The BYOD revolution is now in full swing. It has been a growing trend for some time and has now gained momentum. BYOD consists of letting company employees have access to corporate and customer data from their own devices, so they can do their jobs on the go, from anywhere and at any time. According to figures released by Kaspersky Lab (News - Alert), 87 percent of companies allow their employees to bring their own device at work, instead of having devices issued by companies. This number is impressive considering the security concerns that most managers still have to this day.
With the importance of mobile communication growing exponentially and the continuous striving of companies to cut costs while helping employees being as productive and efficient as possible, BYOD has shown benefits that have made even the most reluctant companies welcome the change.
A similar cultural change already happened in the early 2000s when, thanks to Blackberry devices, professionals were able to access their emails and documents while on the go, finally taking work out of physical offices and enjoying greater flexibility. Nowadays, thanks to tablets, smartphones, laptops and similar devices, workers can access all the information they need wherever they are, whenever they want. Not only emails and documents are available, but also communication tools (to keep in touch and collaborate with coworkers) and productivity software are accessible. These were tools that before were only accessible from office desktops, affirms a recent post titled “Simple Ways Employees and Employers Benefit From BYOD Policy,” from Business 2 Community. The article mentions that “being tied down by desktop computers is a thing of the past… [As] the world is now mobile.”
In the beginning, companies provided employees with devices; today, professionals are allowed to connect to their company’s resources even using their own electronics and gadgets.
BYOD policies can be very beneficial for companies. Overhead costs, in fact, can be reduced drastically, as businesses no longer need to purchase devices for employees and invest heavily in the technology needed for their mobile and distributed workforce. Employees provide their own technology and are responsible for needed updates and maintenance of all devices; this is a great burden off managers’ shoulders.
IT requirements linked to managing devices diminish, and existing IT departments can use their resources to concentrate on the security of the network (a paramount function considering the inherent dangers of BYOD programs) and on the coding of new productivity software.
Using personal-owned devices, however, has proved to be beneficial also for employees’ well-being. Morale is improved, in fact, as they can use hardware and software they are accustomed to and have no need to learn to use new technology. Productivity is also increased, as employees have already mastered the use of the devices and can concentrate on utilizing them in the best possible way for their job. Employees are also free to buy the device of their choice according to their needs. Communication can also be improved, as everyone is always connected and “available”.
As seen, the implementation of a BYOD policy seems to be a win-win situation for many businesses. The only doubts are still linked to the actual safety of having personal devices linked to a company’s networks. This is the reason why many companies have yet to implement a BYOD policy.
Strict IT security policies, employees’ training and a good IT security department can help minimize the risks, so that companies and professionals can simply reap the benefits of the BYOD revolution. Establishing policies governing the use of BYOD and procedures (governing access permissions and controls according to a user’s identity) are necessary steps towards ensuring sensitive data does not fall in the wrong hands.