Mandi has written this guest blog entry she calls "Canadian Business: The Innovators of BYOD Programs". The following words belong to her.
When the Bring Your Own Device policy was first introduced, it was met with a lot of criticism. Employees using their own phones was considered to be a waste of time and resources, and furthermore, what about the data? It took a while to catch on, but now, roughly half of the world's companies have implemented a BYOD policy. But why? How could a policy once regarded with suspicion become the biggest recent corporate trend?
First Thing First: How Companies Address Security Concerns
Image via Flickr by Steven Taschuk
Initially seen as a security risk, the byod program is extremely secure thanks to multiple applications.
With Mobile Device Management, you have the ability to manage all of the devices owned by your employees, but only to a certain extent. You'll be able to sync everything up and keep everyone on the same page.
With Mobile Application Management, you have much more control over the devices on your network. You'll be able to force the download of applications, track their data usage, require passwords for some applications, monitor who's using the most data, and more. If the device is lost or the employee is no longer with the company, the device can be remotely wiped.
These two management tools can be run together, and even combined with a Virtual Private Network. With a Virtual Private Network, you'll control exactly who is on the network.
If you use a combination of all three, your data will be protected under multiple blankets.
Before implementing a Bring Your Own Device policy, though, it's important to lay out some rules on what the employees can and cannot do on the network. The policies need to be clearly outlined. Some companies must meet certain requirements laid out by various organizations in terms of what data can and cannot be accessed. Even if the device is owned by the employee, the employee must follow the guidelines set forth by the organization.
Greater Flexibility: The Benefits for Employees
One of the biggest benefits of a BYOD policy is that it allows employees to use their own devices. These are devices that the employees likely picked out for a specific reason and have put a lot of time into knowing inside and out. Because of this reason, your company will save hundreds of hours in training sessions.
Not only that, but think about the cost to the company. Before BYOD, companies would have to buy a huge amount of phones, activate them, and get data plans for them. With a BYOD policy, all of that is in the past. The employee will be responsible for the bills. Since the phone is also their personal phone, they'll likely protect it with their life.
Increased Collaboration: The Benefits for Companies
Another huge benefit of a Bring Your Own Device policy is that it has eliminated the need for a central office. Since everything can be synced across multiple devices, your employees can work from any location in the world. This is extremely advantageous, especially if you have an employee that loves to travel, or one that recently relocated that you don't want to get rid of. By using a cloud service, combined with Mobile Device Management, you can have all of your employees working on the same file from different locations around the world. The file could then be stored safely and securely on a cloud server.
This also encourages your employees to work together on certain files. Some cloud services, such as Google Drive, allow you to actually work on spreadsheets, word documents and presentations while they're stored in the cloud. These files can be worked on by multiple users, and every user will see the updates as they happen. You can allow people to access the file but not make any edits, or you can allow everyone access to modify the file.
In a bonus that will surely please your IT, all technical questions will now rest with the employee. Your IT department will be able to focus on more important things, such as improving the company's network.
Studies have shown that employees that are able to use their own devices at work are happy and more productive. More productivity equals a better running workplace.
With all of the benefits and advancements in security, it's no wonder that almost half of the world's companies have switched to a Bring Your Own Device policy. Canada leads the world's adoption rate with over 75 percent of companies in Canada having a Bring Your Own Device policy. Does your company have a Bring Your Own Device policy?