Belfast Telegraph

Bringing your own device to work — is it a smart move or a risk not worth taking?

Employees using their own phone for work can have benefits and drawbacks
Employees using their own phone for work can have benefits and drawbacks

By David Whelan, Managing Director, Clarity

In recent times the trend of allowing or encouraging employees to use their devices at work has become increasingly popular for a variety of reasons, including potential increases in productivity and reduced cost to business.

Companies should however assess whether the benefits of a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy outweigh the risks.

It has been claimed that the most considerable benefit of BYOD is an increase in productivity. This is largely owing to the fact that employees are already familiar with their own phones, tablets or laptops, meaning there is no learning curve when they start working off their device.

Most people take their phone everywhere with them. If an employee is using their own phone for work this means they can essentially work from anywhere. The more flexible and mobile your employees, the better they can maintain a competitive edge.

Another benefit, especially to small business, is the reduced cost that comes with a BYOD policy. Instead of having to pay for multiple devices that employees do not need or want, the business need only pay for the mobile phone plan of each employee.

Conversely, the risks associated with BYOD can be significant and security is a key concern. Due to their portable nature, devices such as phones, tablets and laptops can be very easy to leave behind or have stolen.

Once out of an employee’s hands, not even encrypted date or device locking passwords can keep experienced hackers out. This leaves company data vulnerable and confidential information can be compromised.

Another risk is reputational damage. If an employee is found to be posting or accessing any inappropriate, racist or illegal online content from a device used for work, it can result in legal trouble not only for the employee, but also the company they work for.

Companies that rely on seamless, cohesive telecoms should also consider a BYOD policy carefully. Allowing employees to use their own devices may in some instances make the integration of company telecommunications more difficult.

For some, it might be easier to monitor and maintain a high standard of business communication when all devices concerned are owned and managed by the company.

Meanwhile, as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems become increasingly popular, businesses should confirm their service provider is happy to allow employee-owned equipment to form part of the package.

Organisations considering BYOD should weigh up potential benefits of the policy against the risks, with the aim of ensuring the outcome is as integrated telecommunications system that works for their business.

  • For information or guidance on tailoring telecommunications to improve your business, contact a member of the Clarity Telecom team on 0800 912 1000 or visit www.claritytele.com/voice-over-internet-protocol-voip/

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