Is a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategy the fast track to cost savings or a one-way street to a security nightmare?
There are clear benefits to BYOD, the most obvious being the huge cost-savings in buying, maintaining and upgrading hardware. This shift toward individual ownership can save thousands by doing away with costly purchasing and maintenance agreements.
However, while employees may pay for their own device, the organisation will still need to foot at least part of the network bill, which can be expensive. Large organisations can often negotiate healthy bulk-buy deals with carriers, so you will need to weigh up the initial savings against those in the medium/long term.
Efficient and effective
Recent research by Cisco has highlighted how businesses are beginning to better understand the BYOD model, and how familiarity with our own technology can increase productivity. Estimates of the actual increases vary, but Cisco – a company that itself operates a BYOD policy – suggests it to be 37 minutes a week, which they equate to around $350 per employee.
Locked down tight
A fundamental concern with any BYOD policy is your network’s increased exposure to unprotected devices. And when things go wrong, that can impact your reputation, as insurance giant Aviva found after being exposed to the Heartbleed virus over the summer.
Many global brands offer management solutions for businesses keen to explore BYOD, but it’s first worth considering how cost-effective this might be.
If you have one, spare a thought for your Helpdesk who could potentially be dealing with literally hundreds of different devices, each with their own frailties.
Crunching the numbers
The only way to accurately assess whether BYOD will work for your organisation is by conducting a robust cost/benefit analysis, balancing the immediate short-term savings with the longer-term costs. Any model will need to be flexible and include the impact of a security breach.
It’s telling, at this stage at least, that there are few large organisations that operate an official BYOD policy, with SMEs being much more likely to accept the risks of BYOD.