What is BYOD and Should your Business Allow it?

The world loves an acronym and that’s especially the case with the business world. One of the latest trends of the business world is BYOD, which stands for Bring Your Own Device. It has even spawned its own acronym family with Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT), Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) and Bring Your Own PC (BYOPC) all part of the same phenomenon.

As the name implies, all of these involve employees taking their own devices into work for use and this is part of the trend known as the ‘consumerisation of IT’. This process has seen workers take the sort of consumer electronic products they enjoy using at home into the workplace, influencing the way we carry out our jobs.

So what about your business? Should you be relaxed about your employees bringing their own laptops, phones and tablets into work to use?

One of the big benefits from BYOD is that it’s tough for IT departments to keep up to speed with the sort of high-tech products people have at home. Someone with the latest iPad or laptop will also be used to working with their kit and won’t want to have to ‘downgrade’ to carry out tasks in the office. It’s this factor that caused Richard Absalom, an analyst at Ovum, to state: “Trying to stand in the path of consumerised mobility is likely to be a damaging and futile exercise.”

What is BYOD and Should your Business Allow it?

BYOD doesn’t just ensure your business is well stocked with the latest kit and that employees are using items they are happy and familiar with. It also means that it’s more straightforward for employees to work from home which, in turn, can help to increase productivity and your ability to be a flexible employer. There are also cost savings when it comes to hardware and software which can be significant.

The problem comes with control. IT departments can keep a close eye on standard-issue company kit, knowing all of the hardware and software that they’re dealing with. BYOD not only threatens that uniformity but also opens up possible issues over security. It’s much harder to run a strict security regime that keeps out hackers and viruses if everyone is merrily working away on their own products. There’s also the worry that it’d take a lot of time and effort to make sure everyone gets proper access to the systems you need them to log into.

Companies such as 1E offer the sort of virtual desktop software and audit products that will be crucial to ensuring this is a smooth process. Businesses should weigh these up as an important part of the move to BYOD – the truth is that it doesn’t need to be that tricky if you know what you’re doing.

Also, while it’s nice for your workforce to be able to work flexibly, it can be easy for your staff to lose their work/life balance. It’s hard to keep track of who is doing what and when and sometimes staff will feel they need to log on at home even when you haven’t asked them to, risking tiredness and burnout.

BYOD is popular with employees, and might be about to become even easier as the latest developments make technology wearable. A business should be guided by its own circumstances. If you’re staffed by a tech-savvy workforce which wants to put its talents and equipment to use to help the company go forward, then you’d be foolish not to consider BYOD. However, it’s vital to keep security and the practical IT considerations at the forefront of your mind to ensure it doesn’t undermine your business.

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