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Is BYOD right for your business? The benefits of lower cost and greater flexibility make it hard to say no to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), which is why so many companies use it today – but not all of them.

By Telus

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It's all about convenience now, with work and play just a click away – on our smartphones and tablets. Having your head in the cloud used to mean you were clueless and out of touch, but today the cloud is where you need to be. That's where you're connected to your work, from anywhere in the world. As such, our employees demand to bring their devices from home into the workplace. The benefits of lower cost and greater flexibility make it hard to say no to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), which is why so many companies use it today – but not all of them.

We want our people to be comfortable, flexible and productive – whether they're in the office, representing the company abroad or working from home. It's the modern way of doing business, isn't it?

Yes and no. While employees are ready for it and BYOD adoption was trending upwards generally, BYOD for enterprise is now lagging. Small businesses are still leading the way with BYOD. That's likely driven more by lack of resources than a well-thought-out business plan that addresses well-known concerns over data privacy and security.

Is there a way for companies to have it all with BYOD – the convenience, the cost-savings and compliance, all wrapped up in a pretty little bow? Yes, but you'll need to prepare for it.

1. Consider why you really want (and need) BYOD.

Forget about what the rest of the business world is doing for a second – are your employees asking about it? Do they really want or need the organizational agility that comes with BYOD? Will they be traveling to conferences or trade shows? On the road to make sales? Working from a remote office, or from home? Is having two devices, one for personal use and the other for work, really that onerous for them? How much is this flexibility really worth to you?

If the biggest point of interest for you is around saving a few thousand bucks for avoiding the (mostly tax-deductible) expense of hardware or software for your team, BYOD might not actually be worth it. In the bigger picture of your business' balance sheet, even for a small business, the savings might not account for much more than a rounding error.

BYOD is for enabling employees to do what they do with the tools that they want to use. It's not an excuse for avoiding investing in essential equipment. A petty focus on hardware expenses perversely push you to hire the candidate who comes with the best tech in their pocket, instead of the right mix of talent and business culture fit.

2. Look into the latest security solutions.

Some consider a BYOD inherently riskier than simply providing devices, but that's not necessarily the case – and it's less true by the day.

Recognizing that this risk may be hampering sales, Apple is enhancing the security capabilities on its iPhones and iPads using corporate networks; Android developers are likewise rolling out security apps to tackle known vulnerabilities. When you're deciding to allow BYOD, keep in mind that not all devices' security is created equal – and some devices today may actually be more secure than what you would have bought and provided.

Your IT department (or, for a small business, your uncle Ned who used to work for a software company) is also going to complain that they can't track your employees' activity when they're working from home or over a Starbucks WiFi network – and bad things can happen when no one's monitoring. Again, major players are coming up with solutions to these security gaps.

IT security concerns don't have to hobble your business strategy. If you want BYOD to happen, get them to look for solutions that can give your team and customers peace of mind by giving IT personnel the ability to protect their data and your systems with effective mobile device management.

3. Consider the Plan, Not Just the Device.

BYOD can offer companies substantial savings from not having to purchase devices for each employee. That said, over the long-term, the cost savings you'll get from the right BYOD voice and data plan will far outweigh the savings from employees buying their own hardware.

Consider options that reduce roaming charges for your team. After all, you're going with BYOD to enable your mobile workforce, right? Look for coverage for evenings and weekends, outside of normal business hours – because again, your BYOD strategy is counting on your employees taking on responsibilities while your competition is sleeping. The TELUS Business Choice BYOD device plans, for instance, are customized for whatever use-case scenario you're likely to encounter.

Instead of BYOD, many companies today are offering a Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) option for employees that includes a selection of vetted devices and voice and data plans. This helps assuage the concerns of IT mentioned earlier that they don't have the capacity to secure and monitor an infinite range of devices. For some smaller companies, BYOD can be a transition point on the way to CYOD; as they test out the limited range of devices used by three to 10 employees, they can get a better handle on which devices and plans are meaningfully empowering workers. When they're ready to move to CYOD, they will have test cases and metrics to make those decisions about hardware, operating systems and integration.

Do your research, answer these questions and you can decide for yourself whether BYOD is right for your business.

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