Evaluating the Risks, Costs, and Rewards of a BYOD Mobile Policy

The tools we use daily in the workplace have expanded to include smartphones and tablets as cloud computing has become more popular.

And that’s been a good thing. The ability to access applications, emails, and work messages while away from a main workstation has been shown to improve productivity, communication, and collaboration.

Not only has mobile surpassed desktop as the most popular method of accessing the internet, 87% of companies rely on their employees’ ability to access mobile business apps from a smartphone.

Everything from taking measurements out in the field to checking email while on the road is facilitated by being tapped into the office from your smartphone no matter where you are.

While companies have come to realize that smartphones are a necessary tool to use for daily work done via a variety of cloud computing apps, they’re often struggling with the best way to implement mobile use at work.

Do they use a bring your own device (BYOD) policy where employees use their own phones for work? Or do they purchase company devices that are issued to their staff?

It’s an important decision for any company and has pros and cons on each side. We’ll go through the risks, rewards, and costs below of implementing BYOD at your business to help you make an informed decision.

Pros & Cons of Using a BYOD Policy

When employees begin accessing company data from their personal devices, there are multiple factors to consider. Deciding on your mobile policy isn’t as easy as just looking at the cheapest way or the most convenient.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to consider when deciding whether to have employees use their own phones for your business.

BYOD Cost

Many companies choose BYOD over company owned phones because of the cost savings. The thought of buying all those phones outright and paying a large mobile bill makes BYOD more budget friendly. 

PROS: Companies using BYOD instead of company owned devices save an estimated $350 per year per employee. That’s a pretty significant amount. Cost savings come in the form of device costs, cellular plan costs, and the cost to continually have the phones serviced and upgraded.

CONS: While BYOD is generally less expensive, there are costs that can eat into your savings if you’re not careful. Such as the cost of a mobile stipend for employees for use of their personal device. The average paid is $36 per employee.

BYOD Security

Security is a main concern with BYOD policies. What happens if an employee that has work data on their phone leaves the company? How do you secure multiple devices using different operating systems and manufacturers? 

PROS: Employee phones are much more difficult to keep secure, but you can employ the use of a mobile device management application which is an app that’s installed on employee phones to allow company to remotely grant or revoke access and keep the “work” part of a phone separate from “personal.”

CONS: Without the use of a mobile device manager, there are multiple security concerns with BYOD. For example, you won’t be able to control when updates or security patches are applied. They also have the chance of being accesses by an employee’s friend or family member, meaning confidential client data could be exposed.

BYOD Productivity

The productivity consideration can go both ways with BYOD. On one hand employees are more familiar with their own devices, thus more productive using them. On the other, their personal apps (social media, etc.) are right there and easy to access during working hours.

PROS: Workers save an average of 81 minutes per week using their own device rather than one that is company issued. The familiarity means there’s no learning curve and it’s also more convenient to carry one device, rather than two.

CONS: Just 42% of employees in BYOD programs say their productivity has risen, which leaves over half that either said it stayed the same or was reduced. One factor that can reduce productivity is more personal use of a phone during work time, since it’s easier to do than if a person is required to use a company device at work.

BYOD Administration

One of the biggest issues that companies have with BYOD is that they’re using it without a plan. They ask employees to use their phones for work, but they haven’t put together policies related to access of company data on their phone, screen locks, etc.

PROS: Administration can be made much easier using a mobile device manager that will allow things like automatic updates of applications and the ability to get reporting on application use without being invasive of the private areas of a phone.

CONS: It’s generally easier to administer your own phones that are company owned because you can be working with a single type of device and operating system. While using a mobile device manager (MDM) can help, you’ll have to purchase it. (Microsoft Intune MDM starts at $6 per month per device).

Get Help with Your Mobile Device Policy

Mobile use for work continues to increase every year, so it’s important to have a handle on your BYOD or company owned mobile policy. RCOR can help you minimize any risks and implement solutions that are beneficial to both you and your employees.

Schedule a free technology consultation today by calling 919-263-5570 or contacting us online.