Should your company adopt a BYOD policy?

June 12, 2013

As mobile solutions become more powerful for handling various business tasks and employees come to realize the utility of tablets and smartphones, it’s become increasingly common for workers to bring these devices with them to the office. Corporate IT departments have gotten wind of this trend, and they’ve begun to embrace it, even giving it a name – bring your own device (BYOD).

Companies everywhere are asking their employees to bring their own mobile devices. The benefits of the policy are clear – it’s a lot cheaper for businesses to let their workers bring their own electronics than to supply them, and on the employees’ side, it’s beneficial as well. People often feel more productive when getting to use their own personal mobile phones, as they’re comfortable when operating the devices they’ve always owned.

We’re rapidly entering a world in which BYOD is much more than a fad – it’s the norm in today’s business world. According to Gartner research, 38 percent of companies will stop providing their workers with mobile devices by 2016. Then, by 2017, BYOD will be a requirement in half of all offices.

“BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades,” Gartner vice president David Willis said. “The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs.”

Security is one issue
While companies that climb aboard the BYOD bandwagon are able to enjoy a more mobile, satisfied workforce and reduced costs, there is one catch – it can be difficult for IT departments to manage the security of workers’ mobile devices, their apps and their information.

According to Security Dark Reading, 70 percent of companies cite data security as a top concern when managing employees’ mobile devices, which even surpasses employee productivity, cited by 54 percent. Companies and their workers must live in fear of their data being lost, stolen or infected with malware. Not enough is being done about this problem.

“What is concerning to me is the lack of security that is actively implemented, according to survey respondents,” said Paul Zimski, vice president of solution marketing at Lumension. “Over a third of organizations have no security at all and most are relying on just encryption.”

Despite the security concerns, though, BYOD policies can be tremendously useful for businesses looking to make their workforces more portable and productive.