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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Benefits And Issues Of BYOD In The Workplace


Bring your own device (BYOD) has become a mainstay in the company office, much like the coffee cup filled with your favourite type of Joe. And just like that coffee, BYOD can bring both positive and negative aspects to a company.

Yet employees everywhere are jumping onto the BYOD bandwagon, with over 80% of employees using their mobile devices for work, according to CIO. Many employees believe that the benefits outweigh the problems, since executives think it increases a worker's productivity, efficiency and creativity.

In fact, industries such as construction and healthcare have reaped the benefits of BYOD. Physicians can have instant access to medical records for patients that they see. For Instance, medical professionals carry their laptops into the waiting room with the patient's past medical history already on the screen. In the construction industry, contractors and architects have instant access to blueprints and plans right on their mobile devices, increasing work productivity when moving from different work sites.

Yet it is not all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. There are numerous issues that both businesses and employees are dealing with regarding BYOD. Let's take a look of the pros and cons of BYOD from both a company and employee perspective.

Pros of BYOD

Using The Most Up-To-Date Devices And Apps

Employees know what their devices can do for their work productivity. They have invested time and effort to locate and download the most efficient apps and software to complete their jobs. Because employees are familiar with how to work on the apps (usually on their own time), their quality of service increases dramatically. In fact, employees are more prone to spend money on the best devices, according to PC World. Companies don't have to provide training for operating devices that are unknown to the employee. This benefit can save money and resources for the company.

Employees Can Upgrade More Effectively

There is nothing worse than waiting for the IT guy to get to a work computer to upgrade the software, while the employees twiddle their thumbs impatiently. For workers on commission, every minute of being inaccessible to a computer incurs  loss of wages. Yet employees who engage in BYOD can upgrade their computing devices more effectively, ensuring everything stays current so that they can better manage their workload.

Employees And Companies Make More Money

When it comes to meeting their monthly financial goals, employees with BYOD will put in more hours completing their work. They will work from home, in the coffee shop and at the office as more hours which means more money for both the employee and the company.

Cons of BYOD

Security Issues

Employees who have their devices lost or stolen compromises on company data security. Managing this security on the devices can also become a problem, especially with "jail-broken" devices (where the person tries to obtain root access to the device's iOS to lift certain restrictions). While employees can download security apps or the company can implement a virtual desktop to help with these issues, the security of data will remain a constant concern.

Control And Privacy Problems

Companies want to control what type of apps are placed on the devices to prevent malicious viruses from infecting their servers. Employees don't feel the need to let the company dictate what apps are allowed on their devices, even if those apps may lead to loss of productivity or computing problems. Establishing BYOD use policies that can help with the issue, but enforcing the policy can still be difficult.

Usage Tracking

If the company is paying for the talk and data usage of devices such as smart phones, not tracking the usage can become an expensive issue. A company can find itself running over budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars due to employee international roaming charges, expensive family plans and termination charges.

Each individual company has to decide whether BYOD at the workplace will be a positive experience to both the company and their employees. Weighing both the advantages and disadvantages can keep the company informed about the benefits while addressing the issues in a timely manner.
Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned 
Matt Smith is a Dell employee who writes to help raise awareness on the topic of BYOD technology and other network management subjects.

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