Mobile devices are key to productivity and communication in the modern workplace.
With the sharp increase in the use of smartphones and tablets in the past few years, effectively managing your mobile technology is an important factor in your organisation’s success.
With almost half of Australian employees now using their smartphone for work, organisations are faced with a tough question: should I supply handsets to my staff or embrace a bring your own device (BYOD) policy?
There are positives and negatives to both options, and the best fit for you will depend on many factors, including your size, the business you’re in, and your priorities. Here we take a closer look at the three biggest factors in the debate – cost, complexity and security – and discuss the implications of both company supplied and BYOD, to help you make an informed decision.
For many, the most appealing aspect of BYOD is that it will cost you less. Good smartphones and tablets come with a big price tag, and putting the money up to supply your employees might be too much of a strain on your budget. The prices vary greatly but you could easily spend $1000 per employee to get them up and running. Plus, it’s not only the cost of the devices you need to cover, it’s also the voice and/or data plan, as well as the hardware support for each one.
While saving money is a big reason many organisations choose BYOD, it can be short-sighted. If you are reimbursing your employees for work usage on their personal device, you can end up spending more than for the same usage on a corporate negotiated plan. It’s important to be clear from the get-go on who is paying for hardware, air time, data connection, hardware repairs and to include the costs of supporting the device, whether in-house or via a third party Enterprise Mobility Management solution, versus the cost of managing a company owned device.
Let’s face it, setting up mobile devices for your employees is time-consuming – you need to research the options to make sure you choose the right device, then shop around for the best OS and plan. As well, if you don’t have a Managed Mobility Solution in place there’s the ongoing task of management, maintenance and device support, which is a big strain on your time and resources. Because most (probably all) of your staff will already have a mobile device that they know and love, it appears a much easier option to go down the BYOD path. Consider carefully as looks can be deceiving.
For large organisations and those with sensitive data, security is a high-priority – in this case, company-owned devices can be the safer option. Allowing your employees to work on unsecured personal devices is risky – they may use a jail broken phone, weak passwords, or none at all, and there’s a chance that your private company data could be appropriated or locked through ransomeware, which would be a disaster.
When you supply and manage company-owned devices you can control the applications your employees use and more easily enforce your company’s mobile policy. You also have the ability to wipe company-owned devices or revoke access to company accounts if there is a risk to security – and you can even do this remotely. Yes there are options to secure BYOD, however, If security is paramount for your organisation, the case for company-owned devices is compelling.
Whether you choose company-supplied or BYOD, the number one factor in making it work is good management – and either way, you need a clear mobile policy that sets out your requirements and expectations for use to protect yourself and your company’s data. You may choose to handle this in-house, or enlist a Managed Mobility Service Provider to take care of administrating and supporting your organisation’s mobile technology. Mobile devices are critical to your success – so take the time to thoroughly research your options to be sure you find the best fit.
Over to You
Are you weighing up the pros and cons of BYOD vs company-owned and need some advice? Or have you made the choice and have some tips to share? We’d love to hear from you!