BYOD: It's Complicated

By TechZone360 Special Guest
Chris Galis, Content Manager at mindWireless
May 21, 2012

BYOD proves to be more and more polarizing as information continues to emerge on the subject. The “Bring Your Own Device” trend in corporate mobile management seemed like a terrific way to decrease your device procurement costs up front by simply allowing your employees the freedom to stick with their own devices. In today's business climate, corporations are under pressure to put flexible mobile plans into place for their employees that will allow them freedom when doing business and for recreational use. But as the lifecycle of cost management rolls out, BYOD plans tend to show several complexities.

Logistics

As a management plan, BYOD looks to prevent hardware procurement on the front end. Most, if not all, employees of Fortune 1000 companies already have their own smart phones, so it only makes sense to give those employees the option to continue using their own devices. If your corporate environment employs around 1000 people and you are looking at providing hardware for all of them, the prices can be staggering. But once you onboard BYOD as major part of your business's telecom budget, you stand a good chance at incurring several additional costs in the management of your several disparate devices.

Security

Security is a major issue in TEM. It is costly and necessary. With a BYOD plan, you run into several issues on keeping your data secure. For instance, employees have the same mobile access whether they are at work or remote. You're essentially putting security issues into the hands of your employees who may not realize what is ultimately at risk. Some companies don't put as much intellectual property on the mobile platform. Some, like emerging social start ups that largely work on mobile devices and smartphones, might have crucial bits and pieces stashed away in email accounts, cloud folders, and mobile apps. Sometimes employees realize the importance of security on mobile devices a little too late.

Reporting and Management

Typically, with a BYOD plan, it's also difficult to enact a centralized method of billing and track data usage. Centralized plans give companies and corporations the ability to gather all of their mobile expense information into one source for an objective monitor to decide what is and isn't a work expense. Decentralizing your plan to accommodate the wealth of BYOD devices in your network can cause major problems with reporting usage, tracking hardware, network upkeep, and ensuring that there is as little waste as possible. Along with security, billing, and liability, another major concern for enterprises looking at a BYOD plan is what to tell your IT Help Desk. On boarding new devices and data plans can fracture your IT Help Desk's ability to supply adequate assistance. If you've been working with Blackberry company phones for the past five years and iPhones and Androids start getting into the mix, you're going to experience some definite problems with getting the same quality help from IT.

BYOD, with its seeming ease of use and ease of procurement offers some advantages to certain companies, however, it's important when making the switch to BYOD to know that not everything is directly on the surface. Sure, you might cut costs of on-boarding the hardware, but that could easily be offset by the increased hours and time spent combing through data usage reports by individual employees, dealing with security issues, etc. By changing your management plan and your device life cycle, you'll also be shifting costs around to compensate for certain services a fully supported company telecom plan with centralized reporting provides.

This post was provided by Chris Galis, content manager at mindWireless, a telecom expense management company based out of Austin, TX.




Edited by Rich Steeves


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