How can SMEs manage the rise of BYOD?

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is now an accepted reality for many businesses, reflecting a trend of increased workplace flexibility and a population constantly connected to its phones. BYOD is here to stay and will only become more embedded in business operations over the next few years. So much so that Gartner predicts by 2017, half of employers will require employees to supply their own devices for work purposes.

BYOD makes business sense for all SMEs. By allowing employees to use their personal smartphone, tablet and laptop at work, businesses can make considerable cost savings. Not to mention employees will be using devices they’re comfortable with, boosting their productivity. That said, BYOD is not without its own risks, and could potentially lead to a “bring your own disaster” situation.

But with proper planning and procedures these problems shouldn’t hold SMEs back. Here are just some ways to successfully manage the rise of BYOD in the workplace.

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BYOD or CYOD?

While BYOD refers to when employees bring in their personal devices to use at work, CYOD refers to “choose your own device”, where employees are given a range of company approved choices to pick from. These selected devices are suitable to work within the company IT environment, and the device is paid for by the employee or partially paid for by the company. Whether or not businesses give employees their own budget to CYOD will depend on how appropriate their existing network is for a multitude of operating systems.

Factor in flexibility

New challenges, trends and tech mean business goals are constantly changing. This makes it essential to look for flexibility with your provider. Beyond the standard voice and data bundle rates, how often can you change tariff rates? Paying the same each month doesn’t make business sense when needs change throughout the year.

Monitor for savings

It’s obvious that reducing data spend will reduce utility bills. Yet not all businesses are aware of how devices and data are being used. Mobile data optimisation (MDO) can help businesses make the most of their investment in mobile and realise immediate savings through real-time data and video compression. This also cuts costs through policy controls by seeing per app and per user data usage.

Use mobile device management (MDM)

MDM is essential for ensuring BYOD security in a business, especially when an employee personally owns a work-related device. A specialist MDM service can empower SMEs with the tools they need to have better visibility over their whole mobile estate. Added to that, it can encrypt information meaning critical data is kept safe when devices are lost, replaced or when an employee leaves a company.

Complement fixed lines and mobile

Apps can now turn iPhones, Androids and BlackBerrys into normal office phones with all the usual mod cons: extension dialling, fax messaging and traditional calling.

Today’s generation of employees are accustomed to having information readily available on their smartphones. And whilst it’s important for employers to accommodate the needs and expectations of workers when it comes to mobile device usage, that doesn’t have to come at the expense of the bottom line or the business’ safety.

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4 April 2016 | Jamie Ward

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The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.