Should you adopt a BYOD policy in the workplace?

The growing adoption of wearable devices has led to the emergence of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies in the workplace worldwide. But, what does a BYOD policy entail and what impact could it have on your workplace?

A BYOD is an IT policy that allows employees - and often encourages – employees to use their personal mobile devices and laptops to access enterprise data and systems.

As a workplace trend, BYOD has been well-received by both employees and employers. According to data from Spiceworks, 35% of devices in today’s workplace are already employee-owned and 75% of businesses permit, or at least plan to permit, BYOD in the workplace.

Today, employees, especially younger ones, are adopting new technologies at a much faster pace than their employers. Without the presence of a BYOD policy, this gap can cause frustration, as employees are not able to use their personal, and often more sophisticated, devices at work.

So, how should companies face this BYOD dilemma? And should we all just go ahead and adopt the BYOD trend in our workplace? Below we list a couple of pros and cons companies should consider before establishing a BYOD policy.

Benefits of BYOD adoption in the workplace

Benefit #1: As would be expected, historic users of Apple products are proficient when it comes to using Apple technology, whilst Historic users of Windows products are more adept at using Windows operating systems. For employees that have to adapt to a new operating system at work, it can be a challenge. A BYOD policy affords employees with the freedom to utilise the devices that provides them with the highest degree of comfort and boosts their productivity.

Benefit #2: The growing adoption of cloud technology by enterprise businesses, allows employees to store, edit and access data from any compatible device - offering employees the freedom to work from anywhere.

Benefit #3: Companies can avoid potential conflicts between organisational departments. Since employees are permitted to use their up-to-date devices, there is no need to wait for an upgrade from the IT department.

Benefit #4: A BYOD policy can be an effective way for companies to save costs, by eliminating the need to buy specific devices for individual employees – especially if they are devices that end users do not want in the first place.

Consequences of BYOD adoption in the workplace

According to recent research, 78% of organisations believe that BYOD policies can be a major security concern. Here we outline other potential consequences associated with a BYOD policy in the workplace.

Consequence #1: Utilising BYOD policies in the workplace can increase the likelihood of data leaks, since individual employees are not likely to have the same level of IT security measures on their personal devices that a major company would. This disparity can make it hard to protect valuable customer data and other business related information. Interestingly, wearables, which are gaining popularity, are often the weakest links when it comes to security, which places added pressure on the IT and Facility Management departments to efficiently secure these devices.

Consequence #2: By giving employees the freedom to access company data from their personal device, there is a chance that an employee could walk away with a significant amount of company data on their personal device when they leave the company.

Consequence #3: It can be a challenge for companies to maintain IT systems that are compatible with a variety of different operating systems. However, when a company is able to purchase a specific type of device for all employees, the organization can choose a device that is compatible with the current IT systems.

The implications a BYOD policy has on Facility Managers

There is no doubt that the BYOD trend is here to stay – especially as new tech savvy generations enter of workplaces and workspaces.

As the adoption around this trend increases, new requirements will be placed on Facility Managers, forcing them to work across departments to identify ways to create seamless workplace experiences that are independent of a specific type of device. In order to make this happen, FM and Corporate IT managers will need to develop robust security solutions and identify ways to control the usage of personal devices.

Currently, regulation around personal devices within organisations can range from: providing unlimited access to all company systems, permitting access under the control of IT and limiting access to prevent the local storage of company sensitive data.

One thing is for sure, focusing on upgrading the IT understanding and capacity will be one of the keys to be a successful Facility Manager in the workplace of the future. And with new tech savvy generations just entering the workforce there is not much time to waste.