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3 ways a BYOD policy for your business will make your life easier

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.

Speedier training

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.

Better equipment

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.

How Businesses Can Save Time with IT

Every business can benefit from effectively utilizing their IT in the office. While not every technological advancement is necessarily practical or affordable, the right devices and programming can help you save time and money.

Small businesses need big ideas, and technology can bring increased productivity. Big businesses need scalability, and technology delivers that for them, too.

The barrier between plain ol’ technology and these benefits is understanding how to actually apply them to your needs.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone – hiring a managed IT service provider can help you get the most from these technological improvements automatically.

However, if you’re keen on saving time for yourself, follow these suggestions.

Software as a Service

SaaS applications allow your small business to easily acquire cloud-leased tools for a monthly subscription fee. Instead of purchasing and installing onsite software, your SaaS provider gives you access to the vast majority of the programs you need.

Plus, paying by monthly installments helps you better budget your expenses. You have constant access to the latest, most effective applications AND experts who can recommend the best programs for your business.

Related: 5 Common IT Support Questions, Answered

These applications can streamline your workflows and lower the time it takes to perform tasks.

Look at that – you’re already saving time with SaaS.

Artificial Intelligence

AI applications are not just for huge corporations. Businesses of all sizes can use them and their usage will only increase in the future. Your staff can benefit from AI assistants who can organize tasks (and even perform some of their own, such as calendar setting).

Currently, the medical industry benefits from apps that help doctors diagnose various conditions automatically. AI software can also perform human resource duties and monitor your office energy usage.

Related: 5 Reasons to Outsource Your IT

A majority of small businesses report plans to incorporate more AI in the near future to make their companies more efficient. After all, automating tasks gives you plenty of time for other more important tasks.

Mobile Computing

Small businesses especially benefit from mobile devices and collaborative software that allows for staff members to coordinate with clients, vendors, and other employees from anywhere in the world.

With the proper software, you can safely access business accounts no matter where you are. Additionally, you can efficiently complete tasks any time of the day or night. Laptops, tablets and even mobile phones can allow you to quickly deal with any business matter while you relax by the pool or spend time with your family.

In short, they allow you to work from anywhere – saving you the time and trouble of having to wait to get to the office to do work.

Cybersecurity

One of the biggest challenges to small businesses is cybersecurity. You are vulnerable to hackers who can steal sensitive information, including customer credit card information or critical company data.

Malware attacks can shut your entire system down, costing you time and eliminating productivity. The average small business loses over $8,000 for each hour of downtime.

You need advanced protection against hackers as well as training for your staff to remain competitive.

Related: 3 Simple Ways to Promote Cloud Security

Managed IT Services

Needless to say, time is everything in business. With it, you can get things done and complete more work. Without it, you’re stuck in disarray.

There’s a simpler way to save a lot of time automatically.

A managed IT service provider can provide tech services and manage them for you, freeing you from many time-consuming tasks. They can offer you cloud solutions to keep you connected, as well as security services to keep you protected.

They provide help in employee training and also create implement backup and recovery plans to ensure your business keeps running in case of a natural or man-made disaster.

In short, a managed IT team ensures that any difficulties are addressed immediately. You won’t suffer the delays you have when you hire contractors to fix specific issues. With the help of managed IT services, all of the tools you need to save time will work together to give you the power to grow your company.

The Top 5 Apps to Boost Your Productivity

You can find an app to do almost anything these days. Apps can monitor your health, maintain your schedule and improve your social life.

While many of these apps are enjoyable, only a handful are actually business-related. But when it comes to your company, you can still continue to use these applications to improve your productivity.

If you’re looking to get productive, the following five apps are well worth implementing.

SiteBlock

When you get to the office each day, you intend to sit down and get right to work. But first, you need to check the weather, local news and, of course, Facebook.

Before you know it, you’ve wasted 15 minutes or more surfing the web. SiteBlock is a Chrome extension that lets you temporarily block your favorite sites so that you are forced to concentrate (and hopefully get your work done).

You can easily unblock them when your work is finished or when you take your lunch break.

You can consider it a willpower enhancer.

Related: Transform Your Work Environment with the Cloud

Trello

Busy people need help staying organized. No one can remember every detail of their schedule when they are balancing work and their personal life.

Many people find Trello to be an easy-to-use app that alerts you to what you need to do today, tomorrow, and next week. After some initial configuration, the program will help you meet all your deadlines by never letting an important task slip by.

Trove

Keeping up with your email may seem impossible. Even when you’re diligent, spam creeps in. You overlook an important message. You forget to follow up when people don’t reply.

Trove offers a radar section that marks emails that need answers and reminds you when people haven’t responded to your messages. With this app, you can easily maintain control of your email inbox.

Stop, Breathe & Think

Sure, “mindfulness” is amongst current trends… but for good reason. This app helps you stay calm in all situations, which is a priceless business skill as well as life-enhancer.

Stop, Breathe & Think walks you through mediation sessions that make you feel less stressed and more in control. As a result, you will be less likely to make bad decisions based on emotion. Your health will probably benefit as a result, too.

Skype

If you haven’t fully embraced Skype at your office, you may not be maximizing your productivity. Many companies use Skype for video conferencing, saving travel time, and hosting more efficient meetings.

You can discuss business matters with your overseas branch or with the group across town. If you are on vacation, you can still hold an emergency meeting if necessary.

Related: Weather the Storm with Cloud Mobility

Not everyone uses all elements of Skype, such as the ability to instant message and upload documents. You can also screen share so that you can demonstrate processes and work on projects as a team, even when people are scattered around the globe.

Get Productive

You can choose from an impressive number of applications for productivity and mobility. You will experience workflow improvement, and you should also experience less stress, individually and as a team.

Not all applications are created equal, but you can find at least a few that will work for you and your employees. Many are inexpensive or even free, so you can certainly afford to try them out. You may be surprised at how much more you will get done each day.