As an increasing number of companies begin to support the trend of remote working, BYOD is on the rise. BYOD, or ‘Bring Your Own Device’, allows organisations to empower their workers, by allowing them to use the devices they feel most confident and familiar with.
The BYOD market is prepared to reach a value of about $367 billion by 2022. It ensures that wherever your employees are, and whatever they do, they can access the tools and services they need to remain productive.
The question is, what is BYOD, and what can it do to help your business thrive?
BYOD Defined: Your Basic BYOD Definition
So, what is BYOD?
BYOD is the term used to refer to “Bring Your Own Device” practices in the workforce.
Around 61% of Gen Y, along with more than 50% of workers over the age of 30 believe that the tech they use at home is better than the tools they can access at work. The rise of BYOD began as a smaller part of the larger trend for IT consumerisation, where software and hardware in the consumer space is permitted into the business premises.
As IT departments struggle to remain on top of constant changes in the tech environment, the BYOD definition has started to evolve. Some organisations are even allowing for things like “Bring your own technology,” (BYOT) “Bring your own computer” (BYOC)and “Bring your own apps” (BYOA). The BYOD meaning that your organisation adopts will depend on your individual requirements. Fundamentally, however, the idea is to ensure that employees can continue working on their own devices in the workplace, eliminating the need to switch between tools.
How Does BYOD Work?
Part of the more significant trend for IT consumerisation, BYOD works by giving employees the freedom to use the tools that they like most in and outside of the office. This might be their own PC, a laptop that they take with them wherever they go, a tablet, or a smartphone. According to Frost and Sullivan, using portable devices for work can save employees up to 58 minutes per day.
The workforce today is a lot more tech-savvy than it once was. Things like digital transformation and the introduction of new generations into the office space have changed a great deal. Your employees know their own devices better than anyone. That means that companies embracing BYOD policy frequently require less training. What’s more, they can also get work done a lot faster on their own devices than they would on a business tool.
74% of employees already say that they’re using their own devices at work – whether it’s part of a business strategy or not. Companies that embrace their own BYOD policy can access faster, more satisfied employees. According to a study by Dell, most BYOD programs lead to benefits like heightened creativity, a stronger sense of workplace collaboration, and more flexible schedules.
Increasingly, companies are finding their own BYOD definition to save costs, improve employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.
The Importance of BYOD for Your Workplace
One of the reasons that BYOD is so essential in the modern workplace is that employees are bringing their devices to your office whether you have the policy in place or not. In other words, your employees may be using their own laptops and their own smartphones with or without your permission. If you don’t have a policy in place, then you’re just increasing security risks from them using insecure apps to transfer crucial data. Shadow IT is on the rise as more employees refuse to compromise on using the tools that they feel make them more productive.
In most cases, official BYOD strategies improve employee morale and productivity. However, when you fail to find your own BYOD meaning, there’s a risk that you’ll take on serious data protection challenges.
Just remember, employees, bringing their own devices into the workforce are more likely to remain satisfied and focused at work. What’s more, companies that allow BYOD in the workforce can save an average of $350 each year for every team member using their own device.
Of course, like many innovative technologies, BYOD isn’t without its challenges. Allowing a range of new tech into the workforce means that you are taking on additional risk. Highly focused security policies and up-to-date IT support are necessary to protect your team and business.
How to Develop a BYOD Policy
As tools emerge to support trends like remote working, flexible schedules, and mobile employees, the BYOD definition continues to expand across the world. We’re entering an era where companies can either sanction and manage their BYOD policies or risk the rise of Shadow IT in the workforce.
So, how do you develop a BYOD campaign that works?
1. Choose Your Devices
Enabling teams to use a range of popular mobile devices on platforms like iOS and Android is usually a good idea. This caters to the largest population in your group. However, it’s best to focus on one device at a time, rather than introducing it over multiple different devices. Consider starting your BYOD strategy with smartphones before you move onto things like tablets and laptops for instance.
Once you know which devices will be permitted in your business, you’ll need to implement usage rules for your teams. For instance, even though your teams are using their personal mobile devices, they’ll still need passwords and lock screens to protect sensitive company information. Let your team members know that if they want the advantages of BYOD, they also have to adhere to some basic acceptable use rules for privacy and security.
2. Define a BYOD Service Policy
Information is essential when rolling out any new technology. While you’re answering the question of “what is BYOD” for your employees, make sure that you set some guidelines for what they can expect when using their own tools in the workplace. For instance:
- What level of support can you provide for broken devices?
- What sort of applications will your employees be allowed to download and use?
- What sort of Helpdesk support will you provide for personal devices?
- Can you provide loaner computing devices when an employee’s device is being serviced?
- Under what circumstances will you replace a broken or damaged device?
- What kind of security measures will your employees need to follow?
3. Access MDM Software
Usually, BYOD definitions and MDM (mobile device management) software go hand-in-hand.
There’s always a risk that your employees could lose their personal device or end up having them stolen. Installing MDM software is how you protect your company’s data. With this BYOD security solution in place, you can access devices remotely, wipe away company data, and restore the device to factory settings.
