Many companies struggle to weigh the pros and cons of a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, seeing a potentially large cost savings of not purchasing numerous phones, laptops, tablets, and data plans. However, that cost savings may come at a much higher price in the long run when you consider soft costs like productivity, control, and efficiency.
Pros of BYOD
- Save $$$ – The company can save money, both the initial capital investment of purchasing the devices and with the monthly costs to purchase numerous data plans.
- Familiarity – Employees chose a device they are used to, making them more efficient and happier.
- Single Device – Employees do not need to carry two phones (work & personal).
- Company Lacks Responsibility – Since employees supply their own phones for their job, the company is not responsible for the devices, and that burden rests with the employees.
- Less Administration – Since the company is not responsible for phones, the company does not have to track the phones, usage, and transferring devices with employees coming and going.
Cons of BYOD
- Lack Standardization – Not having a standardized phone means less efficient processes because employees will not be using the same applications, operating systems, versions, etc.
- Lack Control – Legally, your company can not add necessary applications or software to an employee’s personal phone, including apps to protect your company and its data.
- Prone to Viruses – Employees can easily bring viruses and malware into your network (unwittingly) because their devices do not have the latest updates and necessary virus protection.
- Lack Monitoring – A good IT firm will monitor all of your company’s devices for potential viruses, potential failures, and end of life status. Something as simple as a device’s memory nearing capacity will probably cause a work stoppage because the employee doesn’t know it is about to happen and may not want to pay to upgrade the memory.
- Lack Backups – Since employees are responsible for their devices, they are responsible for backing up their phones, most likely to their personal iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive.
- Lack of Control of Data – Also, when an employee leaves, the company may lose vital data or have a data breach since the company cannot ensure the device is wiped clean.
If you must comply with HIPAA regulations, this can be a big problem.
- Faulty Devices Affect the Entire Company – A bad network port on an employee’s device can flood your network with spam messages and traffic, slowing down your entire company network and potentially blacklisting your company from sending outbound emails.
- IT’s Hands Are Tied – Since the employee owns the device, the company’s IT firm cannot support or service the device because there is no contract protecting the IT firm, your company, and the employee. [The same challenge holds true for internal IT departments. They should not work on personally owned devices.]
If your company can not afford to or chooses not to provide devices to your employees, a good IT firm may suggest having those employees use a guest wireless network. Also, utilizing a cloud-hosted core application is important so that vital data is not stored on that device and you can remove the employee’s access without having to wipe their personal devices upon termination or if the device is lost.
Furthermore, we suggest every company, whether using a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy or not, to have an appropriate usage policy in their employee handbook and a process for retrieving devices or removing access when an employee leaves the company. A good IT firm can help you with these policies, as well as support your company-owned devices.