BYOD – Should Indian Inc. Companies Adopt This Trend?

Imagine this setting: in 2009 (not that long back) you are on your way to work. You have to complete an urgent presentation and send it across to your boss. But because of the terrible traffic you’re delayed and in a lot of trouble. Sounds familiar? Now jump to today, 2014 and the same scenario. However you’re not in trouble. Though you are stuck in traffic you were able to complete the work assigned on your way and send it to your boss within the time frame. Boss is happy and you are safe! This is the convenience of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.

BYOD (Bring You Own Device) promises many benefits such as greater innovation, better work-life balance and improved productivity, but it also increases pressure on IT to manage and secure devices and data. How to do BYOD successfully is a challenge. CIO.com’s BYOD guide offers a variety of resources and strategies to help you navigate the many pros and cons, security issues, costs and more. – CIO

If you’ve been to enough parties you’re probably familiar with the term BYOB—a common acronym of the phrase “bring your own beer”. Well, a similar acronym has emerged recently as one of the hottest buzzwords in technology: BYOD. In a nutshell, BYOD is the idea of allowing employees to use their own personal devices – laptops, smartphones, tablets, or other devices in a work environment. With such a policy employees are able to work across devices, from virtually anywhere, thus increasing business productivity.

BYOD is an upcoming trend. A global survey by Dell Quest Software reports that 70 percent of companies believe BYOD will or already has improved their work processes and 59 percent believe they would find themselves at a competitive disadvantage without BYOD. And this trend is catching up in India too – according to a CMR report 42% of Indian companies have or are in the process of implementing a BYOD Policy. But how does this policy help organizations? Let’s find out.

What are the pros?

From an organization standpoint, implementing a BYOD policy ensures high productivity. According to Forbes, 49% users claim that they are more productive when they use their own devices. Consider the example given above or a day you’re stuck at home due to bad weather. With a BYOD policy your work need not be hampered. You can access corporate information across devices and continue working. Also, with work-on-the-go you are always connected to work thereby enhancing your performance. According to an IBM survey 82 percent of workers surveyed believe that smartphones will play a “critical role” in employee productivity in the years to come. Additionally a BYOD policy helps organizations save cost. The burden of supplying, supporting and maintaining the devices is now shifted to the employees.

Moreover, individuals tend to upgrade and embrace new platforms and technologies much faster than businesses. The organization benefits from being able to take advantage of cutting edge tools and features without the difficulty of upgrading the hardware across the company.

A BYOD policy also creates a sense of satisfaction amongst the employees confirms a report by CISCO. Being able to choose which hardware and platforms you want to use creates more satisfied and productive workers.

Are there any Cons?

Along with the pro’s there are a number of cons associated with BYOD too!

While end users are embracing these trends, IT departments are struggling with how to protect corporate data as it is accessed across networks and locations. If left unmanaged, BYOD can lead to loss of control, impacting its network availability and causing data loss. Data leakage is another avenue organizations need to focus on. Thus access control needs to be implemented across the organization for employees to be able to access specific data.

There is the risk of device loss and theft too. Organizations need to take necessary security precautions to avoid putting their corporate data in a compromising situation. Businesses with a BYOD policy also need to have the bandwidth to monitor all the users. Many a time these facilities are mis-used by the employees for personal benefits. If untracked the business can have to bear huge costs. As Gartner points it out, there is also a Governance and compliance issue with BYOD. This system can often lead to the organizations violating rules, regulations and other business obligations.

Going for the right implementation of BYOD system:

The challenges of BYOD are not necessarily a reason to exclude the practice though. The trend has gained significant momentum, and there are a number of benefits involved. Thus the idea is for both, organization and users, to understand the advantages and drawbacks, to adopt this policy in a way that works for the organization as a whole.

According to experts, enterprises keen on implementing BYOD, should have the right policies in place. Access rights need to be devised and adequate training should be given to the employees. Organizations also need to undertake security measures to avoid data leakage and data loss.

Some precautions businesses can take while adopting the BYOD policy are:

  • Companies can track employees’ activity on their personal devices, delete personal data and see Web activity to maintain transparency and efficiency at work.
  • The IT department of an organization can also reply upon Mobile Device Management systems to let employees keep their personal data separate from work data.
  • With Mobile Information Management system, the data can also be monitored. Attempts can be made at setting up virtual desktops or phone lines for BYOD access.

Reading the above we can conclude that organizations have a positive sentiment towards a BYOD policy. With the competition increasing organization needs to enhance business productivity and with a robust BYOD policy in place they can achieve the same at minimal cost. There are challenges associated however they can be overcome with strategic planning. So yes, Bring-your-own-device is the way forward and in the coming years Indian companies must adhere to it to create and enhance productivity and flexibility at work.

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