Today's workforce doesn't just rely on computers and laptops to get things done. We're moving into a world of smartphones, tablets, and even smart watches. Click To Tweet
MDM software can be a tough sell to employees who combine business and personal use. You’ll need to state the benefits to your teams to help them see why you need this added security. You could always offer free cloud storage for your employee’s valuable information, so they can retrieve the data they lose if you need to wipe their phones.
4. Set up an Exit Strategy
There are many reasons why you might need to wipe data from an employee’s phone. For instance, what happens when a staff member leaves your company to go elsewhere? You’ll need a programme in place to ensure that they’re instantly removed from access to anything on the company network – business software, email, data, and more.
BYOD means that eliminating a person’s access to specific tools or corporate data isn’t as easy as asking them to return their corporate phone. You’ll need complete checklists in place. One option is to have the team member back up all of their personal data and information, with an overview from the IT security team. Then you can wipe and restore the smartphone to its factory settings while eliminating access to all cloud-based tools.
The Pros and Cons of BYOD
Now that you have a basic BYOD definition to guide you, and you understand how to set up a BYOD policy, it’s time to determine if this concept is right for you.
As with many digitally transformative solutions in the modern world, BYOD has both positive and negative aspects to consider. On the one hand, you have the opportunity to create more efficient and productive teams. On the other hand, there’s always the risk that your employees could fail to keep up with security strategies or lose their devices.
Advantages of BYOD in the Workplace:
49% of employees say that they’re far more productive when using their own devices. People tend to avoid communication altogether when handling a device or operating system that they don’t feel comfortable using. Today’s workforce doesn’t just rely on computers and laptops to get things done. We’re moving into a world of smartphones, tablets, and even smart watches. To ensure that your team can access and use the information they need most every day, it’s essential to come to terms with BYOD’s meaning in the context of your business.
2. Work/Life balance
78% of employees feel that using a single personal device for data access helps them to keep their personal and professional lives balanced. Today’s employees are looking for more satisfaction from their roles than ever before. If you’re hoping to attract the best talent and reduce turnover in your workforce, then BYOD could be the thing that encourages your team members to stay with you.
Around 82% of workers believe that smartphones will play a crucial role in employee productivity in the coming years. Click To Tweet
3. Better control over employee behaviour
Ultimately, even if you refuse to give your team members access to a BYOD strategy, they may continue to use their own tools without you. Around 49% of employees say that they would opt out of using the company network if it meant that they had to give up access to their preferred personal tools. This may be one of the reasons why the highest-performing workforces already allow BYOD. When your teams believe that their own devices play a critical role in their productivity, it’s hard to prevent them from doing whatever they need to when they’re completing tasks.
4. Crucial time and cost savings
When employees use their own devices for work tasks, they often require less help. This means that IT support teams spend less time worrying about fixing common problems or walking team members through a simple process. Instead, your IT specialists can focus on the projects most crucial to your company. Additionally, basic BYOD leads to huge annual returns for companies. A comprehensive BYOD program can save you up to $1,300 per year, per mobile user.
5. Your competition is already using BYOD
In an age of agility and digital transformation, many forward-thinking organisations are already embracing BYOD policies. Companies that fail to let their team members use the devices they need could fall behind. Around 82% of workers believe that smartphones will play a crucial role in employee productivity in the coming years. The more you listen to your team members and let them use the devices that are right for them, the more you’ll gain in employee satisfaction. What’s more, happy employees often lead to happier customers too.
Disadvantages of BYOD
On the other hand, there’s always the chance that BYOD solutions could get companies into significant trouble. Often, the biggest concerns around BYOD include:
Employees failing to adhere to security strategies
If your team members don’t remain stringent with safety practices, your sensitive data could be at risk. For instance, a team member failing to update their tools with security patches could leave cloud-based software open for attackers to access. This could lead to data breaches. There’s also the risk that people could be targeted when using Wi-Fi networks to access their favourite services, or download malware along with an unauthorised application.
Lost or stolen devices: If a device is lost or stolen, companies will need to act fast to eliminate private data from the system before it can be used for nefarious means. MDM software can help with this, but there’s always a risk that a thief could have accessed your files or corporate network before you were able to remove them from the system.
Handling employee turnover: If a team member leaves your business on a bad note, they may try to access your data using their BYOD tools and gather information out of spite. There’s even a risk that old employees could prompt accidental data breaches too. A strategy must always be in place to ensure the security of data after turnover.
Although BYOD has its risks, they’re often associated with poor policies and strategies. For instance, 80% of all BYOD is unmanaged according to SecureEdge Networks studies. Any business leader considering the benefits of BYOD needs to make sure that they don’t jump into a new strategy without comprehensive guidelines in place.
BYOD has the potential to deliver excellent things for a business. However, teams and IT groups must be prepared. According to AllThingsD, 77% of employees receive no instructions around the risk of using their own devices at work.
Ensure that you have the right security practices in place, and you can access the positive side of BYOD while keeping threats to a minimum.
Want to find out more? Contact the team at RingCentral today for assistance with mobility, device management, and accessing the cloud.
Originally published Jun 14, 2019, updated Jan 17, 2023