A few years ago we had a Bring Your Own Device policy in place, we even wrote a post about how to develop a BYOD policy like ours for your business. Since posting that though we, and many other businesses, have broken away from our old BYOD policy and moved toward having company owned devices.
As of 2015, 53% of companies were operating with only company owned devices, 40% were operating under a “partial” BYOD policy and only 7% were fully BYOD (computer world).
IT Freedom falls in the partial BYOD category. We provide company owned laptops, but still allow employees to access information on their personal phones with some strict mobile device management to ensure security.
So you might be thinking: What made you change from being fully BYOD to partially BYOD?
Well our answer will probably be pretty close to most companies making the switch: security and compliance. Especially in our industry, ensuring all devices are updated and secure is extremely important.
The top 3 reasons companies are ditching their BYOD policies
Unless you have an IT team with the knowledge to successfully implement and monitor your mobile device management solution, ensuring adequate security and compliance is going to be pretty difficult. If you don’t have a team capable of doing this, you’re relying on your employees to ensure that operating systems are up to date, applications are patched, encryption is properly set up and antivirus is installed and routinely updated. This is a lot to expect your employees to remember to do, when you really want them to be focused on the job you hired them for.
With the above security risks also comes the possibility of internal and client data loss. If an employees device is hacked because of the lack of security, or if it’s lost/stolen and you don’t have the ability to wipe sensitive data from it remotely, it’s your business that’s on the hook.
When employees are working on their own devices there are a couple things that are probably going to happen:
- Increased distraction
- Decreased vigilance
When I say distraction, i’m talking about all that time spent completing personal tasks, checking Facebook and answering their own emails before their work emails.
When it comes to vigilance, employees are less likely to be be on the lookout for malware, virus and phishing attempts on their own devices, because they are so used to not looking for them on those devices at home.
When you provide employees with a company owned device they are inherently going to act more responsibly. Now, we aren’t saying it will cut down on Facebook time by 100%, but it may be considerably less knowing that it isn’t their device.
Providing them with a company owned device might also make them more aware of what they are downloading and what links they are clicking on. Noone wants to be the person that got a virus that infected the whole network, putting the business’s data at risk and causing serious productivity issues.
While it might seem that allowing employees to bring their own devices would save money, there are a couple hidden costs that you should be aware of when making this decision.
The most simple hidden cost, we’ve already talked about. Employee owned devices could mean increased distraction, meaning less productive time, in other words, a cost to you.
Another major cost to be concerned about goes hand in hand with the lack of control over security many companies with a BYOD policy struggle with. If an employees device is compromised and data is breached, the costs could break your company. The 2017 Ponemon Cost of Data Breach Study puts the cost of one breached record at $141. Depending on how much data you have, that cost adds up quick. (Check out this data breach calculator to see how much a breach could cost your business)
One cost that depends on how your policy is set up deals with how exactly the device is purchased. Say you have some pretty specific requirements for the device your employees use, so you give new employees a stipend to help purchase the machine. Well, what happens if that employee leaves after 6 months and take that device with them? You’re out the stipend money, and you’re out the device, without the ability to reallocate it to it for the next employee that takes their position.
All-in-all, there are definitely pros and cons to a BYOD policy, and ultimately you have to decide what’s best for your business. Just be sure you’ve done your research and are going into it with all the facts! And if you have any questions about our old policy, want more detailed information on security concerns or mobile device management, let us know!
For similar posts check out out master list of Small Business Technology blogs.