Pros and Cons of BYOD

BYOD laptop

Flickr: Michael Coghlan

Has your business been thinking about implementing BYOD, the policy allowing employees to use their own devices (smartphone, computer, laptop, tablet, and so on) for work purposes? You’re in luck. Today, we’re examining the wonderful and not-so-great aspects of this trend to see if it’s the right fit for your business needs.

Pros of BYOD

Familiarity and Comfort Level

Because your employees are using their own technology, they know how to operate it. They know where is, how everything is saved, and the ins and outs of their personal machine. This lessens or eliminates a learning curve or gap. Now, they can focus on the work that needs to be done instead of spending time learning how the technology works. Increased efficiency is never a bad thing!

Up-to-Date Technology

Because this is the same technology your employee uses in their personal life as well, it gets more wear. Subsequently, it will need to be replaced more often. Since we want the best products for ourselves, this means that the technology your employees will be using will likely be up-to-date or close to it, and at no purchase cost to your company.

BYOD solutions

Employees will strive to have the latest technology available since their devices are working double duty–home and personal life.

Cost-effective 

BYOD can definitely a cost-cutter for businesses. If you are implementing a BYOD policy in your office, some see it a courtesy to compensate fully or partial compensation. These costs could cover things like cell phone minutes or data usage for those that require tablet access. This cost is often less than cost of having business-only devices, where you would have to purchase the device and pay for the full monthly bill.

Increase Productivity

Some positions requires work outside of your typical 9-5. For example, businesses who work with global partners may require calls or correspondence during nonbusiness hours. BYOD gives your employees the ability to work outside of your designated business hours. If you need to make an evening call in order to be communicating during business hours in Japan, your employee may do so from a home office, a conference room in their hotel, or anywhere else.

BYOD can also be used in the case of employees who are parents. Any parent will tell you that when one kid gets sick, they all get sick. When Jan’s son gets the flu, she has to stay home to care for him. This means Jan is using one of her sick days even though she is not sick. As a result, the business’ productivity decreases because she is not working. With BYOD, though, Jan can work remotely and save sick days for when she is truly sick and unable to work.

Everything at Your Fingertips

BYOD lets you do more than just make calls or send emails from a work device. Using cloud computing services, you can also access files, software, and so much more on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. If Jan is working remotely while her son is sick, she can still access everything she would be able to at the office. If Bart attends a conference in California but Karen in the office has a question, Bart can easily access his files and get an answer to Karen quickly.

BYOD at home

By being able to access everything from anywhere, employees can work wherever best suits them. Flickr: WolfVision.

Cons of BYOD

Network Overload

Many employees will have devices that are strictly for the office and those that they bring from home. For example, I have a laptop (1), my cell phone (2), my desk phone (3), and a desktop computer (4) sitting on my desk. I use all four devices for work purposes. If every employee has three or four devices, and all of these devices are supposed to connect to the same network, the network may get bogged down. This means the company may have to increase bandwidth or update their network and its abilities in order to accommodate the increase in connected devices.

Mixing Work with Personal Life

Using the same device for your personal and professional lives can be dangerous. It is very easy to accidentally send a message to the wrong person. For example, I have a Marcia H. and Mandi H. in my contacts for my work email account. Both of their email addresses start with “mh.” I always have to do one final check before hitting “send” to ensure that I am sending the message to the correct person. Our brains are so wired to type as little as possible to maximize efficiency that we often just trust our technology and neglect verifying the auto-inputted information.

Now think about people in your personal life who may have similar emails or phone numbers as your professional contacts. Yes, it may be a tad embarrassing to send your husband Matt a work email, but it would be more embarrassing to send your coworker Matt a text reminding him to buy toilet paper on the way home.

Besides contact mix-ups, using your own device for work may have other side effects. Remember cookies, those web-enabled bits of memory created by your Internet usage? They can come back to haunt you when doing web searches at work. For example, let’s say you spend your evening Thursday evening watching “Scandal” and browsing emails. Kohl’s has robes on sale, so you take a look at the robes, maybe switch over to looking at their pajama selection, then close out. In your Friday morning meeting, you have to share your screen with those in the meeting. Because of your cookies, you will likely now have everything you searched showing up in web banners. This can be embarrassing (depending on what you are searching) or uncomfortable (everyone uses toilet paper, but do you want to broadcast that?) for anyone involved.

Using your computer for work and leisure may get embarrassing if your recently viewed webpages or search history pops up. Flickr: WolfVision

Using your computer for work and leisure may get embarrassing if your recently viewed webpages or search history pops up.
Flickr: WolfVision

Virus or Malware Infiltration

When you use your device at home for leisure, you may come across a virus. If that virus infects your device, this could cause a large mess. If the virus attacks email, for example, it could send viruses to all personal and professional contacts. Devices can also transfer malware or viruses through the wireless network, infecting that as well. This infected network can now spread the virus to any and all devices connected to it, creating a company-wide catastrophe.

Theft

Nice smartphones get stolen, and that is an unfortunate truth. If your employee’s smartphone is stolen and unprotected (74% of Americans do not use any type of passcode on their phones), all that information that is so readily available (as mentioned above) is now accessible by the thief. Reversely, an employee, upset and ready to leave, may stash files, contacts, or more from company servers to take with them when they leave. This can give your competition a leg up you never wished, all because of BYOD policies.


BYOD

In conclusion, BYOD has plenty of positive aspects, but the negatives must also be weighed when making a final decision. Before implementing a BYOD policy, it is wise to set guidelines with your Human Resources department that all employees using BYOD must sign and agree to. This will ensure that the company’s security is upheld and both parties receive the best of this policy.

If you are interested in implementing BYOD technology into your business, Heart Technologies is here to help! Give us a call at 877.494.3278 now to get started.

 

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