The concept of BYOD ‘Bring Your Own Device’ is gaining momentum in today’s’ IT era. It is a policy where companies allow employees to bring their own devices like laptops, smart phones, iPads, and tablets to workplace. In other words, companies allow employees to use or work on their own devices instead on devices issued by companies.
BYOD policy is being implemented in many companies nowadays. According to statistics compiled by Gartner and Forrester, 90% of companies will offer BYOD policy by 2014.
BYOD means employees can consolidate their professional data on their favorite hand-picked device and carry just one device for personal and professional life streamlining their communication and enhancing their experience.
The policy of Bring Your Own Device constitutes various advantages and limitations which apply to both employees and organizations. The first and biggest advantage is that employees can use the devices they love. With this, they get autonomy to decide which device or app would be most suitable for performing the job. This infuses positive morale in employees and a sense of satisfaction among them.
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On the company's front, BYOD benefits by saving a lot of cost in terms of hardware, data and voice services, maintenance and other associated expenses which gets shifted towards user or employee. Moreover, companies can get the benefits of latest features and cutting edge technologies by allowing users to use their personal high-tech devices.
User/employees also do not need to wait for slow technology refresh and upgrade cycles at organizations. Overall with these benefits, BYOD collaborates effectively and efficiently with company's work culture and gets the job done whenever, wherever without compromising or delaying the work.
But with these positives of empowerment and freedom comes a trade off in terms of disadvantages for company's IT department. By embracing BYOD, companies lose control over the IT hardware and its usage. Moreover, the personal devices of employees are not secured and protected which means, all the company's data and information are let out and circulate outside company's network.
Also employees' devices requires configuration of company's network or wifi, VPN, email, contacts, and needs sharing of company's internal policies, passwords and other confidential information which trigger threats of data misuse, theft and loss. There is also an issue of compliance and range of acceptable usage which needs to be fixed by every company. Also in the event of employee leaving the organization, segregating and retrieving company's information can be a problem.
All these disadvantages wash off the real benefits if they are not considered or addressed well before embracing Bring Your Own Device policy in the organization system. Thus every company to get complete benefits of BYOD policy should first settle all the issues and disadvantages by following some practices like
- Specifying the device usage criteria
- Restricting access to certain information and applications
- Applying security password in each layer of organization network system
- Approving only specific devices
- Monitoring user's activity
- Disabling automatic sync of data
- Keeping backup of employees work
- Developing IT support and device management services
All the above points help if companies are deliberating on decision of embracing BYOD policy in their work culture. With a proper thought-out process and addressing disadvantages correctly, companies can avail the real benefits of BYOD policy.