Bring Your Own Device Policy

In companies all over the U.S. and the world, questions concerning the “bring your own device” (BYOD) to work policy raise the same responses from the same groups of people. Overwhelmingly, employees seem to be in favor of a liberal BYOD policy, while executive and senior leadership are wary of its adoption and usage. So says a study done by the CISCO Internet Business Solutions Group.

A BYOD policy is one which allows employees at a company to bring and use their own devices for everyday work, whether it be a laptop computer, cell phone, tablet, or other device. There are many benefits to a BYOD policy. For example, BYOD policies in the workplace can allow for increased flexibility. Instead of switching between cell phones to answer a work phone call and then a personal one, they save time by giving the employee all their contacts in one place. They also help employees by giving them all their documents and programs on one computer or tablet, and they save space for employees going on vacation or a business trip, needing to tote only one device.

Bringing your own device can also be a morale booster in the workplace, because employees can work from the devices they are most comfortable with. They’re able to use the technology with which they are familiar, and they’re not asked to compromise their brand loyalty by sitting behind a company-issued computer.

The BYOD model also offers greater mobility for employees. This means: less time lost on a commute during business travel, employees that are accessible even if they’re not in the office, and employees that are able to be “present” even if they need to stay home with a sick kid.

There are other business benefits to the BYOD model that don’t only pertain to employees. Studies have shown that executives believe their employees are more productive and creative when they are able to use their own devices. One study revealed that 73% of the companies that adopted a BYOD model showed increased efficiency in the workplace.  Because the company is no longer footing the bill for the devices their employees use, the potential savings can be monumental. Employees are probably more likely to use the BYOD policy as an excuse to stay current with technology, so companies can benefit from having employees who are savvy with the cutting edge stuff.

Of course, the greatest concern over BYOD policies is security. How is an IT department supposed to manage numerous devices on every employee, all being used to access secure data vital to the success of the company and the happiness of its clients? For many companies, this has been the reason why BYOD has yet to be adopted.

But how do you decide if it’s right for your company? While security issues aren’t insurmountable, companies who wish to adopt a BYOD policy must be dedicated to robust security policies. This will mean drafting new policies, training employees, and updating documents and employees frequently with any changes. As with any major business move, the pros need to be weighed against the cons, and the potential investment into the policy needs to be studied for its expected return. Security is a large and looming concern, but perhaps the benefits to your employees and the potential savings could outweigh the work invested in preventing those dangers.

Do you have a BYOD policy? Is it a good idea or bad idea for employees? Be sure to share in the comments below.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Dell’s Official Flickr Page