The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend in offices continues to make headlines since its inception. Its promise of an office environment where employees can come and go with their devices is an attractive prospect for many employers and employees alike. So much so that recent reports indicate that 74 percent of workplaces are adopting or planning to adopt a model in which employees use their own computers at work. The advantages, at least in an ideal situation, are obvious. It cuts down on the amount of money that companies have to invest in hardware and does away with the risk of employee theft. But enterprises are finding that BYOD can have significant downsides as well—downsides that are really only just beginning to be identified and understood as BYOD grows in popularity.
Healthcare enterprises like hospitals, for instance, are reportedly moving away from BYOD, because of the network security risks posed by having people bring in mobile devices from outside. Hospitals are massive enterprises, and their networks contain highly confidential patient data. It only takes one device, infected with malware outside of the hospital, to subvert the IT department’s security tools and give a hacker a way into the system. Likewise, individual users might not manage routine maintenance that a security-minded IT department would do on systems under their purview, leaving the devices more vulnerable to attack.
What then is the key to maintaining the workplace flexibility of BYOD without the security risks? A new mobile workforce model known as Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) has recently emerged to address this issue. This overview should give you a starting point for determining if a customer can benefit from implementing a CYOD model and if it is something you should consider for your suite of offerings.
CYOD vs. BYOD: What’s the Difference?
The distinction between the two models is simple. With a CYOD model, instead of a company encouraging employees to use their own devices for work, it gives employees a choice of different potential devices to use. As with any technology policy, there are advantages and disadvantages.
CYOD: The Upside
Some reasons that CYOD may be something you would want to offer a client are:
- It allows IT to manage the security updates and settings on devices so that some security concerns present in BYOD aren’t an issue.
- It allows the company to standardize what kinds of devices will be used and how they will be used, allowing for more internal control over employee usage and fewer concerns about employees viewing non-work sites that could infect their systems with malware.
- It gives employees flexible options for using devices appropriate for their particular tasks—for instance, an employee can use a smartphone when traveling internationally and needing only to answer emails and can trade in for a laptop when commuting locally and working on projects that demand a great deal of content creation.
- It means that all devices will be up to the same specs so that some employees do not experience difficulties running programs that they need to use.
CYOD: The Downside
CYOD might not suit an enterprise’s needs for the following reasons:
- There will undoubtedly be a high cost attached to purchasing a range of different devices for employee use.
- Device maintenance and the purchase of new devices fall onto the shoulders of IT, not the individual employee.
So Should I Offer CYOD to My Client?
Individual workplace needs, priorities, and levels of comfort determine whether or not CYOD is the right option to go with. In environments where security is paramount and central control of devices is necessary, CYOD will probably be the better option. If cost is a primary concern and there are fewer concerns about potential security events, BYOD may be the way to go.
Only by assessing a client’s business needs, employee needs, and technical needs can you truly determine what approach is correct. But in either case, making certain that a business has the right security solutions in place and the proper security consulting available is a top priority in ensuring client satisfaction.
What advantages have you seen with CYOD and BYOD models?