By Rick Delgado, Contributor
Many companies are debating whether to fully adopt bring your own device (BYOD) policies. Supporters of BYOD are quick to point out the many benefits these policies have to offer, like a more productive workforce with employees who have higher job satisfaction. Yet despite these benefits, many businesses are hesitant to embrace BYOD. Critics of the practice have raised several notable objections about having employees use their own devices for work. Though the objections are not without merit, most if not all of them can be answered with the right knowledge. Here’s a look at some of those arguments, along with answers that can set many fears to rest.
At the top of the list is the concern over security relating to BYOD. With so many employees bringing in various devices, detractors say BYOD policies can significantly reduce company control over the devices while also increasing mobile security vulnerabilities. Since the loss or theft of company data can seriously damage a company, it’s a reasonable concern most business leaders have. The answer to this argument can be found in Mobile Device Management (MDM).
IT workers can install MDM solutions on mobile devices that allow the company to access and even control personal devices. This solution does introduce more concerns, however. With both the employee and the business having access to data on the device, the question of who owns the data often comes up. Employees likely won’t want management to exert too much control on their devices. At the same time, remotely wiping a device in the event it gets lost or stolen can end up deleting legal and personal data. Employers should respond to this worry by advising employees to regularly back up all personal data. Other solutions like mobile virtualization can protect both company and personal data without inviting an intrusive company presence on the device.
Other arguments against BYOD deal with interoperability and compatibility. With so many different devices, and multiple operating systems and apps on those devices, making sure all of them are compatible with a business’s software and services can be a challenging task. One solution is to specify certain types of devices for the BYOD program. There are many cloud solutions as well that work with multiple devices and operating systems.
One of the benefits of BYOD is increased productivity, but some argue that when employees use their own devices, they’re more likely to play games, stream video, and generally waste time, actually lowering their productivity. There’s no denying some employees may get distracted, but the net benefit is still in productivity’s favor. Employees are also more satisfied and engaged in their work, even if they occasionally play a game of Candy Crush.
Even so, BYOD critics argue that allowing workers to use their personal devices only opens the door to unauthorized use, with a greater risk of sharing corporate data with competitors. The best solution to this potential problem is through Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software. This security feature protects company information, alerting the organization in case just such an event happens.
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