IT consulting expert Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of the world’s companies will stop providing employees technology to devices and instead go exclusively with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs. About 44 percent of American businesses had some sort BYOD strategy in place in 2013, and that number will only grow in the coming years.
The more surprising takeaway from these numbers is that more companies haven’t already adopted BYOD policies. Are BYOD misconceptions preventing more widespread adoption? Your clients will benefit knowing what the truth is regarding this burgeoning trend. Here are six common BYOD misconceptions you or your customers might think and the realities behind them:
- “BYOD is unsafe!” Among BYOD misconceptions, this is prevalent because sensitive company information can now be accessed outside the physical plant—a hacker doesn’t need to break into well-guarded systems, just someone’s smartphone. Security is an important BYOD concern—perhaps the most important one companies will face—but isn’t the deal breaker that many organizations fear. With distinct, specific BYOD policies, governance, management, and training, company data can be as secure on employees’ personal devices as it is on internal systems.
- “Employees are inherently careless!” One train of thought states that if a device belongs to the company, employees will take better care of it because it’s not theirs. That’s not entirely misguided—think of how careful you are with a rental car as opposed to one you own, for example. However, as smartphones and tablets have evolved and become more essential and personal (as well as expensive), owners of these devices have become as careful with them as they would a laptop computer. Think of how automatic it is to confirm that you have your cell phone is as you leave the house. Yes, personal devices do get lost or stolen, but with proper BYOD training and education, employees will be even more careful with their devices … and know what do if a loss does occur.
- “BYOD will reduce worker productivity!” Another fear common among BYOD misconceptions is that personal devices will distract employees from the work tasks at hand. An employee may be checking work email while outside the office, then switch over to Flappy Bird. The reality is: Personal devices already are cutting into worker productivity, whether the employee is in the office or out and about. If you don’t think so, count how many times you check your phone for personal emails or texts during the day. But BYOD also gathers your employees’ attention when they aren’t on the clock; for example, they can be more connected at work if they can check emails when they are at home.
- “BYOD is difficult for IT!” Admittedly, the adoption of BYOD isn’t going to be a picnic for IT departments. But the changeover shouldn’t be the technological and governance slog that many companies fear. BYOD solutions and training are expanding, and with the help of VARs and distributors, your clients can seamlessly transition to incorporating personal technology into their systems.
- “BYOD is expensive!” If your client is thinking it needs to purchase devices for every employee, then yes, BYOD can be expensive. But bring your own device includes the word “your”—these are devices owned by the employees. Organizations can provide a stipend to help pay for the technology and the data plans involved, but as a cooperative effort between company and employee, the company isn’t paying for everything. Furthermore, the expense in managing BYOD will gradually replace some of the expense of maintaining internal systems that become less used as employees use their own devices.
- “We’ve approved BYOD; we’ve done enough!” So far, the BYOD misconceptions mentioned have addressed why a company would hesitate to get on board with the trend. This misconception is concerned with what companies do after it makes the jump to personal devices. Just approving BYOD is not enough for organizations; they must be proactive in establishing security guidelines, maintaining policy, and keeping ahead of the technology curve.
What BYOD misconceptions have you encountered with your clients?