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Friday, August 01, 2014

BYOD holds promise for small businesses, too

The benefits of BYOD can extend to small businesses, but the same precautions must be applied.

Category:   Enterprise Mobility

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Small businesses often lag behind larger enterprises in terms of technology developments. However, there are some trends that are just as applicable and accessible to organizations with fewer employees and smaller budgets. Is bring your own device one of them?

Why BYOD? 
BYOD policies allow workers to utilize their own smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other machines for business purposes. In addition to boosting mobility in the workplace, these options can also improve job satisfaction and productivity. Employees may be more comfortable using one operating system over another, for example, and the ability to access corporate resources outside of their offices opens greater possibilities for telecommuting and working while traveling.

Additionally, some enterprises are cutting down on their own equipment investments by having team members complete tasks on their own devices.

Making it work on a smaller scale 
Consulting firm Frost & Sullivan predicted that about 70 percent of United States organizations will permit employees to bring their own devices to work this year, Small Business noted. Smaller companies can get in on this trend as well, particularly by leveraging the right resources to make BYOD a strategic choice.

For example, Lifehacker suggested focusing more on applications and activities than on the devices themselves. One of the most common services employees want to use their own devices to access is email. For small businesses with sensitive information, implementing a secure file sharing email solution that works across platforms can be an easy way to embrace additional gadgets. Cloud-based solutions also have some advantages, the source noted. These options make it easier for workers to tap into their accounts from anywhere, on any device.

Necessary precautions 
Of course, BYOD isn't without its drawbacks. Companies have confronted concerns over maintaining network security and keeping the flow of their information under control. That's why starting with a strong BYOD policy is important, even for smaller organizations. As The Suit Magazine explained, entities considering BYOD options should also be aware of common worker behaviors that put resources at risk so they can implement policies and tools to lessen vulnerabilities. Such behaviors include:

  • Allowing non-employees to use devices that contain corporate resources
  • Storing passwords on the mobile gadgets
  • Failing to utilize auto-locking features

In addition to creating a comprehensive BYOD policy, businesses should evaluate their network and IT security to ensure permitting additional devices doesn't heighten their risk for viruses or cyberattacks.