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Is BYOD A Viable Strategy For Every Business?

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Image by James Nash

The BYOD (bring your own devices) scheme is a business model that has been fast spreading across the nation for the last decade.

Since the invention of the smart phone, technology has become trendy.  Whilst Blackberry are usually credited with its invention, it’s Apple’s iPhone that really kick-started the information revolution.  Gradually, more and more employees were becoming accustomed to having lightning fast connections and information at the touch of a fingertip.

Companies were wasting money buying in new technology to try and catch up with the ever advancing technology wave.

As a result of this a BYOD business plan was increasingly seen as the inevitable next step by most employers.  It was a chance to harness the power of the technological revolution rather than attempting to fight it.  Employees were able to use their superior technology rather than the lagging company standard and employers could reap the benefits of what, in theory, should be a faster and more productive workforce.  However there were drawbacks with the new system.  Problems with security, focus and compatibility began to creep into workplaces.  What was once largely regarded as common sense, was now being questioned by a growing number of companies.

Is this really the best solution?  Where do the problems start and how can they be avoided?

Keeping the Focus

It’s a sad fact that whilst new laptops and phones offer far more potential for greater productivity, they also offer far more potential for procrastination.

If truth be told, most of us are likely to spend 90% of our time on Facebook and YouTube if we get the chance to. The temptation is only increased when we’re using devices which we’re used to using solely for entertainment.

To combat this, a simple starting point is to switch the emphasis from a “Bring Your Own Device” policy, towards a “Use Your Own Device” policy.  By changing the emphasis we reiterate the original intention of the BYOD policy.  The idea of bringing your own device suggests that it is an added bonus to the working day, rather than a practical tool.  By shifting the emphasis the device becomes a temporary part of the company.

You are using it to work rather than simply bringing it along.  By making this simple shift you can already begin to change the attitudes of your employees and change the way we view smartphones and the workplace.  Let them be your tool and not your accessory.

Security

In the last few months there have been various high profile cases of employees going against their employer’s wishes by publicizing important company files.  By allowing employees to store files in their own devices you are giving them a huge amount of power over you.  Should they leave your company they will still have your information stored on their hard drives.  However recent technology can change all this.

By effectively making use of Cloud technology you can control your employees’ access to files at any time.  By implementing strict company policies you can ensure that all data is stored on an online database which you, the employer, can control. Just as your employees have moved with the times so must you the employer. By keeping up-to-date with the latest technology and adjusting company policy appropriately, you too can deal with the problems BYOD poses.

Compatibility

Another problem BYOD poses is the issue of variability.  Whilst Apple’s grasp of the market is fairly complete, there are still other devices available with different software.  On top of this, very few useful programs come as standard with Apple devices; most have to be downloaded separately as Apps, bringing the opportunity for introducing more incompatible programs to the workplace.  Again the best solution is by using Cloud technology.

This way you can monitor file types and allow instantaneous file sharing.   Employees can share information and combine their devices in order to create something far more effective.  By effectively using Cloud software you can harness the power of your employees’ versatility and greatly improve the quality of your company’s output.

To recap, portable technology has become an essential part of most people’s personal lives.  However it is yet to be successfully integrated into the workplace on a large scale.  This is a huge, untapped, resource just waiting for employers to use.

However caution is needed, new policies need to be designed and implemented in order to keep up with changing business models. For further advice on this issue I recommend using the advice of informed IT security professionals such as Hardware.

These advances carry great positives but also come with large potential hazards, don’t risk the safety of your company with useless security measures.

What do you think of BYOD as a strategy for your workplace?

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