It does look like many companies will soon adopt a BYOD policy, given how practically everyone nowadays owns a mobile device, be it a laptop, smartphone, and of course, tablet. People own either iPads, iPhones, Android devices — sometimes, they even have them all! However, BYOD, when not implemented properly, can become a source of major problems involving logistics and security. A company can’t just jump into BYOD without carefully planning for the transition.
Yes, it’s perfectly fine to embrace BYOD with open arms, but prepare for the following challenges:
Not all people are pro-BYOD. Some people prefer to keep their personal gadgets separate from the ones they use for business. Others don’t want to spend money on expensive devices, but may feel forced to purchase them to keep up with coworkers who are willing to invest on newer technology. So before implementing an organization-wide BYOD policy, make sure that most of your employees are ready to make the transition. Or better yet, set a trial period to see if BYOD is the right fit for your company.
Your employees can choose to change their devices at any time they want, or they can also choose to use several gadgets at the same time. It’s not surprising for people to interchange using a laptop, tablet, and smartphone. This poses a problem with per-device licensing. If an employee uses three devices, does this mean they should get three licenses? Check if the solutions you’re using offer per-user licenses; otherwise, you’ll be spending more on getting licenses for all devices every employee owns.
BYOD does cut down the expenses associated with buying mobile devices to be issued to employees. It can rack up cost in another category, though — technical support. When the transition is not properly planned, the IT team may find themselves constantly addressing compatibility issues and other concerns that come with supporting a variety of devices and operating systems. It can become a big logistical nightmare! But you can make things easier when you choose software that works on multiple platforms so that you won’t have to use different solutions for different platforms. For example, Convene, a paperless, remote enterprise and board meeting solution, works on the iPads, iPhones, Android devices, and Windows PC. Regardless of the devices your employees are using, you can be sure that they can run Convene without a hassle.
You can put as many restrictions as you want on company-issued mobile devices, but you can’t do the same to personal devices — otherwise, you’ll be infringing on your employees’ rights to privacy outside work. So here are a few questions to ponder: How can you protect company data without limiting what your employees can do on their own gadgets? How can you assure employees that you aren’t going to spy on them through their smartphones and tablets? Before transitioning to BOYD, make sure that your company’s mobile device management can supply you the answers.
When your employees lose their devices, it’s not just their problem anymore — it’s your company’s, too. However, you can’t just instruct your employees to leave their gadgets at home when they’re not doing business. Thus, if you don’t have a contingency plan for lost devices, the risk of corporate data getting compromised is much higher with BYOD. An easy solution is a remote wipe, but there’s a catch: You should find a way to delete only enterprise data but not personal data.
BYOD as we currently know it is not risk-free. But there is hardly a venture out that’s completely devoid or risks. But as always, the best you can do is to study all the risks and see if they are worth taking.