Written by Steve Garrood
Technology, and its surrounding infrastructure, has grown vastly over the past decade. As a result of this, many companies can now conduct their business needs through the use of mobile phones and tablets, benefiting from an increase in their workforce’s availability, flexibility and productivity.
However, given the cost implications involved in establishing a company communication network of this kind, employees cannot assume that their organisation will run all business activities through compliant, corporate-provided devices. ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) schemes have therefore swiftly become a cheaper alternative solution and, as a result, have created a business area that now requires strict regulating.
It is estimated that there are now as many mobile phones in the world as there are people, with over 7 billion devices believed to be in use. This level of global domination has taken fewer than 20 years to occur and the growth is yet to slow down. Mobile phones are at the heart of the majority of businesses and the mandatory requirement for high-risk organisations to capture, index, archive and restore all phone activity is far-reaching.
The Information Commissioners Office highlights that any organisation following a BYOD policy must ensure their devices and operations comply coherently with acts of data protection.
High-risk organisations such as financial institutions are governed to comply with regulatory requirements, including recording all means of electronic communications (phone calls, emails and text messages to name but a few) through which any business or trading activity can be executed. Such policies have been established to ensure that companies like these always trade fairly and that failure to do so will result in significant penalty fines.
By implementing BYOD policies, organisations can expect to see a reduction in time and support offered by their internal IT departments, in relation to employees’ personal devices, as users are more likely to maintain their phones or tablets, and update to the latest software releases, independently. As a result, IT departments can focus their skills on other, more specific issues, increasing overall workflow efficiency and reducing general manpower costs.
User Preference and Compatibility
BYOD strategies can benefit the individual user, as employees are able to choose their own device based on personal preferences. This is in turn a cost saving exercise for company owners, as valuable budget is not wasted on investing in a large number of handsets that their workforce may not enjoy using, and may also therefore need more IT assistance with.
Employee productivity can arguably increase by adopting a BYOD strategy. Not only is it popularly seen as more time and energy efficient to work from one device, the user is also then more likely to work “out of hours”, reading business-related emails or reviewing accessible documents. With suitable policies in place, the correct management of software, and the accessibility to training and/or technical support, the cost-saving potential of a BYOD scheme is considerable. However, as with all strategies, there are also a number of disadvantages in adopting this approach, which are worth considering.
Increased Security Risks
With any device, there is always an element of security risk associated with it, especially when it comes to day-to-day business operations. Uncertainty of whether an employee is using their device for purely business purposes during work hours, as opposed to personal matters, is also often difficult to establish.
Technology Support: Knowledge Requirements
Companies must ensure that any devices used in a business capacity are wholly compliant from a data protection and/or “fair trading” perspective, and that the potential implications of this, whether operational or financial, are analysed.
Expense Management Complexity
Managing the monthly expenses associated with a BYOD scheme, especially those involving multiple employees, could prove more difficult. Users will naturally want to be reimbursed for any expenses incurred during business use, and this can be both time consuming and complicated to validate and then action.
Managing a BYOD
The end goal of implementing a BYOD strategy is to enable all communications and business activity to be done from one personal device, providing that it complies with a company’s individual regulations.
Factors to Consider When Implementing BYOD
Can your company execute a BYOD program with all of your employees? What are the benefits? What are the costs? Who needs to approve it?
Would a single approach work across all participating departments, or would a combination of solutions better meet the requirements of various user groups?
What devices and operation systems should your company support?
What training and IT support will your employees need to be given to effectively move to a BYOD strategy, and remain compliant and effective?
A Compelling Solution is on offer
With the end goal of implementing a BYOD strategy, reducing telecoms costs and maintaining a competitive compliant advantage from one personal device, perhaps Venncomm’s Compliant Pack powered by Soteria provides all of the above in one convenient stop…