What is BYOD?
BYOD (bring your own device) refers to a policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned devices — like laptops, tablets and smartphones— to work, and to use those devices to access company information and applications.
A Brief History
The term “BYOD” was originally used by VoIP service provider BroadVoice in 2004, when it launched a service allowing businesses to route calls to personal devices. Then in 2009, the term entered mainstream industry use courtesy of Intel, when the company realized that many of its employees were bringing their own devices into work and connecting to the corporate network, prompting the implementation of a formal policy.
A few years later in 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adopted a formal bring-your-own-device policy, solidifying the practice as a reliable option for modern workers in large dispersed organizations.
The numbers don’t lie: BYOD is currently a big part of enterprise IT. And there are a few main advantages around why this approach has been so successful.
- Better Productivity: Employees who use their own devices work more flexible schedules and typically respond faster to communication.
- Improved Employee Satisfaction: Using their own devices increases employee morale and convenience and makes the company seem like an attractive employer.
- Greater Control: Formalizing a BYOD policy actually reduces the total number of unauthorized devices connecting to a network.
- Cost Savings: According to a Cisco report, companies with a BYOD policy in place save on average $350 per year, per employee.
While the advantages of a BYOD program are often touted, it’s important to remember that any BYOD policy must be created based on the specific requirements of the company, which makes it inherently more complex. Compounding this complexity, are the several reasons why enterprises often shy away from BYOD policies.
- BYOD can be Dangerous: Mobile devices may carry malware and if an infected device connects to the company network, data breaches may occur.
- Insight is Minimal: Unless a high-quality solution like NetMotion Mobility is being used consistently, IT security departments wishing to monitor usage of personal devices may not have the control needed to ensure that they monitor only activities that are work-related.
- Scalability is Difficult: Some organizations lack the proper network infrastructure to handle the large amount of traffic generated when employees use different devices at the same time.
- Cost Confusion: Navigating the tax implications of reimbursement and the best practices surrounding reimbursement for personal device use can be convoluted.
The Death of BYOD
In a 2016 post here on The Enterprise Mobility Blog, we wrote that “BYOD is here to stay.” But only a few years later, the tides may be shifting. What’s driving the decline in this strategy?
- Workers are getting more of the devices they want from their companies so there’s less motivation to circumvent IT.
- BYOD costs can quickly overrun with poor implementation.
- The rise of cloud storage means workers aren’t as attached to their devices, with many more opting for corporate-owned phones and tablets.
- MDM and other endpoint management software solutions that are necessary for an effective and secure BYOD strategy can be prohibitively expensive.
Will BYOD go the way of Friendster? Only time will tell.