In an effort to stay current, many companies (even the US government) are moving their solutions and tools to the cloud. Everything is interconnected via the internet, so it doesn’t matter whether the staff is in the building or not.
There are countless benefits to this change, but migrating to the cloud has its own potenial problems. Here is one of the most basic one. How do you handle employees working from their own devices? Do you provide employees with company devices? Or do you just let them use their own if they want to?
While there are benefits to both approaches, a solid BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy can make the whole thing a lot easier on you. Especially if you lead a smaller company with limited capital. You get the assurance of good cybersecurity practices, and your employees get the flexibility they want.
If you BYOD policy is well planned.
Who doesn’t want lower overhead?
You can’t zero-out your IT budget. Not unless you want your staff to ditch all technology. (We don’t recommend that.) But there are ways to bring your tech-based overhead down.
Like utilizing BYOD.
Providing a device for every employee has a steep upfront cost, especially for an SMB or startup just getting on its feet. Even a cheap laptop will run in the hundreds-of-dollars. More specialized equipment, like Apple products for your design team, will cost even more.
We recommend providing equipment that’s essential to your staff to do their jobs. But if you already do that and they want to use their own tablet or laptop, as well, that benefits you—without an additional cost.
Factor in the increase in productivity, and it’s an automatic win for you.
Think about this: if you could get a boost in productivity with no investment of time or money, would you?
That’s what you get with a BYOD policy.
When your staff is empowered to bring in their own device, they’ll be working on equipment they already know and like.
No training. No expense. No lost time. You’ve preemptively checked off one item on their training itinerary.
People tend to update their personal equipment more often than their employers do. (And many businesses tend to hang onto their equipment much longer than they should). Newer equipment means tech tools that operate faster with fewer breakdowns and repairs.
Most people replace their personal devices when it’s convenient or when a newer device comes out, regardless of the performance of their current device. Businesses tend to replace their equipment when the old device breaks down, which could mean that it ends up being years out of date.
Long story short—most of the time a BYOD policy will mean your employees have greater access to newer equipment.
The policy itself
BYOD, in general, brings several benefits to the table. But without a written policy the practice can cause more trouble than it’s worth.
Here are several areas worth covering in the policy.
- Acceptable use
- What devices qualify for use
- Whether the in-house IT department will perform repairs on personal devices or not
- Whether the company will reimburse/subsidize for the use/repair of personal devices
And most importantly . . .
- Security policies
The biggest downside to BYOD is the potential security risk. Since your IT team doesn’t directly manage these devices, you have limited control over what the user is or isn’t doing with them.
Your security policy should definitely include requirements for anti-virus and firewall use. Perhaps the IT team can give it a once-over as part of the employee’s onboarding process, or check in every so often to make sure the device is functioning properly.
A required best-practices training course could also be a good means of keeping the device safe for use on your network. And you should absolutely train employees to understand the inherent risks of using public Wi-Fi. Sure, it’s free, but it may not always keep your company data safe.
Nothing matters as much as security.
A BYOD policy has a lot of benefits—for your business and your employees. Just make sure you think through all the potential pitfalls.Do your research and draft a policy keeps your company data safe. And if you need some input from some experts in the field, don’t hesitate to give your managed IT services provider a call.