Bringing your own beverage implied a sense of responsibility for yourself. It was a lot easier to tell if you were putting yourself, or others at risk.
We’re not knocking BYOD (bring your own device) - it’s brought some fabulous benefits to our lives:
- Selecting a device that's best for you = more flexibility vs. everyone using the same.
- A variety of resources available for employees and students.
- The ability to connect anywhere, anytime.
But, multiple devices, platforms and browsers bring more risk into the mix—and cost, as your support staff needs to become experts to install and troubleshoot multiple systems, and most importantly, ensure security when personal, unregulated devices tap into your network:
- We talked recently about PCI Compliance and the cost-effectiveness of working with a SaaS vendor who has invested in it. Security for your data and your user data is paramount in this day and age and BYOD will expose vulnerabilities.
- Workflow and team cohesiveness may also be compromised by BYOD unless you set guidelines and use tools to ensure compatibility across multiple platforms and systems.
Because it is such a recent phenomena, there is no set way to handle BYOD concerns. There are also very few proven examples of a successful BYOD program out there, as of yet. But, predictions have 50% of companies worldwide requiring BYOD by 2017.
- Allows employees to work with devices to encourage creativity and innovation.
- Gives flexibility to employees to choose from a selection of devices that best suits their individual work habits.
- Limits security risks by maintaining control over what employees can run on the device.
- Limits cost, because support staff can become familiar with a finite number of devices, systems and browsers.
2) Identify a champion. We don’t mean that you need to have someone selling the idea of BYOD within your company. We mean that you need someone who is on top of all the regulations and changes that are implicit in BYOD. This is a multi-faceted initiative that involves technology, your business’ practices, staff attitudes/perceptions and the law. There is no question that the role of IT staff is changing and with the cloud now common place, your IT folks can focus on staying ahead of the curve. This is one way for them to do that—by helping to keep you informed and prepared for how BYOD changes your work life. And, of course, they can focus on safeguards to protect your data.
3) Set and respect boundaries. This is not to imply that you don’t already do this, but that BYOD can affect workplace practices and create management challenges that weren’t there before.
- Establish regular face-to-face meetings with employees and teams—even if they are allowed to work remotely.
- Consider setting expectations for employees that focus on getting the work done and instead of putting in a certain number of hours or being available ALL the time. That’s not to say you can’t have reasonable expectations that employees will generally be available during “core” working hours—particularly when there are deadlines to meet.
4) Be prepared to address issues that arise outside of the workplace. If BYOD leads to employees working remotely, be prepared to address issues in addition to data security: With employees working in the office less and less, how does that affect their benefits, or the infrastructure needed to do their job? For example, do you have an enterprise publishing system with solid infrastructure and secure processes, who guarantees PCI compliance across multiple devices, systems or browsers? Don’t wait until something happens to find out. And communicate what you know to your employees.
BYOD has a lot of potential to improve the quality of our working lives and increase productivity. Just remember that each little device can pack a bigger punch than you might have thought.