A recent Zippia report found that 83% of businesses had policies in place for workers to use personal devices for work. It also found that 75% of employees completed work-related tasks on their personal devices. Needless to say, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is on the rise. BYOD policies certainly benefit the workplace but can also introduce risks. Is it the right approach for your business?
What is a Bring Your Own Device Policy?
A BYOD policy is also referred to as a mobile device management program. This agreement allows employees to use their personal devices for business purposes. It outlines the rules and regulations for these devices and how employees can use them for work activities. Some companies have informal BYOD policies with no clear rules, but a formal and written approach is always preferred as it can protect both workers and their employers.
What Are the Pros of Using Personal Devices for Work?
BYOD policies have steadily grown in popularity over the past decade. They grew exponentially when the pandemic and related shutdowns forced companies to pivot from in-office to remote and hybrid work. Since then, companies have had ample time to determine whether this strategy serves their business needs. Consider the top three reasons many chose to keep their BYOD policies.
1. Cost Savings
Smartphones and tablets can be very expensive. Factor in the cost for organization-wide purchases, and the total number climbs rapidly. Companies save money they would otherwise spend on purchasing hardware by allowing employees to use their existing devices. The Zippia report found that companies saved roughly $250 per employee on a two-year contract, even when the BYOD policy included a stipend.
Employees can access company data, emails, and applications from their own devices. It enables them to work from virtually anywhere. That flexibility makes it easier for companies to accommodate remote workers and for workers to have more control over their schedules. Employers also enjoy the increased accessibility to their workers.
Employees feel more engaged when they use their devices. They are also far more familiar with how they work, which can significantly improve efficiency. These are just some factors that might explain the 34% increase in productivity reported when workers use their personal devices. Forbes quantifies this as 58 minutes saved per day.
What Are the Cons of Using Personal Devices for Work?
BYOD policies are not without their caveats. Managers should become familiar with these downsides so that they can plan for potential solutions. Doing so can significantly reduce the risks and improve the odds of successful execution.
1. Security Risks
This is the top concern for most companies. Personal devices often contain troves of personal information and may lack standard security features such as antivirus software. An employee’s device could provide a playground for malicious actors looking to access company data or networks. Companies have successfully reduced these risks in the following ways:
- Introducing strict onboarding protocols
- Requiring regular risk assessments
- Providing comprehensive security training
2. Privacy Violations
Poorly designed BYOD policies may infringe on the privacy of employees. Companies can access personal data stored on devices they provide or connect to their networks. To avoid employee privacy violations, companies should clearly outline in their BYOD policy what devices are allowed for work purposes and the type of information they may access.
3. Compliance Issues
Using personal devices for work in highly regulated industries can introduce unique challenges. For example, some companies need to archive conversations related to brokered deals. Failure to do so could lead to millions in fines from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Here are some examples of industries that must meet specific standards for securing data:
- Payroll and human resources
- Accounting and finance
Should You Choose a BYOD Policy for Your Organization?
Companies looking for cost-effective strategies should consider BYOD policies. These companies can turn to various solutions to address security concerns, potential privacy violations, and compliance issues. Ideally, companies find ways to eliminate all risks associated with BYOD policies, but mitigating risks is an ongoing effort at any organization. Managed IT services providers give companies the tools and resources to successfully implement, manage, and monitor their BYOD policies, all the while safeguarding privacy and data, and ensuring proper management of personal devices used for work. Effectively, they can transform the way employees can work, and unlock their full potential through the modernization and maintenance of infrastructure.
So, is your small business ready for managed services? Our free eBook provides a good starting point for tackling the biggest concerns small businesses face.