Working with your own smartphone or notebook – in many companies, this is already possible for the employees. Bring Your Own Device is the name of this trend. But what is behind BYOD and what should companies pay attention to when introducing it?
Using your own PC or smartphone for work is very much in vogue. In more and more companies, employees can use their own devices to do their jobs. “Bring Your Own Device” is the name of this concept, which is increasingly becoming a requirement for the employer, especially for the younger generation.
Bring Your Own Device to work is the inline trend
At first glance, BYOD – the common abbreviation for Bring Your Own Device – offers many benefits for both employees and companies. Above all, a higher flexibility, but also saved acquisition costs in the technology are at the top of the list of advantages. But is BYOD actually all that gold that glitters? In this article, we take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages.
What is Bring Your Own Device?
Although the technology is becoming more and more modern, corporate computers are often not up to date. Employees, especially those who are used to high-end devices from the private sector, are increasingly demanding high-performance devices. So it is not surprising that more and more employees want to use their own smartphones or notebooks for work.
Bring Your Own Device, most commonly abbreviated to BYOD, is an IT policy designed to regulate just that use of private mobile devices in businesses. But integrating private devices in the corporate network sounds easier than it actually is.
The main reason for this is that employees use their personal devices to gain access to the company’s IT infrastructure. In particular, compliance with data security standards plays an important role. Accordingly, there is always a comprehensive security concept behind BYOD. This includes both the technical requirements and legal requirements.
Benefits of Bring Your Own Device
For both companies and employees, BYOD promises some benefits at first glance. The main focus is on productivity. So employees are already familiar with their own smartphones and notebooks; It may be necessary to avoid a tedious habit of getting used to, especially when switching between different operating systems.
Employee satisfaction also increases through the use of BYOD. Likewise, the bring-your-own-device concept provides more flexibility. Employees can, as far as the company strategy allows, freely choose where they work. In addition, many tend to always use the latest technical devices, which prevents the problem of outdated hardware or software in companies.
Above all, the idea of cost savings for companies makes BYOD attractive to them. At the same time, they expect a modern image and the hope to win especially younger employees, where the use of private devices on the list of requirements to the employer is at the top.
Cost savings through BYOD – a fallacy
But the cost savings of reduced acquisition costs for employer and service cell phones is a fallacy for many companies. In reality, Bring Your Own Device requires not only an effective security concept but also some maintenance by the IT department or system administrator.
The biggest problem with BYOD: data security. But other technical requirements are quickly becoming a snare. In any case, company-wide policies are required that employees who use personal devices to work with. This is particularly important for security because sensitive corporate data is no less protected on private devices from data loss or hacker attacks than on company-owned devices. On the contrary.
Statistics show that around a quarter of mobile devices fall victim to theft or loss. A horrific scenario for any company, because this opens the door to hackers and in the worst case can lead to the ruin of the company. The management of BYOD devices, such as using mobile device management, is, therefore, a must for companies.
Bring Your Own Device – you have to pay attention
So you see: bring your own device trend seems meaningful at first glance but, there are some challenges to keep in mind. That is certainly one of the reasons why BYOD is not yet so widespread in American companies. In other countries, especially in Asia, the use of private devices at work is already common practice. However, significantly stricter data protection and licensing regulations apply, which can quickly put BYOD in business.
This starts, for example, with the Office license. If an employee has Microsoft Office installed on his PC, that does not mean that he can use it for the job. There are some Office licenses that exclude commercial use.
While the problem of software licensing can be solved relatively straightforward with good application management, the data security is already quite different. This poses a particular challenge for IT and management when deciding for or against BYOD.
Bring Your Own Device: Establish guidelines
It could be so easy: just take the private smartphone or notebook to the office, connect to the corporate Internet and get started. However, when mobile devices are connected to the corporate IT infrastructure, it is imperative that these devices be centrally managed. The reason for this is as simple as logical: data security.
The main sources of danger include data theft or a hacker attack that focuses on capturing sensitive corporate data. That’s why companies that rely on Bring Your Own Device must set guidelines to ensure safety. The use of a password or a screen lock, as well as the installation of a reliable antivirus protection, are the minimum.
Regular updating of operating systems and applications is also an important part of the BYOD security concept. The use of Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Enterprise Mobility Management also helps here.
Data Security at Bring Your Own Device
If employees also use private devices in the job, a strict separation of work and private areas on the devices is important. This works, for example, using virtualization.
It is important that sensitive corporate data continues to be stored only in the corporate data center and not locally on the mobile device. However, if data is stored locally, the IT department or the system administrator can delete it remotely. This is also useful when mobile devices are stolen.
Alternatively, a good MDM helps manage applications on the smartphone or tablet. On the one hand, only apps released for company use can be installed. On the other hand, devices can be managed centrally, data can be deleted if necessary, and new access rights assigned.
Important for data security with Bring Your Own Device is also their encryption. So either the entire device memory can be encrypted or encrypted areas, called containers, can be created. There are numerous systems on the market that can be used to set up such separate areas.
Bring Your Own Device and the Legal Aspect
Data protection and related data protection laws are certainly one of the biggest pitfalls of introducing Bring Your Own Device into your business strategy. But there are also a lot of work-related issues for companies at BYOD. As a rule, companies can not completely ban smartphone use in the workplace. Nevertheless, it makes sense, the use of private terminals in the employment contract.
Even when it comes to the private use of control gear, a corresponding regulation is important. In general, it should be determined which programs and licenses are suitable for enterprise use, which measures must be taken to ensure data security and how work and home areas are separated on the mobile device.
Is BYOD the Future for Business?
Data security, legal aspects and technical challenges – all of this can quickly become a snare for companies when employees bring their own computing devices. While BYOD was one of the most exciting corporate strategy trends a few years ago, it has long been flattened in some places. For example, many companies in the US have now ordered a “no BYOD” policy. For security reasons, employees are no longer allowed to use their private devices within the company’s existing IT infrastructure.
In any case, the big problem of BYOD is data security protection. For system administrators or IT departments, the overhead of Bring Your Own Device is enormous. There are also questions about licensing law, liability and support, which quickly put a stop to the effective use of BYOD.
Companies that think about Bring Your Own Device should, therefore, look carefully to see if BYOD really pays off for them. It is definitely advisable to use mobile device management or enterprise mobility management. If you need support in choosing and implementing MDM or EMM in your business, you can consult an external IT service provider.
Talk to our IT experts to know the possibilities and solutions for the development of IT in your company.