Todd Carothers, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Products, CounterPath

Allowing employees and team members alike to utilise their personal devices for work related tasks and access company data, systems and applications is nothing new. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have been around for some time now, having gained a lot of traction in recent years with no signs of slowing down any time soon – so what is BYOD, anyway?

BYOD initiatives are usually spearheaded by the IT department and the levels of implementation and data access allowed on personal devices vary from company to company and even between employees. An organization must decide if they wish to grant unlimited access for personal devices, restrict the access to sensitive data from personal devices and/or prevent local storage of data on non-company owned devices.

Regardless of the regulations that a company sets, there are benefits and risks associated with implementing a BYOD policy in your organization. Employees increase their productivity by utilizing a system or a device with which they are familiar. On average, personal devices are newer and are updated more frequently.

As users continue to invest and become more attached to personal devices, a BYOD policy assists in raising employee satisfaction. BYOD policies also eliminate the need for employees to carry multiple devices. Finally, a BYOD program may help reduce the costs associated with hardware however, those benefits may be offset by data plan subsidies. Below are three key tips for managing that program.

  • Daily Monitoring: This is perhaps the most challenging aspect in the implementation and management of a BYOD program, but as such, it is also a vital step for its success. When allowing access to company sensitive data, your organization needs to manage protocols and individual devices effectively. As employees change their devices often, it is important to maintain constant communication and control over the devices included in the company’s network.
  • Create a solid policy: Creating an encompassing policy is the best way to build a foundation for success when implementing a BYOD program. A policy must lay out the rules and protocols that will govern the entire initiative. This document must include details about the applications, data, security levels and files that are to be available through employees devices.
  • Availability of devices: Users have a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to personal devices. This is why it is imperative to set up a program that is compatible with the majority of the devices that will be brought forward by the users in your organization. There is nothing worse than being limited due to a system availability issue.

There are, however, implications that need to be taken into consideration when determining if a BYOD policy is a good fit for your organization. The main concern that it is often raised refers to security. The risk of having sensitive corporate data and information available on devices with limited protection can be a liability if it is not managed appropriately. Keeping the above points in mind when planning and executing your BYOD plan will help you and your organization operate smoothly and reap the benefits associated with this initiative.

With the rise of BYOD adoption, in addition to the increasing number of remote workers and telecommuting, unified communications systems provide organizations with an invaluable option to improve the collaboration and communication among different networks, platforms and devices.

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