U.S. business owners spent much of 2012 fighting the BYOD trend. But as the year draws to close, more and more bosses seem to be embracing it. In fact, bringing your own device to work — as opposed to using company-issued gear — is poised to become standard practice the near future.
“Business owners should embrace BYOD because it is a natural, evolutionary change,” says Matthew Ackerson, founder of Saber Blast and a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council. “Trying to force restrictions with the goal of containing this natural urge is swimming against the tide. Business owners should instead … find creative ways for this shift to help them grow their businesses.”
If you’re still clinging to your “use this BlackBerry or nothing” policy, here are five reasons you should reconsider:
- BYOD saves money. Perhaps the most appealing trait of BYOD is its cost savings potential. In addition to phones, some businesses allow workers to bring laptops and tablets to work, eliminating the need to purchase equipment altogether. This is especially beneficial to cash-strapped small firms.
- BYOD can be secure. If employees can log in to check work emails through a web browser via a home PC or personal cell phone, chances are they’re doing so — even if they have a company-issued device. Before allowing access to your network via personal devices, make sure to implement mobile-device management software. This includes setting up the ability to remotely wipe a device should it ever go missing.
- BYOD can be manageable. Do you trust your employees to follow rules that ask them to use work equipment solely for work and avoid behavior that might put devices and servers at risk? BYOD falls in this same area. Address BYOD in the same manner that you address other technology-related issues by creating policies and procedures — and asking employees to sign off on them before letting them use personal devices.
- BYOD boosts morale. No one wants to carry two phones around. But if you issue company devices, this is bound to happen, because many employees want to keep their personal devices with them at all times. BYOD gives people the convenience of carrying only one device. Plus, if an employee favors an iPhone over a BlackBerry, he or she can make that choice without impacting anyone else.
- BYOD increases productivity. Let’s face it: If you issue a separate device for work, that device will spend nights and weekends in a drawer or on a shelf. When an employee goes on vacation, the work device — whether it’s a phone or a laptop — probably stays at home. However, if an employee’s work device is the same as his or her personal device, that employee is much more likely to be reachable if an emergency arises.