BYOD: I've Heard About It, But What Is It?


Published by Denis Healy on 1 November, 2013

BYOD – which stands for “Bring Your Own Device” – refers to the growing practice of allowing employees to use their own smartphones, laptops and tablets from home, at work.

BYOD

It’s a growing trend all around the world, and its rise in popularity is forecasted to increase in the coming years. Indeed, every month the number of employee-owned devices in the workplace is growing – steadily.

What does BYOD bring to the table?

There are many potential benefits in adopting a Bring Your Own Device policy at work, and if you own a business, or manage a department, you’d be wise to consider them;  a major benefit of BYOD is enhanced productivity and improved business efficiency. Allowing staff to use devices that they personally use and like, means that less time is spent on working with complex – and often archaic – computer systems, and more time on getting things done. And as users generally like to keep relatively up-to-date with the latest technological advances in consumer IT, the hardware and software of their own devices are often able to outperform and outmaneuver alot of the technology in the office.

Moreover, by allowing staff to use their own devices at work, companies can reduce their overall IT expenditure, as employees purchase – and maintain – their own devices themselves. In other words, businesses can save the money they’d normally spend in stocking the office with adequate IT, and in performing the necessary hardware and software upgrades and general maintenance that’ll inevitably arise.

Why should I be concerned about BYOD?

A major concern with BYOD has to do with security. Let’s take an example. Smartphones are the most common employee-owned device used for work purposes today. But there are serious security concerns with its use in the office.
For instance, storing confidential information on an often unsecured or unprotected smartphone is potentially troublesome if it were to fall in the hands of a competitor. If an employee loses their phone, it’s no longer just an inconvenience to them; it’s also a potentially serious problem for the company they work for.

Moreover, accessing sensitive information through the company’s network on a smartphone can be a cause for concern, too. Interested third parties may be able to access information sent wirelessly through an insecure data connection between the phone and the company’s servers.

Finally, as more and more employees write and respond to work-related emails on their phones, it’s possible that information contained within – or attached to – these emails can be hijacked by interested outsiders.

Final thoughts.

Consumer IT has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years, and flexible work environments are becoming more and more common. As long as this trend continues, then allowing more employee-owned devices into the workplace is a positive step forward. Of course, there are serious security concerns in allowing this, and many businesses are working on strategies and compiling a list of best practices to help protect themselves and their information from wrongful dissemination.

But in light of the many benefits in adopting a BYOD policy – increased productivity and efficiency, and reduced IT costs to name a few – most businesses are not debating whether or not to allow employees to use their own devices at work, but rather how they can continue to function – effectively and securely – in light of this emerging trend.

So if you’ve never heard of BYOD until now, then be prepared to come across this key acronym again and again in the coming years. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

What are your experiences with BYOD?

workplace efficiency, email management, activity based working, working remotely


 

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