What does BYOD mean to your business?

The surge of mobile Internet devices like smartphones, tablets and laptop computers has changed the way people live, communicate with each other and get things done. This trend has certainly added considerable convenience to people’s life and provided them with flexibility and mobility needed to be relieved from location and time constraints.

The growing trend of employees using personally-owned devices to access company resources is called BYOD (bring your own device). While BYOD offers benefits such as better productivity and communication efficiency, there are also challenges for businesses to consider and overcome to prevent loss of control and truly benefit from this increasingly popular trend.

The benefits of BYOD include enabling employees to work and collaborate with additional efficiency, mobility and productivity; and the mobility factor of BYOD devices also allows employees to work, communicate and collaborate in the office, at home or even on the road for exceptional efficiency. When employees use their own smartphones, laptops or tablet computers to conduct business activities and engage customer services without time and location limits, BYOD can effectively improve both worker and customer satisfaction. This creates the desirable win-win situation for both employers and employees.

These benefits, however, come with a price. BYOD mean that businesses could lose control over IT management and its construction. The majority of existing policies regulate IT usage via company-issued devices with related security measures managed by the IT department; but with BYOD, the infrastructure could be changed: loss of IT control would further entail issues centering on the security of sensitive data and company resources. If security policies cannot be enforced, company resources become more vulnerable to viruses and malicious intrusions, and sensitive data can be subject to theft or loss due to employee carelessness. Additionally, retrieving company data can be a problem when employees leave the company, and the question of liability must also be addressed. So who should be responsible for the loss of valuable company data? The employer, or the employees?

How can your business find a perfect balance between BYOD, management and security? In addition to building a WLAN infrastructure to cope with the heightened coverage and bandwidth demands of BYOD, there are quite a few other things that you need to consider. In terms of security, you may consider taking safety measures such as building firewall, anti-virus or intrusion prevention systems on wired and wireless network edges to protect company resources from threats; password protection or anti-virus installation policies should also be enforced to prevent data loss on employee devices. Your IT support model must change as well; community or social IT support practices might be a good way to accommodate the increased amount and variety of devices that need IT support. Last but not least, your company also needs to consider upgrading from platform-dependent systems to cloud-based ones for better mobility and device compatibility.

As the BYOD concept becomes prevalent and more IP-enabled mobile devices are introduced into the workplace, how companies construct and manage the IT infrastructure will soon be changed. Facing this trend, your business should weigh the pros and cons of it and formulate a policy that suits your business scale and needs. Learn more


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