Integrating BYOD: How to Make it Work for Small Businesses


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Bring your own device (BYOD) may be generating a lot of buzz for good reason, but many businesses seem to dismiss it all too easily. Perhaps they don’t buy into its promised benefits, or maybe they look at the challenges and determine BYOD to not be worth it. Whatever their reasons, those organizations are swiftly finding themselves left behind as more and more companies discover how much BYOD can help them gain an edge over their competitors. Having employees bring in their personal mobile devices for work is certainly advantageous, but it’s not necessarily an easy transition. When it comes to making bring your own device work, small businesses have to recognize the challenges involved as well as the benefits, all in an effort to make the integration process as smooth as possible.

The advantages to adopting a BYOD policy should not be overlooked. Based off of numerous studies and surveys conducted over the past few years, it’s clear that BYOD helps employees be more productive, getting more work done in less time. Some research has even shown that employees will work more hours due how easy it is for them to use their preferred device both in and out of the office. Using devices they’re already familiar with also contributes to employees being more satisfied with their work. Outside of the benefits to employees, the business itself stands to gain from BYOD since the policy reduces maintenance costs. Overall, BYOD presents a lot of upside to a small business’s bottom line and productivity.

With those benefits, however, come some considerable challenges that must be addressed. Perhaps the most pressing is that of BYOD security. For obvious reasons, bring your own device introduces a lot of new devices into the workplace, each with different capabilities and features. These devices also represent new ways in which cyber attackers can try to infiltrate a system. While this increased risk can be countered with the right policies and vigilant employees, one of the main problems is the attitude that many workers have toward security. Many employees, especially millennials, don’t pay specific attention to the security of their devices, thus increasing the risk of malware or other attacks. In fact, a recent poll shows about 70% of employees of the millennial generation admitted using unauthorized applications at work. Small businesses need to be aware of these attitudes if they hope to improve their overall security.

With the benefits and challenges in mind, small businesses will be better prepared to set up an implementation plan designed to fully integrate BYOD into the workplace. While there’s no agreed upon step-by-step process for achieving this, there are a number of tips that can certainly help. Before adopting a BYOD policy, companies should go to their employees and conduct an audit, essentially finding out how many people are already using personal mobile devices and what kind of apps they prefer. Knowing this information can help organizations craft a policy that addresses all their employees’ needs. At the same time, companies need to educate and train their employees about how to use personal devices at work. Of most importance is teaching workers about the many security threats that are out there and how mismanagement of mobile devices may increase the risks. Education should continue long after a policy has already been implemented.

Another step small businesses should take is to ensure that their resulting BYOD policy will comply with the law. Many laws like the Data Protection Act should be considered to note what a company’s responsibility to protect their employees’ personal data is. Organizations also should establish who has control of the devices and the data that’s on them. This will likely come into play if the need arises to wipe data from a device that’s been lost or stolen. In addition to these steps, small businesses need to determine what apps should be allowed, preferably ones that have security features and have been approved for use by the IT department.

Integrating BYOD can be tricky, but with enough planning beforehand, companies will soon have a policy ready to address the needs and demands of managers and employees. Security challenges will never go away completely, but with enough foresight, businesses can be prepared for even the worst scenarios. BYOD can be a tremendously useful tool for small businesses, so getting started on it quickly should be a priority.

Rick Delgado
Freelance Writer
I've been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of writing. I've started doing freelance writing and I love to write about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet. I also occasionally write for tech companies like Dell.


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