Brian
Smith

BYOD – The good, the bad and the ugly

Brian Smith

May 12, 2015

5 min read

Do you miss working in the pre-BYOD era? Well, think about those dingy cubicles, the fixed office hours, the laggy internet, the grumpy old workstations and the archaic command lines. I bet you can hardly remember those fondly. If you still do, well, it’s never coming back. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is here to stay and so are the associated risks. Here is a round-up of the major aspects starting with some positive elements.

THE GOOD

Employee Satisfaction

It gives the employees immense satisfaction, to be able to work from their own devices. The flexibility of switching to ‘work mode’ any moment even while on the move makes getting things done a breeze. The employees usually get a monthly/annual allowance for their troubles. This helps them keep the device in good shape and upgrade when necessary.

Employer Satisfaction

The average overhead for purchasing and deploying an Android device for each employee in an organization is well over $500. iOS and macOS devices can set the organization back anywhere from $1000 to $2000 per device per employee. With BYOD, the institutions can save a lot of upfront charges. Productivity soars when users are able to collaborate anytime, anywhere from their own devices.

Diversity in Technology

The devices and the platforms they run on will be as diverse as possible with BYOD. Android, Windows, iOS and everything in between will be available in an organization. This can be very beneficial from an organizational point of view, with different sets of devices serving different purposes. The devices will also have up to date tech which may serve useful at times.

Ownership and Efficiency

The employees have a sense of ownership while using their device. This can go a long way in increasing the company’s net productivity. The employees know how to use their own devices. It saves time and resources spent on training an employee to use a new device. In the case of BYOD, the employees are good to go from day one.

Customer Satisfaction

Working mobile enables employees to take care of urgent customer issues anytime even beyond the normal working hours, and customers, they love that kind of response.

THE BAD

Diversity in technology

Wait, diversity in technology is bad? Yes, it has got a good side as well as a bad one. Going mobile is quite rewarding for the users but it’s the IT department that is left with the daunting task of managing this transformation. The different operating systems and countless device models add another layer of complexity. Setting up and maintaining the infrastructure required to support a diverse fleet of devices is no small feat either.

Privacy for Employees

Employees have a privacy concern with BYOD usage. The organizations are given access to their devices. They can monitor their actions and their device usage data. There is never a real cause to worry in this case. Usually, the companies are up to their necks with work. They don’t really have time to snoop around in the employee’s private lives. Then again, for some strange reason, a word keeps popping up that I can’t shake, thanks a lot ‘Facebook’.

THE UGLY

Security

Brace yourselves, it is about to get real ugly. Mobile phones, by their very design, are more useful outside the office and while on-the-go. A portable device is more likely to be stolen. In the case of a BYOD device, the data on the device is often more valuable than the device itself. Losing a device containing sensitive corporate data can have devastating business implications.
Enterprises have no control over what applications users install on their devices. Company data and assets are under risk whenever users install a rogue app or connect to an unprotected network.
The mobile malware is consistently on the rise and has turned out to be quite a profitable business for attackers. New forms like ransomware can hold your data hostage and demand a ransom in exchange for a decryption key to unlock the data. We are currently witnessing the evolution of malware and it doesn’t look pretty.

Employee Turnover

When an employee leaves the company, the device cannot be retired without a full device wipe. Some corporate data might still be with the user and could possibly get tampered with. The employees can also misuse the data on their devices by giving them to a competing firm. They can also take the clients they were handling with them.

Did I scare you away from BYOD?

If your answer is yes, don’t be. Here’re a few pointers that can help you mitigate the risks associated with BYOD.
Get a good MDM service provider like Hexnode MDM to assist you with device management. It will give IT admins the power to secure the data and control the device, without affecting the user side of the device. Employees should be trained on how they can secure their personal data.
Organizations should use device data encryption to secure the device’s data. They must be told to update their passwords regularly. Use a VPN, provide an additional layer of authentication and have a well-defined set of policies for the use of corporate resources. With the help of this guide, you are in safe hands.

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong

A Bring Your Own Device implementation is no different. If you implement BYOD without a clear mobility strategy, you might end up losing more than just money. You might still manage to bring about a few high-fives among your employees, but the IT department would surely be scrambling to keep pace.

Brian Smith

Product Consultant @ Hexnode. It's mainstream to hate the mainstream.

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