It’s simple: the BYOD work environment is the future of industry — business, marketing, technical and financial. In fact, the philosophy behind this movement is so prevalent that the old adage “The future is now” may be the most apt way of describing the BYOD phenomenon. And that is because 62 percent of businesses already allow or support BYOD policies.
Suffice to say, that number will only increase as the benefits of distributed information become clearer and the ever increasing sales of tablets and smart phones put suitable mobile devices into the hands of more and more people.
This change represents a sort of paradigm shift. As with the introduction of computers to the workplace or machines to the factory, this movement has the potential to fundamentally alter how business is conducted. Gone are the days of employees relying on their employers for everything that they need to complete their duties. So too of the concept that work can only be accomplished between an eight-hour window in the middle of the day — BYOD changes all of this.
I Know What BYOB Is. What’s BYOD?
Everyone knows what BYOB (“Bring Your Own Beer”) is. After all, it means that you’ll have to provide your own libations! This can be a positive on one hand, because you can bring your drink of choice; on the other hand, you have to do the providing. Replace “beer” with “device” and you have an understanding of what BYOD is — and like BYOB, there are positives and potential downsides.
The Bring Your Own Device philosophy advocates for the use of personal mobile devices, such as smart phones and laptops, to conduct business, free of constraint or reliance on company-provided equipment. To ensure that a BYOD policy is fruitful, there usually has to exist some type of mobility management software, as unregulated business being conducted across a network of devices could introduce unnecessary risks. But for many companies, as indicated by its wide-spread adoption, the policy is worth it.
What Are The Benefits?
The benefits of a BYOD policy are many. Fundamentally, the philosophy should allow for lower expenses, increased productivity (and thus, profits), and improved morale. Among the ways these goals are realized include:
Lower Operating Costs — By not having to purchase separate devices for every employee (and in some cases, multiple devices), companies can greatly reduce their expenses. And because the employees provide the needed equipment, companies can lower these expenses without jeopardizing their ability to meet goals or complete work.
Improved Productivity And Flexibility — By distributing information across a vast network of devices, the BYOD policy allows for greater flexibility at the corporate level. Companies can more quickly adapt, be better able to react on the fly, and more quickly execute. This is because employees can conduct business and execute more readily, quicker. A BYOD workplace policy enables productivity — it doesn’t limit it.
Improved Morale — Truthfully, there’s no real way to know how a BYOD workplace will affect each and every employee. After all, people are different. That being said, being able to use one’s own device provides for familiarity, comfort, and speed. There’s no learning curve. The most effective tool is the one that’s used most often — it is this idea that drives the BYOD philosophy.
Though there are a number of benefits, a BYOD policy is not without risk. In order for companies to make the most out of such policies, they have to take active measures to mitigate these risks.
BYOD And Security: Can It Ever Be Safe?
If proper precautions are taken, then yes, a BYOD policy can be safe. The biggest concern of companies that advocate for BYOD policies is not that users will forward sensitive company information to unsecured cloud-based storage or that the devices themselves will be hacked remotely, but rather, that the devices will simply be stolen. For this reason, nearly half of companies that promote a BYOD policy require a power-on password to help prevent sensitive data from being lost in the event a phone or similar device be stolen.
This being said, the connection between BYOD and security goes far beyond simply locking devices. With mobility management software, companies can monitor devices, push software updates in real time across networks and devices, and help ensure that information that is being pushed is secure. A number of mobility management software options exist — one common denominator is that they are intended to better secure devices across a network and make them better, more effective business tools.
What’s The Future Hold?
As the saying goes, the sky is the limit. With more and more companies adopting BYOD workplace policies, the benefits of such an approach will become more widely known. So too will the measures necessary to ensure that such a policy actually provide real benefits for the company. As adoption becomes more widespread, companies will be better able to mitigate risk and take the steps needed to make the policy a fruitful one. And if the hypothesis is true, the workforce will find greater satisfaction in being allowed to use their own devices, on their own time, to conduct business.
Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to write about technology news and ways that technology can make life easier.
Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to write about technology, the ways that technology can make life easier and information about BYOD trends and security.