'll discuss in more detail, the major benefits of bring your own device programs include:
- Cost savings
- Freedom and flexibility
- Increased productivity
- Employee satisfaction
- Device incompatibility
- Data privacy and security
Benefits of BYOD programsThe average Windows laptop sells for around $500-$700, and the average smartphone costs about the same. When the business doesn’t have to pay for all those devices (or their upkeep!), there’s no doubt that a bring your own device program can represent significant cost savings. These savings can then be re-invested in your employees or other needed infrastructure.
A BYOD program also offers your employees the freedom and flexibility to pick their own devices. This means they can use a platform they’ll be happy with and comfortable using, which can result in increased productivity and higher levels of employee satisfaction.
Benefits for some, challenges for othersOf course, some of the biggest benefits of a BYOD program can also present problems for employees and companies alike.
For example, with a BYOD program, employees are more likely than ever to have their device on them, charged, and ready to go 24/7. This is great for the company when an important client’s server goes down at 1 AM, but not so great for an employee when it happens during a family event. Employees may feel pressured to be “always on,” which can lead to decreased work/life balance and job satisfaction.
Something else to consider is the relative age of your workforce. Younger generations typically have more exposure to technology and are more likely to own a device that they're happy to use for work. Other generations, however, may have more experience with devices that are provided for them and may not be as “on trend” with the latest technologies.
BYOD challengesOne of the most significant drawbacks to a BYOD program is device incompatibility.
It’s likely that you’ll run into issues like:
- Version mismatches
- Limited access or permissions
- Devices that don’t support your SIP protocols
The other elephant in the room is data privacy and security – both for the employer and the employee. BYOD programs often give businesses the power to access personal files on the device at any time or wipe the device in the event of theft or loss. Frankly, this can be a big turn off for an employee.
Just as importantly for the business, it can also mean that access to their confidential files is just a click away and easily shared, either intentionally or accidentally. Since employees are more responsible for updates and care, it can also expose the company to more risks when these don't happen.
How can you manage BYOD security risks?An exceptional telecom provider with experience in the BYOD arena can help you develop security policies to mitigate these serious data privacy and security risks.
These policies should include:
- Who has access to corporate data on their device
- Data security and encryption for all devices
- Storage of data on personal devices
- Removal of data on personal devices
- Data flow between personal and company devices