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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.