BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Is A Smart Move

BYOD Makes Sense for Austin Small Businesses

More and more, Austin is becoming a recognized leader in small business. CNBC named Austin the No. 1 place to start a business in America, and from 2010-2013, the number of small businesses grew by 7 percent, the highest rate in the nation.

We can maintain that lead by taking advantage of technologies that make small businesses more affordable to start and grow. And one relatively new strategy that often flies under the radar is “bring your own device,” or BYOD.

BYOD policies allow employees to use their personal devices for business, too. Since personal computers became commonplace in the office, it’s generally been the employers that provide them. This made sense when work was done entirely from desktops and all company data was stored in-house. But improvements in data security measures and the shift toward mobile devices and cloud computing make it so employers don’t have to take on that expense and responsibility.

Many companies still provide their employees with hardware, but having your employees carrying around an extra work phone or computer is usually a lose-lose situation. Your company has to foot the bill for the hardware (and for any data plans and warranties, too). Employees become tied to multiple devices, which can be annoying.

Plus, most people have a preference for the brand of device they use, so they’re likely going to feel more productive when working on a device with which they’re most comfortable. Remember when President Obama wanted to keep his Blackberry? Blackberry phones may be fading, but personal preferences aren’t.

That’s where BYOD comes in. It’s advantageous for both employees and employers. For employees, using their personal phones or laptops for work lets them streamline what they carry around every day. Relying on just one device means less they have to worry about. It also means they are more autonomous in how they work because they get to have a say in what devices make them most productive in their role.

Cutting hardware costs

For startup businesses, BYOD presents a considerable advantage in cutting hardware costs. Purchasing phones or laptops for every employee adds up quickly. If you buy your employees both, you’re likely to spend more than $1,000 per team member — and that’s without insurance, warranties, and data plans. Letting employees bring their own phones and laptops to work reduces those costs significantly.

Still, while the potential for savings is clear, that doesn’t mean a BYOD policy is a ticket to avoiding all device-related expenses. There are still other potential expenses businesses need to consider before they decide if their BYOD policy will work out.

Security: BYOD’s savings don’t mean much if your company’s data is compromised. You will need to purchase mobile device management software to keep track of employees’ devices and keep them secure.

Software support: If your employees are working on applications or communicating via email on their mobile devices — which, of course, is the point — they need to have access to the same type of IT support for those devices that they would have at their desktop workstations.

Both are investments, but both are measures businesses would need to implement regardless of whether they have a BYOD policy. At the end of the day, BYOD is a strategy that can potentially give businesses’ budgets a break — something any company can appreciate.

(This article was written by Adam Levy, owner of Magnet Solutions Group, and originally appeared in the Austin Business Journal.  Photo credit: ABJ/PeopleImages)