So this month we wanted to talk about “bring your own device” or BYOD for short, and write a few blogs that’ll leave you with a good base for understanding what BYOD is, why it’s a trend and the pro’s an cons of adopting a BYOD strategy for your business.
Today we’re going to cover all the questions we get about BYOD and hopefully set you up with some basic knowledge of what it is.
What is BYOD?
“Bring your own device” is really a strategy a business can use in order to, quite literally, outsource the procurement and management of its mobile devices that its end users use.
Many companies still see their mobile devices as a core asset that they need to control fully and there’s nothing wrong with that and it’s still the right way to go for many businesses. However, where businesses have outsourced their workers, then this is where BYOD really can work for you. Take a well-known cable/satellite installation business in the UK for example. No longer do these engineers actually work for the brand you are buying from. Instead, they’re all large contractors whom the work of the installations and repairs are outsourced to and part of this will be that they will have to buy and use their own devices in order to connect and use the applications required to link them to the back-end systems they need.
What are the main differences in working this way?
Well, instead of your business buying, say 100 devices for your workers to use, that you will have to pay for, manage, repair and then ultimately replace. You now don’t have to deal with this element of the hardware.
Some businesses will still dictate the device, accessories and even the support packages that the outsourced workers have to use to ensure a level of ruggedness and in turn up-time and quality of their service. However, some are leaving the choice of what mobile smartphone to use completely in the hands of the worker.
What are the benefits of BYOD?
There are some key benefits of doing this, the big ones are:
- No mobile device purchase costs. Workers buy their own phone.
- No repair costs. Workers are responsible for the upkeep of their device, so if they crack a screen, they need to get it repaired themselves.
- Users get to choose and use the device that’s familiar to them, often their own phone so they have lower training costs to get up and running.
You can see already how this could save your business tens of thousands of pounds.
What are the drawbacks?
On the face of it adopting this kind of strategy looks like it can make some impressive savings for your business up front, so what’s the catch?
The big drawback of BYOD is security and management of your data. If your company and customer data are going to be used on a mobile device that you do not own, how do you keep your data secure? Devices will be lost, stolen, damaged beyond repair and also workers may come and go and their devices will stay with them. For some this challenge alone is enough to stay away from BYOD.
We also see a definite quality issue with BYOD customers we have with workers using cheap phones that are just not up to the job. If they fail, then it’s still your brand that will suffer. How do your workers get “enterprise” level support when things go wrong? And how do you keep your business running when outsourced like this?
We’re also seeing an alarming trend of cheap Chinese phones being used by workers that have all kinds of hidden tracking and data stealing apps baked into the OS’s. No MDM app will stop this level of data breach and it is worrying that you see so many Amazon and Hermes couriers using devices like this.
Despite what I said above, in more complex IT systems, training costs have actually been seen to rise in a BYOD scenario. Sure the device is familiar and all you have to do is download an app! However, the reality is that many complex MDM, KIOSK and security systems have to be integrated too and this isn’t easy on your own mobile device. Add to this, data compliance is getting stricter and stricter all the time and we’re already seeing some of our customers force workers to buy a separate “work” device due to this.
Costs are pushed ever more onto the worker making low paid staff even worse off which ultimately means a lower quality of service.
Well, I’d love to stay on the fence on this one but I just can’t. I personally don’t like BYOD. It conjures up images of poor zero-day contract workers, earning lower than minimum wage all being forced to now buy their own rugged device. I know this is my opinion but we at Raptor just feel that workers are owed more than this. We see a lot of businesses adopting BYOD simply as a new way to cut costs and shift responsibility and I think these will ultimately lose.
On the other hand, the work environment has changed beyond recognition in the past few years with new opportunities like Uber drivers or Deliveroo couriers, for example, all now being able to easily set themselves up and work with little effort. Without a BYOD device way of doing things this would not be possible.
Here at Raptor, we’re probably not seeing a fragmentation of existing customers taking up BYOD strategies. But what we are seeing is a new type of customer who is geared up to BYOD from the foundation upwards who need a different way of doing things all round.
So, we’re geared up to support both types of customer here with a support portal that can talk to businesses as easily as outsourced workers and the fact is we see BYOD as growing and serving a new type of customer.
If your company is thinking about adopting a BYOD policy, there’s a really good document created by the National Cyber Security Centre you should read, that covers the key security aspects your company should cover.
We’ll discuss more about BYOD this month, so be sure to check in and read the next article!