The last few years have seen the rise of BYOD – Bring your own device. Nobody knows better than BlackBerry how increased consumer smartphone security and specs have enabled people to manage their corporate life on their own iOS, Android or Windows device.
But though BYOD has been great news for employees (and bad news for BlackBerry), it’s not such a clear picture for companies. There are costs associated with supporting users, their disparate devices and, above all, in maintaining network security. It’s tough to keep your network locked down when your users are accessing it using apps they’ve downloaded from the net.
And because these are the users’ own phones, chances are at least some of them are using them to do things you don’t want: communicating sensitive data via unauthorized email addresses, streaming movies and watching TV. One company in Singapore saw its bandwidth usage double in the month after they launched BYOD, as “people were basically watching YouTube videos and looking at Facebook all day long”.
BYOD may drive employee satisfaction. But there could be a significant cost in ROI, productivity and security.
Choose a better path: Choose Your Own Device
A new alternative is emerging, and signs are that 2014 could be the year of CYOD- Choose Your Own Device.
By offering your workforce their choice of a selection of approved, secure phones and tablets you get the best of both worlds. Your workforce gets the intangible boost in morale that comes from everyone getting a device of their choice that they know how to use – boosting productivity and cutting support costs. Your IT team gets to work with a restricted set of approved, containerised and secure OSes and devices. And you get the peace of mind that comes from knowing your network is secure.
SAP is one example of a company that has successfully implemented CYOD. Fearful of the risks of opening up their network to a BYOD free-for-all, they offered a list of 10 devices including tablets, phones and phablets and three different OSes. Employees could choose the equipment that matched their needs and choices, with corporate apps to match. The program is now 70,000 devices strong, and growing all the time.
CYOD is a reflection of the fact all your employees are different. But it also reflects that, with careful planning and management, companies can embrace those differences -without sacrificing security, business effectiveness, or the bottom line.