The increase in the number of employees now bringing their own devices (BYOD) into the modern working environment is only going to increase in popularity and regularity. For those of us old enough to recall the first wholesale roll out of desk top computers into offices across the globe the relatively new phenomenon of employees using their own smart phones, tablets and laptops in the workplace is still an issue that many organisations are still trying to adapt to.
The issue of BYOD is one that comes up time and again in our conversations with our clients. Since the launch of the iPhone and iPad, the growth in mobile devices and personal technology has been accelerating. Not so long ago corporations controlled access to mobile computing devices for their employees. Now employees are bringing their own devices to work and are expecting to use them to access corporate networks and information sources.
The phrase BYOD first was used by Intel when an increasing number of its employees were using their own mobile devices on the job for work purposes. It became a well-known concept in 2011 when Unisys and a few other companies began embracing the idea. In the government sector, the U.S.A Equal Employment Opportunity Commission created their own BYOD policy in 2012.
The key question for our clients going into 2014 and beyond is to anticipate where this trend is going and in many ways trying to future proof their business operations to incorporate this new concept rather than having to react to unexpected changes which can have a negative impact on core business productivity and operational oversight.
The below video which includes some key findings from a survey conducted by Cisco Systems among employees and management in relation to the opportunities and risk’s that the whole area of the BYOD trend will have on the modern workplace, is an interesting snapshot of current industry sentiment on the whole BYOD issue.
The real key challenge for companies will be to find the best process by which to manage the increase in BYOD being used in the work place. Clearly the opportunities for a more connected and mobile workforce have to be balanced against the need for organisations to protect their networks, software and on-line intellectual property rights.
Indeed the pace of change in this area is happening at such speed that in the coming years companies are also going to have to deal with a new phenomenon which is that of their employees wearing their own devices or (WYOD). This is something that leading technology expert Daniel Burrus recently wrote about on LinkedIN. Burrus and others see this expanding at an exponential rate over the coming years as the increase in the availability of wearable tech becomes more ubiquitous.
The BYOD concept is growing in popularity. A survey of over 1,000 workers showed that BYOD influences more job satisfaction and improves employees work productivity. The research also showed that workers who use their own devices put in over 235 more hours annually than those who have devices provided by their company.
Companies are discovering that a BYOD program will shift the cost of hardware to the employee. When voice, data as well as other services and expenses are added together, a company can save an average of over $75 a month per employee. And as we can see from this article many companies are actively embracing this change.
When it comes to purchasing the device they use for work most employees prefer it over using a company supplied device. Many employees like the BYOD concept because they can have the device they want rather than adapt to one that has been provided for them. Employees seem to be more comfortable using a device they know they won’t have to give back to the company if they leave. Employee also find it easier to upgrade to the latest features themselves rather than deal with the red tape in place at most companies.
Utilizing BYOD has cut down on the needs for IT departments in companies to deal with device troubleshooting and support. Most employees are more motivated to maintain their own personal device. This gives a company’s IT department time to work on more strategic issues.
Like all things there is a down side to BYOD. When utilizing BYOD organisations are giving up control over their IT hardware and its use. Many companies have policies that cover acceptable use. It is difficult to tell an employee what is an accessible use of their personal device.
There are many companies that are regulated and must comply with strict legal guidelines in relation to the protection of sensitive data. A company is still responsible for compliance with these mandates even if an employee is using their own laptop.
If an employee gets a job in another company or is made redundant t, recovering company data can be a challenge. Companies should put a policy in place that covers the retrieval of data from an employee who is using their own device for company projects.
What do you think?
There is no doubt that BYOD is a challenge that many organisations are facing. This wave of new technology, novel applications, and consumer demand appears to be unstoppable. But are enterprises riding this wave or being pushed by it? Perhaps we have nothing to worry about. With the pace of technology development all of these issues may be solved by the Apple‘s and Google’s of this world.
Still it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. It is strongly recommend that companies create a policy that can protect your existing computing infrastructure and data. It would also be best if you work with employees to establish these policies, understand their essential needs and find creative ways to take maximum advantage of the technology for work.
Please share your comments on this below, and check out “Why Apple is leading the way on BYOD”:
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