As consumers become increasingly tech-savvy and their lives become more mobile, it comes as no surprise that the adoption of various devices is finding its way into the workplace. The BYOD phenomenon, otherwise known as ‘Bring Your Own Device’, is becoming popular with big and small businesses alike.
Bring Your Own Device refers to the trend in which employees choose to use their personal devices in the workplace rather than, or additional to, the office equipment. The flexibility of devices means employees have great control and convenience when it comes to when, where and how they carry out and complete their work. The freedom provided by a BYOD policy can not only boost staff morale but also productivity, creativity, communication and collaboration.
According to a global survey by Gartner, half of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes by 2017. David Willis, Vice President and Analyst at Gartner, highlights that BYOD strategies are the “most radical change to the economics and culture of client computing in business in decades”. Although a drastic change in the business landscape, the business benefits are compelling as companies can create “new mobile workforce opportunities” alongside “increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs”.
Meanwhile, a study by Capgemini Consulting found that the major benefits of BYOD also included “higher agility in business operations”, “greater workforce mobility”, “increased employee productivity” and an “attraction and retention tool for talented workers”.
Although more prevalent with medium and large sized organisations, the BYOD trend provides huge opportunities to small businesses looking to “go mobile without a huge device and service investment”.
If you’re looking to embrace the digital phenomenon of BYOD, here are 4 important tips that you should take note of to ensure you’re exploiting the trend to the full potential whilst ensuring your business is properly protected.
Is BYOD for your business?
Don’t launch straight into adopting a Bring Your Own Device policy without addressing whether it’s necessary, beneficial or realistic for your business. A BYOD policy will only be an asset to your business if you have reason to believe that it will improve processes or staff productivity, not just because it’s popular. To start, it’s imperative to address whether your business could benefit from a BYOD policy. If it could, the next step is to consider whether it’s realistic and achievable to integrate personal devices into the workplace. You will need to speak to your IT staff about whether they can deal with the potential catalogue of devices that may be used by staff, alongside whether your existing software and platforms are compatible with these devices. If the answer is no, you may find a BYOD policy more costly than anticipated.
Create a roll out strategy
Once you have decided that a BYOD strategy could improve business flexibility, agility and productivity, and you’ve laid out all the necessary ground work, it’s important to devise a roll out strategy. Your roll out strategy should consider key factors such as when and how staff can start using their devices, any updates that may need to happen and particular timescales for rolling out the policy across the company. This will not only help to make the integration of a policy much smoother, but will help to manage employee expectations. With a strategy in place, you can also consider measuring how the BYOD policy is adopted, any issues that are faced and whether the policy is providing the business with the expected (or additional) benefits.
Set clear rules and guidelines for staff
Alongside providing staff with a structure for how and when the BYOD policy will be rolled out, you will need to define and share clear regulations and guidelines on how personal devices can and cannot be used in, and out, of the workplace. Ensure these guidelines are explicit and can be easily located, so staff have a strict understanding of what is appropriate when it comes to the different devices they may be using for work purposes.
Make security the priority
The most important thing to consider when adopting a BYOD policy is security. What happens if an employee’s device is lost or stolen? How can staff access data via their device and where is it stored? How do you know who is accessing your network? These are just a few of the questions you will need to address. Fortunately, there is a variety of software available that can help to protect your business and the devices being used. Mobile Device Management software gives you the ability to control the devices being used by imposing and monitoring a security policy, blocking access from a device that doesn’t conform, encrypting sensitive files and allowing you to remotely wipe data from lost or stolen devices.
Discover some of the software available to protect your business in the Superfast Business Wales Software Directory. Download your free copy now!
Could you be doing more to protect your business against cyber threats?