Guest Column | January 9, 2014

Is It Time To Bid RIP To BYOD?

By Bill Thomson, Senior Director, Product Development, Cbeyond

For SMBs, “bring your own device” (BYOD) has been a double-edged sword.  BYOD has many benefits, especially for smaller businesses that need to keep costs in check. There’s no question that allowing employees to use their own mobile devices saves a business from incurring hardware costs. Plus, employees who are comfortable with the features and applications on their personal smartphones are eager to continue using them on the job. These benefits have prompted approximately half of SMBs to support BYOD policies. According to a Cisco IBSG Horizons Survey Report, 42 percent of all knowledge workers own the smartphones they use for work.

While BYOD can be a good mobility strategy for some SMBs, there are some risks to consider inherent in the policy. Unmanaged, BYOD can make it difficult to secure proprietary company data. Customer contact information and sales history information are at risk if stored locally on a mobile device and leave with the employee. An additional challenge of BYOD is the complexity of properly configuring devices that have non-standard configurations. For example, when employees bring their own mobile devices or computers, a business has less control over the applications installed and the network and security settings. When problems arise, it tends to be more difficult to diagnose problems to get the device working properly.

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