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The 411 on Going BYOD

By Paul Fitzgerald for America's Backbone Weekly

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement has been gaining momentum since 2009. A Tech Pro Research survey published in September 2016 revealed that 81% of businesses have or are planning to adopt BYOD policies in the near future, up from 44% in 2013. Is your business BYOD yet? Here are some things you should consider before making the switch.

  1. Do your research before switching to a BYOD model. Try some Google searches, and read some business reviews. There are savings and other benefits associated with BYOD, but there are also costs and security concerns that need to be addressed.

  2. BYOD will save you a bundle on hardware, as employees will be using their own devices. Smartphones cost around $600-$900, and tablets cost around $300-$700. Add that up, if adopting a full BYOD policy, for each employee and you're looking at substantial savings.


  3. BYOD can make your employees more efficient, since they will be working on their own devices which they are most comfortable with and don't need to train on new devices. For example, Android lovers aren't forced to use Apple products and vice-versa.

  4. BYOD can save you money in tech support, since your staff will be responsible for the physical maintenance of their devices. Your IT staff will also have less training to do, since your employees will already be familiar with their own devices.

  5. On the other hand, your IT staff will have the unique challenge of running an integrated network that consists of multiple personal devices and operating systems. There are different models of iPhones, Android phones, and different versions of the iOS and Android operating systems to consider. There are labor costs associated with this, as your staff may need to dedicate more hours on the network.

  6. Depending on your reimbursement system, you may or may not save money on your billing plans. Some business owners expect their employees to foot their entire phone bills and data plans, while others offer partial reimbursements. According to Tech Pro Research, the average reimbursement per employee is $71.40 per month. This may or may not be cheaper than footing the whole bill yourself, depending on carriers and plans.

  7. Security is important and it costs money. Your important corporate data may be accessible through your employees' devices, so as part of your BYOD policy you will want them to agree to install a security suite, such as BES from Blackberry. BES packages range in cost from $3 to $25 per month and ensure that users comply with established login procedures and that they use strong, secure passwords.

What's the takeaway from all this? BYOD has both benefits and costs associated with it, but more importantly, it's a movement with such popularity that it's considered by most industry experts to be inevitable. Today's business owners would be wise to embrace BYOD. Employees are happier when they are using their own devices and they're more productive. Again, research is the key. Figure out what security suites cost. Make sure you choose a great company data plan. Consider limiting a menu of acceptable devices to make things easier on your IT staff, such as Samsung's Galaxy Android phones. Once you figure out what everything costs, you can make adjustments accordingly (for example, you could change reimbursement models or security packages). In the end, you should be able to find a BYOD policy that will make your employees happier, and your company stronger moving forward.

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