Allowing staff to bring and use their own devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones has been adopted by some businesses and is often referred to as a BYOD, “bring your own device”, policy. It’s a trend in today’s business climate as apps, social media, and remote workforces expand. Should you consider adopting a BYOD policy? Here are a few pros, cons, and a solution that we think allows for the best of both worlds.
Primary reasons for BYOD policies include:
Less expensive. Letting your staff use their own devices can reduce expenses, after all, you don’t have to provide the units themselves. Employees tend to keep their personal devices up-to-date, unlike equipment that ages on an office desk that needs to be replaced at the company’s expense every time technology improves. However, there is some debate about whether or not cost savings are actually made, given unintended expenses (see below).
Ease of use. There is not a technology learning curve if employees bring their own device. If they use an iPhone or Android, they continue to use that. Because of their comfort and familiarity, this could increase productivity. They may need to learn an enterprise specific app, but they can do it on a device that is easy to manage.
Mobile Friendly. Employees don’t need to juggle two phones or computers. Everything in one place, on one device, makes it easier to communicate and physically manage. This is particularly helpful for remote workers who can increase productivity and office communication by relaying information even while offsite.
There are several concerns for adopting a BYOD policy as well. Those include:
Control. When you have employees rather than independent contractors, there is a give and take: you have more control over their actions, but you also need to provide more, such as benefits, insurance, and adhere to labor laws. With independent contractors, you may have fewer regulations to abide by, but those contractors have more independence. Be sure you can control how, what, when, where, and why an employee can use the device and access information.
Security. That brings us to security. Managing an employee’s access to information can be tricky. How will you protect client data and privacy? How do you protect company resources such as proprietary documents and processes? What happens if an employee gets a virus or loses a device? Who is responsible for repair or replacement?
Privacy. When an employee leaves the company, how do you retrieve the data they have on their personal device without invading their privacy? How do you access passwords to unlock the device if you need to access it? When it comes to employee relations, this can open a legal can of worms.
The Asset Locker Option
For remote workers, such as offsite technicians or salespeople, BYOD sounds like a great idea. It can streamline processes and increase office-field communication. So, where is the win-win in being both productive and secure?
The win-win solution, we believe, is to provide hardware for remote workers that have the technology needed to foster great communication and security. These “pre-loaded” devices can have exactly what the employee needs to do their job successfully, with the full control of IT and management in regards to appropriate downloads, password protection, and customer data protection.
For additional security, asset lockers can be used to store these devices and require employee digital signatures (pin numbers, badge swipe, or biometric readers) in order to access them, like a library check out system. The asset lockers can also be used to store an employee’s personal devices to ensure their safety while allowing staff to have a single device while working.
This type of system not only creates an automatic audit trail, it can include charging stations to keep devices ready for the next shift.
For more information on asset lockers, check out our partner’s website and this awesome blog Asset Management in the Age of the BYOD Workplace.