The Case for Bringing Your Own Device
Achieving a sense of work-life balance is important for workers, but it’s also in the interest of employers. According to a study by recruitment firm Michael Page, 90% of HR leaders are prioritising employee happiness and 81% of the companies polled looked for ways to help staff achieve a healthy work-life balance.
When it comes to finding that all-important work-life balance,
BYOD plays a key role.
Cloud computing, fast internet speeds and mobile technology are freeing workers from their desks and allowing them to work remotely, whether they’re travelling for a meeting or at home. Workers who are allowed to work remotely using their own devices routinely report higher happiness and job satisfaction levels.
According to a Global Mobile Workforce Report from iPass (http://sbr.com.sg/information-technology/exclusive/bring-your-own-device-or-bring-your-own-disaster), countries in the Asia Pacific region are some of the biggest adopters of both mobile technology and BYOD, and 55% of workers now see BYOD as a right.
But while BYOD can be hugely positive, it’s not without its risks — so make sure you take the right precautions before rolling it out.
BYOD and IT security
According to technology consultancy firm Ovum, 80% of professionals will use at least two personal devices to access corporate systems by 2014. Yet many IT managers are still blasé when it comes to putting the right security protocols in place or creating a BYOD policy.
A study by IT management software provider SolarWinds found 47% of IT decision makers in SMEs left it up to the employees to manage their own IT security on their personal devices.
Before allowing staff to access company data on a personal device, make sure they have the same level of anti-virus protection as any office device would, and have a plan in place in case the device is lost to protect sensitive company data from getting into the wrong hands.
And think about your network infrastructure. If they’re going to be able to work productively, your staff will have to receive the same standards and access whether on a VPN, WAN or a wireless network.
IT managers will have to have full visibility on who is using their own device to access the network (and when) if they’re going to be able to protect the company’s data. It’s their job to consider how much access to grant individuals, and to revoke that access as soon as someone leaves the business.
Education and communication are key to making it work: employees need to understand some of the basic dos and don’ts of IT security when it comes to updating anti-virus software, choosing a secure password and making sure they use a secure Wi-Fi network.
There are also insurance implications. Make sure any devices used for work purposes are covered by your insurance policy and that data loss in particular is covered as well on top of the cost of the device.
BYOD and productivity
For many businesses, the worry about productivity going down is the biggest barrier to introducing BYOD.
But many firms are finding that BYOD is actually saving them money and increasing productivity levels. Intel saved five million hours of employee time in 2012 (http://networksasia.net/article/productivity-gains-spur-intel-expand-byod-program-1362993745) after introducing BYOD and making use of cloud computing. And Cisco relied on BYOD to manage an office move in Singapore and finds that it helps them be more produce, innovative and attract the best talent with the right digital skills.
To make the transition smooth, make sure you have a policy in place to keep tabs on what your employees are doing. Some companies ask staff to report back each week on the tasks they’ve completed in detail, while others require them to sign in when they’re working remotely so their hours can be logged.
Have you embraced BYOD yet?