The bring your own device (BYOD) movement is growing on a global scale, and Canada leads the charge. A recent study conducted by research firm Ovum for information communication technology provider Dimension Data Canada Inc. shows that more than 75 percent of Canadian firms let their workers to use personal smartphones and tablets in the workplace. In comparison, only about 46 percent of companies worldwide now endorse BYOD policies.
Those reluctant to buy into the BYOD trend should consider the benefits of implementing such a policy. For one, allowing workers to bring their own devices into the workplace has been shown to increase employee morale and productivity. Many have spent hundreds and even thousands on these devices, and they want to use them. Moreover, they are familiar with their devices, so there isn’t the learning curve associated with workers becoming familiar with tech supplied by the IT department. Additionally, with BYOD growing in popularity, it is a means for attracting and retaining top talent who want the freedom and flexibility to work with their own devices.
For employers, BYOD policies can mean tremendous savings. It costs a considerable amount of money to outfit every employee with the technology necessary to do his or her job. But if a worker brings his or her own device to use at work, the company does not need to worry about supplying him or her with the necessary devices. Many employees will even shoulder the burden of cost to use their devices. This means that the company does not even have to pay for the data plans or usage charges incurred by the employee. Moreover, the employee is also far more likely to keep up with upgrades to latest hardware, thereby saving the company more money, while also keeping the company equipped with the latest technologies.
One such purveyor of that new technology and key promoter of the BYOD trend in Canada is Ontario-based Blackberry, which is producing mobile devices such as the Blackberry® Balance™ technology which seamlessly partitions personal and job-related work spaces. This means an employee can safely toggle back and forth between job and personal areas of the device without the comingling of work-related and private data. In Blackberry, BYOD policies have found a staunch proponent.
To be sure, there are concerns about implementing BYOD policies, but these can be mitigated by having firm protocols in place to go with the adoption of the policy. First and foremost, BYOD does come with some inherent security concerns. Data breeches have occurred. For example, an employee uses his smartphone to use the company network, obtaining sensitive information, and then loses the phone. Malicious people could retrieve the phone and acquire any unsecured data contained in the device. Or an employee leaves the company but does not return the device. Sensitive company applications present on the device are then left open to abuse.
One final concern is the problem of phone number ownership. When a customer-facing employee, such as a salesperson, departs a company and takes his device with him, the problem arises that any customer calling that former employee’s number is under the impression that he or she is contacting the company, when in fact he or she may now be contacting a potential competitor. Again, these risks can be prevented by having firm language associated with the policy as well as having wholesale commitment from management and IT to plug any gaps
BYOD is not a passing fad or peripheral phenomenon. It is here to stay, and businesses and employees alike need to embrace this type of enterprise solution. Doing so is likely to mean a more faithful and productive workforce.
Author Bio: Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.