by Nathan Burns, CloudTech1 Consultant
BYOD or Bring Your Own Device Strategy is a growing trend among successful businesses. Having employees utilize their own devices can save an organization a significant amount of time and money while boosting employee morale and limiting stress and confusion.
Business Decision Makers (BDM) have to stay up on new trends, opportunities and technologies in order to stay competitive. When entertaining the thought of a BYOD strategy there are many pros and cons to consider. What questions should a BDM ask before implementing a strategy like BYOD?
“Do I have a security strategy in place?”
Having genuine trust of core employees is this first level of security a BDM. Knowing they won’t betray you or the sanctity of your data is a great start when considering BYOD strategy. Faithful and trustable employees are a company’s most valuable asset.
Even with confidence in employees, mistakes happen. Malware and Phishing is a concern in which every BDM should educate themselves. Phones and laptops can get lost or stolen. Therefore, part of your strategy must include secure infrastructure preparation on attacks, mistakes, and upgrades. A good business should have these in place already so integration is the first challenge. If there is no security strategy in place and constantly tested BDM needs to find a trusted IT manager or company that can educate them on the proper.
The TRUST of your primary employees utilizing BYOD in the network is the most common scenario. Working from home, on the road, or connecting while on vacation are obvious situations to benefit the core employees. Is that really where the true benefits are?
One of the best benefits for a BDM may be for BYOD use for part-time employees. The BYOD strategy should be able to consider permissions and policies for part timers. This can limit the accessibility of data, keeping it secure, and saving a significant amount of money on devices alone!
“How/who manages my BYOD security and strategy?”
The BDM has made the decision of who is involved in the BYOD and which devices will join the network…now what? Do you have an able IT team in place that can find, educate, deploy and monitor a successful BYOD strategy? Even if there is a solid IT team in place a Managed Service Provider may be the smart and financially savvy way to go.
A Managed Service Provider often has the experience and has implemented BYOD strategies previously. They have experienced trials and errors, and can advise on proper implementation. The backup and security strategy is crucial when utilizing BYOD. If a Managed Services Provider is already holding the umbrella over a small to medium business network they should have the ability to advise, implement and monitor a BYOD strategy.
“The BYOD is about to be deployed. Am I prepared?”
A “Break/Fix” attitude and strategy is dangerous. Waiting for the problem to come to you is the first mistake in business. Therefore, preparing with policies and procedures (try to say that 3x fast without accidentally spraying your monitor) with data breach, disaster recovery
Policies when a device leaves the network must be enforced. Employee policies must be documented, signed and emphasized of their value. Security must be taken seriously by all involved. If proper documentation is an issue for an employee, they will not need to be a part of the BYOD network.
“With all this talk of security and policy; what are the perks?”
Now that I’m done scaring BDMs it is time to get into the benefits of BYOD. This strategy wouldn’t be a popular trend if failed. The fact is most BDM are smart enough to prepare and protect their data properly through an MSP or internal tech team. Here are some of the reasons BYOD are popular and become a positive tool for the growth of a company.
*From Management standpoint
-Flexibility and speed. Work-from-home employees allow a company to scale down the office, or utilize it for training or new employees. New sales reps can hit the streets immediately, issues can be handled on the fly, and even part-timers can enter the infrastructure safely.
-Employees are likely using their devices for work anyways. Assuring the device is secure while touching the network is smarter than assuming it is not entering the infrastructure at all.
-Saves money. If a company utilized an MSP they have access to many deals. However, the obvious savings of purchasing devices on the company dime.
-Consistent communication and updates. Being a part of an emerging business, it is crucial to communicate at all times. The 9-5 mind state should be of no concern to the dedicated employees looking to grow with you.
-Enhances Productivity. The BYOD strategy unhinges the employee from a limited schedule and flexes freedom. This is assuming their tasks and role allows them.
-Eases up on the IT department. At least when securely implemented. The BYOD strategy often puts the role of upkeep on the employee.
*From Employee standpoint
-Shows trust. Being a part of the network and having trust is a great feeling for a dedicated employee trying to grow.
-Boosts morale. The personal device will have their whole life on it already. With music, pictures, and apps readily available for a distraction, the employee will appreciate the convenience.
-Tax write off. The BYOD shifts the taxable benefit from the company to the employee. The employee is paying for the devices anyways. They might as well get a bonus from Uncle Sam.
“Is this really how BYOD works?”
Alright, honestly…it all depends. Tons of articles suggest it is as simple as connecting the device to the network and everyone is happy assuming proper policies and permissions are in place. The employees are happy because they can do what they want and the managers are happy because they don’t have to buy extra devices while still getting the connection to their employees. What the true benefit comes down to is COSTS and CONVENIENCE plus whatever the unique situation is for the company. That benefit may be INVALUABLE for one company and meaningless to another. That is why an assessment by a trusted MSP can go a long way.
The beauty of business is each organization is unique. Even a McDonald’s franchise has different demands, benefits and challenges compared to the next. So when a BYOD strategy is implemented it is almost ALWAYS a HYBRID.
The BYOD network will always be moving and hopefully growing (isn’t that the whole idea behind business?). There will be times where the company’s best interest IS to provide a device. Part-time, Full-time, Internships, Contract workers, salaried and consultants all play factors in what comes into the network.
“How do I ensure we are prepared?”
The best advice CloudTech1 can provide is to map out a strategy with a company that knows the fluidity of BYOD and has taken time to understand the value and security of your data. Then, gradually roll out the strategy while consistently testing both the communication and continuity but ALSO the disaster recovery. Finally, educate all users in the network on threats and how to best prevent them. Education is key in all business activity, and even though the employees may lament the meetings and emails it is imperative the message is ingrained in the mind. They’ll get over the meetings and emails.
Did we miss anything of value? What do you think about BYOD? Tell us about your BYOD experience in the comment section. Or email us at email@example.com.
Happy BYOD’ing, everyone!