Friday, 13 September 2013

BYOD? What's That Then?

The latest buzzword coming from the world of IT is "BYOD", which stands for "Bring Your Own Device".

Nowhere near as much fun as a BYOB restaurant, the practice has a number of advantages as well as drawbacks.

Essentially it relies on employees using their own computer devices for the benefit of the business that they are employed by. Why have two smartphones, two tablets, two laptops, etc. At work an employee only needs one and it may as well be their choice as to which one, right?


After all, the majority of employees already bring their own devices into the workplace and attach them to the business network. 60%, or more, of mobile phones are now smartphones and staff will usually expect to connect them to an available wireless network. How does the business protect itself against what should be seen as a "threat" to their network security? How many businesses have ever thought about this issue?

So, what are the implications of BYOD?

Pros:
The business could save on computer costs.
The business may share the costs of the device with the employee.
The employee gets to use a device that they have chosen.
Employee productivity could increase if they feel happier and more trusted.

Cons:
Whose responsibilities are any necessary repairs?
Who is expected to fund the replacement of the device when something newer appears on the market?
Surely the employee is able to spend more time on non-business activities while at work?
Corporate governance of policies and standards (e.g. anti-virus) is harder to police

The most important thing for any business to do is to have an IT Policy in place, whether BYOD is encouraged or not. If it is not allowed then employees must know where they stand if, for instance, their mobile phone were to introduce a virus to the business network. If BYOD is a part of your strategy then clear guidelines on the use of each device, and the cost of buying, using and insuring the devices, should be documented.

There is a good blog at http://www.ukmdm.com/byod-explained/ which tries to explain BYOD in greater depth. Or you can call us in for a cuppa and a chat, and we'll give you some IT Policy guidelines.

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© Michael Donkin 2013

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