What is BYOD? (Bring Your Own Device)

BYOD is an acronym that stands for “Bring Your Own Device,” and represents an increasingly popular policy of allowing workers to bring their own technology and mobile devices into the workplace and use them to access company information. As devices like smartphones and tablets have become more prevalent and consumers have become more tech savvy, workers are beginning to expect the same kinds of user experiences and intuitive interfaces from their work technology that consumer devices offer.

The increasing prevalence of BYOD environments represents a shift in IT policy; rather than dictating specifically what can and cannot be used at work, IT departments are allowing workers the freedom and choice of utilizing their own technology.

Pros of BYOD
There are several benefits of enabling BYOD within an organization. For starters, it makes for a happier workforce and is often viewed as an organizational perk. It can lower support burdens placed on IT because workers are already familiar with the technology. BYOD also instantly creates a mobile-enabled workforce, giving your organization the freedom to work in the office or on-the-go, keeping pace with the lightning-fast speed of modern business and adapting to workforce shifts towards remote work, flex work and telecommuting.

And of course, while there may be increased security concerns, organizations can save considerable technology expenses by not having to purchase new devices for every single employee.

Cons of BYOD
The primary argument against BYOD is one of security. With so many devices and types of devices moving in and out of an organization, how does IT maintain compliance, ensure data security and safeguard against breaches?

In the face of these questions, additional security layers and platforms have been developed. For example, Mobile Device Management, or MDM, is an additional layer of software that IT departments can deploy to their organization that can centralize the management and control of worker-owned technology. With an MDM service installed, IT can partition devices with separate “work” and “personal” information, and locate, remotely lockdown or even wipe the company’s information from the device while leaving the employee’s personal data intact.

Some OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are also tackling the problems of BYOD on the hardware front,  creating devices with these secured workspaces already built in, allowing IT to manage them without the additional MDM software.

Regardless of the methodology, managing these devices is and will remain a priority for IT departments in an increasingly connected workplace.

Benefits for Collaboration
Collaboration solutions like web and audio conferencing increasingly offer mobile connection options, making BYOD a boon for collaboratively enabled enterprises. Knowing that every employee has a smartphone and that they’re already comfortable installing and using apps on the device means that there’s little to no training required to get mobile collaboration up and running.

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