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BYOD – Bring Your Own Device

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Gone are the days when high-ranking officials sported a BlackBerry. which was more a symbol of their post and perks than a device to do work with. Nowadays more and more organizations are moving towards BYOD. Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is an initiative quickly gaining ground where employees are allowed to bring their own devices like laptops, smartphones and other mobile devices to their work environment. Consumerization of the IT revolution, with the advent of new devices like the iPhone and Android-powered mobile devices, has sparked a revolution of sorts where con- sumers are increasingly going for the latest and most advanced technology in the mar- ket. Organizations, however, tend to evolve towards new hardware more slowly as costs involved are too high.

IT departments of organizations gener- ally lag behind consum- ers and employees who are well-informed and have the flexibility to change electronic de- vices more often and prefer to bring them to work. Although the hardware expenses are passed on to the em- ployee, there are cer- tain issues the organiza- tion must still address. First of all, they will have no control over their employees’ type of IT hardware or how it is put to use. When devices are provided by the company it is pro- tected and managed by the IT department, as minimum security re- quirements have to be enforced when allowing own devices to ac- cess company data and network resources. This may not be easy when employees are using their own devices.

To safeguard compliance and data own- ership, PCI DSS, HIPAA, or GLBA mandates have to be enforced even if the data is on an employee’s device. This makes the data easy to be retrieved under a well-described pol- icy when a person leaves an organization.

Once BYOD programs are introduced within companies, several advantages can be experienced. Costs incurred for hard- ware, voice or data services and other de- vice-related expenses are passed on to the user, representing a big saving for the com- pany. It has been found that employees are actually happy to spend on their own devic- es, which also allows them to overcome the hassle of always handling two devices, one personal and the other company-provided.

Greater worker satisfaction can be real- ized with BYOD initiatives, as employees prefer to do their office work on their own device which they use at home, rather than the company-issued device. As leading edge technology featuring unique capabilities, smartphones and laptops that employees use give an indirect advantage to organiza- tions as they help augment employee effi- ciency and hence productivity.

Vmware, faced with the problem of too much expense on maintaining phones, launched the BYOD program, which also satisfied the need of employees who were not satisfied with the corporate phones. Keeping security and compliance in mind, some companies al- low users to choose between a company- issued phone plus a paid data plan or the use of their own device supported by a monthly stipend. O2 emphasizes the importance of security, supportability, legality, funding and exhaus- tive research before implementing a BYOD environment. A clear- cut policy of who and which devices can ac- cess a network needs to be chalked out to benefit both company and employee. The O2 environment has three tiers for earmarking different levels of access and different devices spanning from basic needs to desktop virtualization that works between business and personal devices.

Introduced as both an HR and an IT ini- tiative, BYOD offers numerous advantages. Besides being a cost-saver, a secure well-de- signed BYOD program will help improve employee satisfaction and in turn produc- tivity. It also puts technology adoption of a company in fast-track mode. With advance- ment in security technology many compa- nies are now saving on overhead and reduc- ing their carbon footprint by letting staff work from home. No wonder then that BYOD is catching on.


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