Bring Your Own Device

BYOD and its impact on the small business

According to Gartner, BYOD is one of these phenomena that will change IT in the coming next ten years. Is your business embracing it?

It is common for employees to be dissatisfied with equipment supplied by the company. Not having the best equipment can be demotivating, and for a small business that relies heavily on a few employees, this can be felt acutely. So do you allow employees to bring their own devices? Here are some things to consider.

Productivity

People buy what they like and BYOD allows employees to use devices they already own and like. Furthermore, it's much easier to use one device as opposed to switching between their personal devices and company technology. Also, people are usually highly proficient at their own gadgets, the learning curve is taken care of.

Cost savings

BYOD schemes can save costs. From a small business point of view, this element extends beyond the current cost saving of equipping employees with mobile technology. The rapid changes in technology bring new tools and ways of handling IT challenges in the workplace. No one can tell what the next twelve months will bring. BYOD provides a nearly perfect solution for this.

Increased flexibility

A small business, flexibility is key. When employees are able to work from home, on the road or in the workplace, there are obvious benefits. With a well-managed BYOD infrastructure, employees can more readily juggle between their family, social and work lives while maintaining a high level of productivity.

Security concerns

One of the main concerns of BYOD is security. Managing the changing IT landscape and the security policies that come with BYOD can be an expensive and time-consuming undertaking. Exercising control over these personal devices on business networks is a nightmare to IT personnel. Fortunately, software tools, like Citrix and MobileIron, exist that allow you to manage logins and implement compliance policies that support remote wipe-offs when devices are stolen or misplaced.

According to Gartner, BYOD is one of these phenomena that will change IT in the coming next ten years. Is your business embracing it?

About

David Gitonga is an avid reader and writer and has worked with various companies to design, develop, and maintain their websites. He has worked with websites as an online content marketing strategist in the field of tech, social media, design, and de...

6 comments
any1011
any1011

My company, SolarWinds, recently ran a survey with Network World (http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/041712-byod-258264.html), and it confirms some of what you point to in your article. Namely that for IT pros, the influx of personal mobile devices to the corporate network raises security concerns, creates management challenges, and swamps the help desk with support calls. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents cited that they need management help in dealing with BYOD. And despite the myriad security concerns and manageability challenges, there are positive effects associated with the BYOD trend. For example, among the respondents whose companies allow personal mobile devices to access the corporate network, 46.2% said the policy has increased productivity among end users. A similar number (47.2%) said it has increased end users' ability to work from home.

Kevin@Quealy.net
Kevin@Quealy.net

We're still providing laptops to our remote users but now they are able to access information using their personal smart phones and cell phones. So in our case BYOD means our users are adding devices that they use ... not replacing what we provide. Another beneift is that our uses can now access network resources without needing to connect on VPN. This is safer from the stand point of end users passing viruses back to the home office and it provides faster service to our end users who don't need every packed encrypted.

mark1408
mark1408

...at least for now. I've read a slew of posts highlighting the potential (and actual) downsides - not least that when total costs are considered, the savings on device purchase can be wiped out by additional support costs. In reality I do have a tiny number of trusted individuals using their own devices but not for mainstream day to day work - mostly for email collection with ActiveSync. Our policy spells out their responsibility for the company data on their device and the ultimate sanction of a remote wipe. I still maintain that much of the BYOD bandwagon is hype and that the take-up, as well as the advantages, don't measure up. I'm open to eating my words in future though...

mark1408
mark1408

I understand about working from home. I can do that already from a home PC if I have to. Not that I think it's a great idea, generally. But what is the general "increase in productivity among end users" enabled by BYOD?

mark1408
mark1408

How do your people with their own devices access your network resources? Do you mean because they log them in to your network directly?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

spend most of their day out in the field and being able to quickly access emails via a smart phone can be useful, but I don't see a way it would be useful to the vast majority of administrative and accounting staff who sit in officers processing the corporate paperwork.