Weighing up the pros and cons of BYOD

Lawrence Jones

Sunday 11 October 2015

As the concept of fixed working hours evaporates across Europe, and we experience an increasing demand for connectivity, many businesses are adopting a BYOD (Bring your Own Device) policy, enabling workers to use their own tech. But just what does this mean for businesses, and is it worth it?

Sustainable gains?

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.

Return to the Mobility theme page to learn more about keeping you and your IT team up to speed in this fast-moving sector.