Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or Company Provided Devices?
These days, it’s unavoidable – employees routinely expect to be able to use their personal mobile devices on the job. And no wonder – with all the apps available for mobile phones, etc., employees are finding their own way to work more efficiently. However, while employees and their companies are both benefiting from productivity gains, a BYOD workplace has its challenges:
Security. Security is a top concern in allowing BYOD use in the workplace. Seventy-one percent of enterprises believe that the use of personal mobile devices on their networks is leading to increased security incidents, according to a survey of 750 IT and security professionals sponsored by Check Point Software Technologies* Smartphones are designed to access and share data in the cloud, increasing the potential risk for data to be duplicated and moved between applications.* According to research by Intercede, a vast majority (81 percent) of workers said they currently use a personal mobile device to access secure company data. A worrisome 15 percent revealed that they leave themselves logged in at all times.**
Durability. Is an iPad the best device for a distribution center or retail operation or is a ruggedized tablet a better investment? Personal mobile devices, whether smartphones, tablets, etc., are not built to withstand prolonged, hours-long usage in industrial environments. Issues such as shorter battery life, breakage as a result of being dropped and performance lag can all result in downtime at the wrong time. (For a comparison of usability on personal and industrial tablets, read our earlier blog: “An ET1 Tablet or an iPad for Your Enterprise?”)
IT Support. If you do allow employees to use their personal devices to log into the company network and access work-related applications and data, your IT department will be tasked with making sure they work across all employees’ device types – incurring considerable support time and costs.
Productivity. True, you can give employees work-related apps to load on their smartphone. But it’s still their personal smartphone – which makes it easy to get distracted doing non-work related activities while on the job.
Even with these challenges, the BYOD trend is here to stay, and many companies want to be able to accommodate it as a way to increase employee satisfaction, flexibility and mobility.
Three Recommendations to Manage the BYOD Trend
1. Embrace BYOD, with Added Security. In many situations, BYOD may be appropriate. If this is the case, experts advise companies to define and implement a BYOD security program, complete with employee training. For more guidance, read Ernst & Young’s report, “Bring Your Own Device: Security and Risk Considerations for Your Mobile Device Program.
2. Provide Company-Owned Devices. Another way to reduce risks and costs while enhancing productivity is to provide employeeswith company-owned mobile devices that deliver all the user-friendliness they want, plus the security and reliable performance the company needs. This approach eliminates several challenges. Security risks are greatly reduced when the company provides its employees with smart devices that are pre-configured with its security standards. IT support time is reduced by standardizing on a handful of devices. Productivity is optimized by providing high-performance devices loaded with company-provided apps, that are designed for maximum uptime with ruggedized features, long battery life, etc.
3. Consider Purpose-Driven Devices Best for Your Operations. It’s also important to consider when and where all-purpose devices or purpose-driven devices are more appropriate. These devices, such as the Symbol TC70 or Motorola ET1 Tablet are extremely user-friendly mobile devices that can be configured for specific work operations and are ruggedized to withstand heavy duty usage and long hours. Security concerns are eliminated because purposed-driven devices only operate over the confines of the company’s network, preventing costs from spiraling due to loss, theft or extra security measures. ****
In the rapidly evolving world of mobile device development and management, there is no “one size fits all” answer. If you’re considering adding mobile devices in your industrial or warehouse operations, consult with ADSI’s mobile specialists.
* Lisa Sampson, “Mobile Device Security Best Bractices for BYOD,” www.searchnetworking.com
**Mike Lanciloti, “Why Bringing Your Own Device is Not Right for the Retail Sector,” Multichannelmerchant.com, 11/18/14.
***David Weldon, “Workers Reveal Their Own Concerns Over BYOD Security, ” Fiercemobileit.com, 10/23/14.