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Is a Bring-Your-Own-Device Policy Right for Your Business?

Why should your small business invest in laptops, tablets and smartphones when your employees can bring their own? There’s a lot to consider before instilling a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy at your company. BYOD benefits include lower technology costs for employers and a potentially more efficient workforce. But be careful, because as with any new policy, there are also potential downfalls. Here are some facts to help you decide if BYOD is right for you and your business.

The Benefits of BYOD

Allowing employees to employ their own devices for business use can enhance productivity, because each team member is working on a device they’re intimately familiar with. Other benefits for your business include:

  • Reduced technology expenses associated with hardware supply and maintenance
  • Increased employee responsibility when it comes to handling devices, since they own the items
  • The ability to try current or varied technologies in the workplace without committing to expensive purchases or contracts

The Challenges of BYOD

BYOD challenges can affect departments across the organization, including human resources, IT and security. Specifically, these issues could emerge with a BYOD policy:

  • Securing data and systems is difficult when users may be accessing networks from unprotected devices
  • Supporting any number of operating systems and device formats can be a drain on IT and programming resources
  • Asking employees to purchase their own computers or other equipment, especially in a slow economy, may demotivate some staff members
  • Unless your software is Web-based or employees will use VPN protocols, you may need to pay extra licensing fees to install programs on additional devices

Before You Implement a BYOD Policy

If you decide a BYOD policy might be right for your business, you have to make some decisions regarding implementation. BYOD policies vary according to business needs. Some companies only allow team members who travel frequently to use personal portable devices for communication purposes, while other employers go to an opposite extreme and require that all employees provide their own laptop computers for daily business use.

Before allowing BYOD in your office, you need to determine how you can keep your systems secure, and how to make the policy fair for both the business and staff members. To protect your company, you'll need to write a policy and best practices document to educate your employees on rules and requirements before opening the doors to personal devices.

As the personal device trend grows more popular in businesses of all sizes, employers will need to weigh BYOD policy benefits with the risks and challenges. Financial gains from technology savings and increased productivity are only relevant if you don't need to spend the same or more securing your network or dealing with fallout from noncompliance with privacy regulations. You know your business best and whether or not your company and employees could benefit from such a policy.

 

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