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About 5 years ago, Bring Your Own Device or BYOD was huge news sweeping the business world. People talked constantly about what it would mean to businesses of all sizes when employees could use their favorite mobile devices and apps for work tasks, as companies rushed to develop policies to keep sensitive and private data safe on devices that would leave their secure working environments. While the talk has died down, small business owners may still consider the advantages and disadvantages of BYOD technology in their processes.

Advantages of BYOD

Employees and businesses have different reasons for wanting to adopt BYOD. Employees would have access to important information and data even when working remotely, which was ideal for workers in the construction, logistics or real estate industries. Yet even office and sales workers could take the business data everywhere, allowing them to work on reports at home or access important information at conferences. They could stay productive while using apps that they were most familiar with without struggling to learn new software applications.

For businesses, BYOD may lead to more productivity for workers as this benefit could generate more sales. Since employees are using their own devices, a business doesn’t have to dedicate their financial resources in providing company smartphones or laptops to the employees. They could stay in touch with employees at all times to meet important deadlines or deal with business emergencies.

Disadvantages of BYOD

While it seems like there are tons of positives to BYOD, this technological route also comes with a few risks that make small businesses pause in their tracks. Accessing company data on personal mobile devices poses dangerous security risks. It only takes one stolen or lost device to lead to serious liabilities if that information falls into the wrong hands.

So in an effort to protect company data, a business has to create security policies that require the monitoring of devices and information to prevent data compromises on lost or stolen devices, as well as retrieve data when the employee leaves the business. Yet workers would rather not give the company such control over their personal devices. Another disadvantage for employees revolves around finding the right work/life balance. With BYOD, the workers are always available even during their downtime, as they feel required to put in these extra hours without receiving extra pay.

Deciding whether to invest in BYOD

Every small business is different, and may find different advantages in BYOD that outweigh the risks. Before adopting BYOD in your operations, keep the following three factors in mind.

  1. You need to establish and enforce a strict BYOD policy that outlines security controls and IT hardware that will have to be in place to prevent business liabilities. Some apps will require a regular password change and this is a simple but basic necessity if you go down the BYOD route. Many of the business apps also provide detailed audit trails so you can monitor what data is being accessed and downloaded. Here at Big Red Cloud, our online accounting software provides a step-by-step documented history of all transactions.
  2. Decide which workers would benefit by using BYOD. Not every worker in the business is required to access certain business information. You will need to give authorised use only to select employees to the necessary apps and platforms
  3. Consider the costs of BYOD versus purchasing business-owned mobile devices. Often the costs, and the fact that employees are willing to spend higher amounts for better technology, may be a benefit to your business budget.

Staying in contact with employees who are always on the road for business, or those who work remotely from home, may persuade you that BYOD is a viable option for your business. By understanding the security issues associated with BYOD and establishing set policies can allow you to make the best decisions for your company to bring in more sales.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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