Managing a BYOD strategy

There are numerous benefits to allowing your employees to bring their own gadgets to the office.

In the past few years, mobile technology has evolved to a point where smartphones and tablets have more processing power and business capabilities than some traditional desktop computers. This is particularly true in an enterprise environment where legacy solutions are held onto for as long as possible in an effort to save costs.

So, picture yourself managing an organization with aging hardware in an era of iPhones, Androids and iPads. Chances are, the majority of your employees own a smartphone. Many of them probably have an iPad or some other tablet as well. While it depends on the nature of the job, these devices can be used to perform business functions, so why not allow your workers to bring their device to the office if they are more familiar with and more productive on them?

A number of organizations have adopted this mindset by implementing what is known as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. BYOD organizations are ok with their employees working on their smartphone or tablet instead of the company-issued computer. There are a myriad of financial benefits. Businesses can save overhead costs if their computers are left off. Additionally, hardware maintenance is kept to a minimum because if there's an issue with a personal device, it's typically the employee who handles the repair.

Giving workers this kind of freedom and flexibility to control their own devices will ultimately help employee satisfaction. Workers who control when they work are typically more productive as they aren't limited to only completing tasks when they are tethered to their desks.

"By enabling employees to securely and easily access corporate data on their own device, productivity levels will naturally increase. In terms of cost savings, there are huge benefits, since SMBs will not have to manage and fund a second device for employees," Mark Coates, EMEA VP at Good Technology, said in a conversation with the online publication Tech Radar.

However, despite the myriad advantages, that doesn't mean there aren't risks as well. Ultimately, when you allow your employees to bring a smartphone or tablet into the office, your organization absorbs a number of risks. These are personal devices that your employees use for a variety of reasons that aren't associated with work. The combination of personal and business use, and the act of bringing a device with company data outside the security of the office walls, can be risky if not properly managed.

"BYOD can impose other costs too: ensuring network security is an issue that needs to be solved – the company [may] have to provide help-desk support and software for a wide range of devices. What happens if an employee has sensitive information on his iPad and it's lost or stolen?" wrote Simon Hinde, a contributor with The Telegraph.

This is where the help of a unified communications solutions provider and a knowledgeable IT support company can be can be a major benefit to your organization. If your employees' mobile devices are going to be used as a component of your telecommunications and or I.T. infrastructure, they will need to be managed in a way that preserves the security of each device, your company data and the network they operate on while in or out of the office. Access to Cloud based Solutions will be crucial, as you want to ensure you maximize the potential of your mobile strategy.