Mobile use at offices has been steadily climbing ever since smartphones first came on the scene. They allow employees more flexibility and the ability to stay connected to team while on the road or working remotely.
For many companies, this transition from desktops to tablets and smartphones has snuck up on them and they’re scrambling to put a comprehensive mobile device strategy in place that makes sense for productivity, cybersecurity, and their budget.
One of the first questions we get from our cloud services clients in New Jersey when they’re considering a new cloud computing application is, “Does it have a good mobile app?”.
The popularity of mobile use is evident when you look at any new business software coming out today, it’s nearly impossible to find one without mobile compatibility. Even search giant Google has noticed mobile’s dominance and started penalizing websites that aren’t mobile-friendly in their search results.
Mobile apps boost worker productivity an average of 34%.
So, that leaves businesses with a key question, “Should we issue company mobile devices or use a bring your own device (BYOD) policy?”
There are pros and cons to each, which we’ll delve into now.
Pros & Cons: BYOD vs Company-Issued Devices
On one hand, letting your employees use their own devices at work is just easier and less expensive. On the other hand, how do you secure your company data when it’s being accessed by multiple personal mobile devices?
Currently just 26% of U.S. workers have company provided mobile phones, which is the lowest of any other country.
Cost is definitely a big factor in whether companies issue mobile devices or not, but there are several others you want to consider when deciding how to handle mobile use at your company.
Company-Issued Devices | The Pros
Fewer Security Concerns
When you issue company-owned mobile devices, you have more control over how data is accessed. You can also ensure nothing is lost by backing up the entire device automatically, which would be difficult on someone’s personal phone due to privacy considerations.
If an employee leaves your company, their device stays with you, so you don’t have to worry about unauthorized use of company data left on a personal device.
Control Over the Technology Used
If you’re using a custom platform that is only accessible from certain types of mobile devices or that has issues with older phone models, you don’t have to deal with incompatibility problems that may come up with employee personal smartphones.
Devices Can Always Be Updated
Operating system updates are crucial for good cybersecurity because they typically include patches for identified security vulnerabilities. If you’re issuing company devices, you have the ability to keep them updated automatically.
Company-Issued Devices | The Cons
One of the biggest reasons that more companies don’t issue devices to employees is the cost of having to buy, replace, upgrade, and maintain all those smartphones and/or tablets. And lately the newest smartphones have been going up in price rather than down.
Keeping up with company issued devices effectively takes a lot of coordination. Someone needs to issue them, make sure they’re returned when an employee leaves, and deal with lost or stolen devices. All those logistics take valuable time.
The learning curve for an employee to get used to the device they’re issued may negate some of the productivity benefits of working mobile.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) | The Pros
Easier & Less Expensive
Allowing employees to work from their own devices frees a company from hardware and service costs. There is also no delay in getting started, since there’s no process to go through to get issued a phone, making it much easier for staff to start using business mobile apps right away.
No Mobile Carrier Plans to Manage
Another benefit in the time and cost savings department is that you won’t have to manage a mobile carrier plan for multiple employees or make sure they’re not going over minutes. This makes BYOD much easier all around to implement.
Without the learning curve of a new device, employees hit the ground running and can be more productive sooner when using their own mobile device for work. There’s also a convenience factor of not having to carry around two different phones, personal and work.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) | The Cons
Compliance Requirements are More Difficult
If you’re required to comply with data privacy regulations, this can be made more difficult when you don’t have a way to secure information stored on personal mobile phones. This would require a detailed policy and enforcement on what can be accessed and saved on personal devices.
What happens if your staff member’s child is playing a game on their smartphone and accidentally accesses their company email? Scenarios like that are difficult to control when you’re using a BYOD policy, because you don’t have the same control over personal devices.
Loss of Company Data
If your employee has been working on a project and has the document saved to their personal tablet, what happens if their device is lost or stolen, or if they abruptly leave your company? If you don’t have a data backup policy for data stored on employee devices, you could end up losing company assets.
Which Mobile Policy to Use?
Ultimately, you’ll need to decide which policy is best for your company. The good news is that you have options, and whichever way you decide to handle employee mobile devices, a good mobile device management application can help you gain more control.
Need a Good Mobile Device Policy for BYOD or Company Issued Devices?
The experts at Technology Visionaries can help your company with mobile device management systems that can alleviate security and data loss concerns.
Let’s get started on a mobile plan for your office today! Schedule a free consultation online or call 732-587-5960.