Should you let your employees use their own devices

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In the 21st century world of work, the “Bring Your Own Devices” (BYOD) culture is clear for all to see. Whether they are conscious of it or not, employees often use personal devices in a business setting. Perhaps it is using a private smartphone to make a work call, checking company emails on a tablet device or using a personal laptop to work from home for a day.

The proliferation of mobile devices and remote working has caused a huge increase in BYOD activity. But while there are many benefits to the practice, there can also be dangers to such activity.

With the cloud and cloud-based software growing daily, it is easier than ever for employees to receive information straight to their handheld device.  And this is often where the hazards lie.

In this article,Syntax IT Support London share some of the positive and negative aspects of the BYOD phenomenon to help guide you towards the right choice for your business.

Keeps your business on budget

First of all, BYOD can be extremely cost effective. Allowing your employees to work from their own devices can save money on hardware, software and maintenance costs, as employees will be responsible for the maintenance of their own smartphone or tablet. BYOD can be especially useful for start-up businesses that don’t yet possess the funds to purchase hardware for all of their employees.

Employee appeal

Another positive of BYOD? Employees want it. For them, it is much easier to have all their necessary information at their disposal, instead of having to juggle multiple devices for different aspects of their daily lives. In fact, many employees are likely to already be partaking in the BYOD movement. Whether that means simply logging in to check emails and updates, or emailing documents back and forth between devices to look over in their spare time, BYOD feels natural to employees, and makes keeping up to date easy.

Communication is key to BYOD

And it’s not just employees who feel the benefit. BYOD can make things simpler for employers too. Through the cloud, employee contributions can be streamlined and flow from multiple devices into one wider source. It also makes employees easier to contact. If using their own devices, employees can remain in the loop even if they are travelling or working from home.

Too much tech?

However, there are uncertainties about BYOD. By allowing employees to provide their own devices, rather than providing them with hardware through the business, employers are offering no limit on the number of devices being used at any one time.

In an office environment, this can have detrimental effects on factors such as internet connectivity and speed. Also, there is the worry that BYOD may prove too distracting for employees, who will not only have business information on their device, but personal data also, including any social media, personal email accounts, games, music and apps which can prove all too tempting which can easily damage productivity.

Safety risks

But by far the most known concern regarding BYOD is the possible security risks it poses. Arguably, BYOD is less secure because it is less limited to a particular workspace; it relies on an individual’s care of their own property. The security of not only the device itself, but the data it holds is a great source of anxiety amongst employers.

Data security is crucial to all businesses — especially when it comes to legal and financial documentation. Therefore employers need to be sure that their information remains within the business. And that allowing access to data across a range of personal devices, doesn’t come at the cost of security.

Because of these possible risks, it is important that factors are put in place to make BYOD as secure as possible. Mobile device management systems should be considered for the security of individual devices, and IT management platforms can help enforce restrictions and security on multiple devices.

Seeking the help of an IT expert can help break down the many different factors surrounding BYOD, allowing you to discover how best to integrate it into your business.

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