The modern workforce is equipped with essential technical expertise. It knows exactly what tools and technologies to use where, and at what time. BYOD or Bring Your Own Device is a trend that evolved almost a decade ago, but was not that much more popular than it is now, in the contemporary world. Today, the majority of the workforce uses BYO devices for work as it brings flexibility and freedom. Let’s explore more about BYOD.
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BYOD: A brief history
There was a time when the workforce operated from spectacular corporate offices, under closed, strict, and monitored environments. A monitored system was allotted to each employee by the IT department and the employees were bound to familiarize themselves with that system, several company-specific tools, and technologies. It was a golden corporate experience that every tech-savvy individual wanted to experience once in their lifetime.
But, having said that, it is also true that the ways corporate work keeps on changing. Almost a decade ago, certain corporate workers started using their own mobile phones and devices for work purposes. Many tech giants welcomed the move as they noticed employees becoming more productive and available even at odd hours in emergency situations. This practice was termed as BYOD-Bring Your Own Devices on lines of BYOB-Bring your own Booze or Bottle in the corporate world.
Gradually, BYOD became a hit in a few corporations where employees operated in different time zones. To collaborate, companies allowed certain executives to access their networks, databases, and servers from home to keep the business running. Employees used this to their advantage and joined this BYOD revolution-which proved to be a boon during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the businesses were left with no choice but to operate remotely.
What is the BYOD trend?
BYOD or Bring Your Own Device is a trend that is evolving at a faster pace than ever. It is attracting both employers and employees. It is a trend where employees use personal devices to connect to organizational networks, sensitive servers, databases, and information.
Bring Your Own Device or BYOD has become a way of corporate culture, especially with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. It was there but gained popularity recently. Organizations were somehow left with no other choice to allow their employees to work from home due to lockdowns and stricter office-strength regulations across the globe.
Benefits of BYOD
Behind every cloud, there’s a silver lining. And BYOD proved to be that silver lining. It brought major profits to several businesses even during testing times as employees were more productive and felt comfortable working from home. BYOD brought a plethora of benefits. Let’s take a quick look.
- Increased employee productivity
A personal touch is crucial when it comes to performing something very important in life. BYOD adds that very personal touch to work. Employees feel comfortable working with their own devices, tools, and technologies. This reduces IT teams’ overall efforts in training employees and saves productive IT hours in troubleshooting.
- Flexible working hours
BYOD allows elasticity to the otherwise rigid official working hours. Employees who were usually not accessible beyond working hours, while from home, are happily addressing emergencies and critical issues. This has helped the businesses greatly. On the other hand, this flexibility paved the way for a better work-life balance for employees. They could take informed breaks for doctor visits and personal emergencies for which they compensated later.
- Reduced IT expenditure
Offices across the globe are operating remotely, which is saving infrastructure costs beyond imagination. Employees are not dependent on IT admins for troubleshooting their hardware, which cuts down the costs dramatically. It saves in-office operations costs, hardware costs, and other miscellaneous costs, which were otherwise there while using office systems and devices.
- Increased employee happiness
BYOD gives a sense of freedom to the employees in terms of devices, networks, tools, technologies, and above all-flexible hours of operations. Many employees go for “workcations,” and enjoy work and personal life altogether, which they were otherwise unable to achieve in conventional office settings.
- Reduced training and Troubleshooting hours
Since BYOD policy allows employees to use their own devices, it eventually becomes easier for the IT admins in terms of training and making the employees aware of certain tools and technologies. These days, several smart IT administrators go a step ahead and invest in user-friendly MDM software. This way, not only does their infrastructure get secured, but with automation capacities offered by these MDMs, they save themselves from redundant IT tasks.
Risks associated with BYOD
Every coin has two facets. The same goes with BYOD too. With benefits, come risks and challenges. BYOD poses potential risks to the overall corporate infrastructure that cannot be overlooked due to the hazardous consequences. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the unavoidable risks.
- Risk to Corporate Data Security
The increasing BYOD trend is a threat to corporate data security. Easy access to the corporate environment results in the loss of essential and strictly private corporate data. Sometimes, in case of device theft, cybercriminals can get easy access to sensitive corporate data, which can lead to misuse.
- Inadequate BYOD policies
Though it’s been almost four years that organizations allowed their workforce to go remote due to pandemic-driven rules and regulations, little effort has been taken to implement and execute strict and adequate BYOD policies to safeguard the corporate data and infrastructure. Security incidents can be avoided if stricter mandates are put in place.
- Increased cybercrimes
Since most of the BYO devices access corporate servers and confidential data from their personal computers and personal networks, the chances of security incidents increase. Hackers and cybercriminals are active more than ever today. They keep sending enticing phishing emails and malicious links. Employees can easily fall prey to ransomware and malware by clicking on or downloading malicious links by mistake. The sensitive corporate data can be compromised this way and hence can be encrypted by cybercriminals for money.
As individuals are unique, so are their ways to work. Some work well in monitored environments as in offices, while others maintain discipline even when not in the office. It’s just a matter of perspective and overall employee personality. Some employees do not comply with ISMS policies and company norms and browse websites, play games, watch movies, which they shouldn’t essentially be, during work. They misunderstand BYOD for work as BYOD for home during office hours. Such activities can be monitored easily with the help of sharp mobile device management solutions.
- Unmanaged networks and endpoints
As mentioned above, earlier workforce operated from offices under a strictly monitored atmosphere. There were fewer chances of data leakages, security incidents, and breaches. But with employees working from home, or for that matter, from wherever and whenever they want to, there are chances that breaches to security can become a frequent occurrence with unmanaged and unmonitored BYO devices.
Everything in this world has pros and cons. Every corporate idea comes with its own set of challenges and probable solutions. All the above-mentioned risks can be easily mitigated with powerful, and efficient MDM solutions. They help businesses monitor, manage, and secure their BYO devices and endpoints. Certain MDM solutions help turn any BYO device into a single-app or multi-app kiosk which are user-friendly, compatible across diverse OS platforms and are gaining a fair amount of attention with the emerging BYO and Corporate Owned Device trends.
To sum up, the advantages of BYO devices outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to employee productivity and satisfaction, which are crucial for smoother operations and overall success. However, with extensive and feature-rich MDM solutions for BYOD available in the market today, all the risks can be easily mitigated and compliance and security can be met, irrespective of the devices, tools, and technologies.
So, enjoy BYOD-ing, working from wherever you want because happy employees ensure happy customers, which results in maximum business gains.