Mobile devices nowadays can do almost everything that a desktop computer can. Many smartphones have the capacity to check emails, create documents, store data and play videos. Tablets are fast replacing laptops as mobile computing devices with operating systems becoming more advanced and versatile.

BYOD in the Office

Because of this, a new phenomenon in IT is quickly spreading from company to company. The Bring Your Own Device or BYOD system allows employees to use their own mobile devices or laptops in the office. Instead of doing work on a company computer, employees are free to work on their own gadgets.

Benefits of BYOD

Some benefits of adapting the Bring-Your-Own-Device philosophy include:

  • An increase in productivity and innovation as employees are more comfortable using their personal devices. They are often experts at utilising all the features of their tablet, phone or laptop and so can use them more productively. They are also sure to update their mobile devices more frequently than companies would their hardware. This gives them a significant advantage over employees of other companies that work on company devices that may be out-dated or slower to use.

  • A rise in employee satisfaction due to giving employees the freedom to use their personal devices for work. Individuals today value their devices a great deal and would surely appreciate being given the flexibility to use devices they own themselves.

  • Savings on cost, especially for start-ups. Instead of having to invest in computers, peripherals and attachments, companies can transfer these costs to their employees.

Limitations of BYOD

There are also a handful of considerations that a company must address if they choose to adopt a BYOD scheme:

  • Strict control over sensitive data will have to be implemented. Your company will need to invest in a secure enterprise mobility management model that would have complete control over all mobile devices used by your employees. You would have to be able to track and secure all devices and applications installed on them.

  • As with all new technology/systems, there will always be teething problems. You need to make sure you have the right resources to handle a BYOD environment. Things to consider include a company-owned app store, capacity to handle support calls, employees unwilling to invest on their own, etc.

  • Compatibility issues would need to be addressed in cases where one employee owns an iOS device while another has Android. An easy fix would be to require all employees to use only one mobile operating system, but this may raise the problem of individuals not willing to invest in another device.

While BYOD may be a hot new trend in business, there are still a lot of issues to work out before it can become a viable solution for your company. Security would be the main concern with the BYOD structure, with IT managers having to keep up with each employee’s access to sensitive data. But no innovation is without risk and BYOD schemes are showing to have great potential despite the drawbacks. This is especially true for new businesses looking for ways to improve their IT structure without having to spend a fortune on hardware.

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