Bring your own device (BYOD)
The Bring Your Own Device or BYOD policy has become a matter of debate as more international companies recognize the potential. This study analyzes the strengths and risks associated with the developing policy, with a focus on productivity, compatibility and security. Utilizing secondary resources, the examination provided many strengths including employee satisfaction, increased productivity and advanced recruiting incentives. Negative elements included growing security concerns and integration issues. This analysis will be useful to any study assessing the role of technology in business.
Businesses providing devices to employees to assist in their jobs has become a topic of increasing debate as an increasing number of personnel often already have their own components. With many companies seeking to reduce cost through stream lining, the discussion regarding the safety and effectiveness of the bring your own devices, or BYOD standard has the potential to significantly impact personnel across a wide variety of professions.
This study will begin with an overview of past policy with a focus on productivity, compatibility and security.Expanding on this premise, the next section will turn to modern policy efforts that undertake the effort to increase efficiency while maintaining safety and ethical standards. With a variety of issues plaguing the full scale acceptance of the ‘bring your own device’, or BYOD policy the current environment demonstrates the developing needs of the industry. A combination of the first segments will create an illustration of future potential for both success and failure. An examination of past practice, modern policy and future potential will combine to produce a relevant analysis of the productivity, compatibility and security potential of the BYOD policy.
2. Findings and Analysis
This section will encompass policy and practice that has led to the foundation for the current system.
2.1 Past policy
Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is a description of the practice of allowing employees to bring personally owned mobile electronics into their work place (Gilbert and Gilbert, 2012). As the number and versatility of the mobile commuting world grows, employees were found to be bringing in often superior pieces of equipment than what was supplied by the company. The chief appeal of the BYOD is the capacity to increase and improve collaboration, attract employees, reduce help desk and IT cost and improve the rate of employee satisfaction in the work place (Ibid). This is offset by the opportunity for weakness as each unique device has to find a method to be compatible with the group (Oliver, 2012). The potential for significant data and asset loss to the business is present. In every case there is potential for gain offset by possible risk to the integrity of the existing infrastructures productivity and security.
The mobile device expansion has served to provide a personal element to each profession as technology has advanced, further increasing integration concerns (Shim, Mittleman, Weike, French and Guo, 2013). This critical component has begun to be recognized as pivotal in the effort to recruit the most advanced or qualified technology professional. Catering to any one person’s individual preferences over what may be best for the company only creates the opportunity for conflict (Oliver, 2012). This adherence to preference opens up a new line of questioning as to the effectiveness of the approach. A true advantage of allowing the BYOD provides a well-known tool to the employee, thereby increasing productivity and satisfaction. With the positive impact felt in both equipment and training fees, many companies are trending towards acceptance of the individual standard over the group mentality (Shim et al, 2013). Other firms have chosen the value of security over that of the BYOD program (Oliver, 2012). This is a classic illustration of the division of approach that is the hallmark of modern business.
2.2 Modern practice
Modern business practice has trended in the direction of allowing employees to bring their own devices into the workplace (Hayes, and Kotwica, 2013). The reflection of lower cost has so far, overridden the concerns for security and integration difficulty. However, the on-going ownership of the data that is held on each of the devices is the subject of intense debate (Ibid).With a high presence of ‘perceived threat’ in the technological world, the capacity to ensure data and associated components is a vital concern (Thomson, 2012). The BYOD trend is also diluted by the increased cost of ensuring that the technological core of the business is flexible to adapt to each new addition (Oliver, 2012). Cost benefit is seen on the production and development level as increased satisfaction and training further increases device usability. The IT staffs for incorporating these fixes are an element that will continue to provide a source of revenue drain (Thomson, 2012). Further, the area of security and data base integrity becomes increasingly weakened as new and untried technology is added to the existing system (Hayes et al, 2013). Security measures have begun to be incorporated in the BYOD policy that allow for a more secure platform. Many top modern professionals will refuse to work with anything that is deemed substandard, which in turn harms the company’s capacity to recruit and expand (Thomson, 2012). The consideration of the BYOD policy adds incentive for recruitment potential, which in turn allows for a wider range of additional opportunity.
Emerging low cost implementation plans of the BYOD system include a segmented network (Ullman, 2011). An open network, even on a small scale, or segmented is a continual security threat no matter the precautions taken (Thomson, 2012). In contrast, the capacity to restrict outside access adds to the possibility of easing the current security concerns that swirl around the BYOD practice (Ullman, 2011).This concept has been advanced by the model of two separate networks with specific areas of connection, mirroring the nature of the data contained, which in turn promotes the BYOD trend (Ibid). The presence of a complete network outside of the primary mobile network adds to the ability to ensure security, further enhancing the policy attractiveness (Hayes et al, 2013). In each case the unique situation of the firm in question increases or decreases the security level and the associated difficulty.
Miller (2012) argues that the emerging BYOD policy has the potential to impinge on an employee’s personal privacy. This area of data access and ownership debate is being found more often as the presence of the BYOD preference continues to expand in the modern work place (Miller, 2012). The lack of an inclusive policy holds the risk of alienating an employee and holds the potential to hurt a business on many levels. The modern business must find a means to balance opportunity for cost reduction and employment satisfaction with security and ownership concerns (Harris, Patten and Regan, 2013). Lacking an inclusive and innovative plan in the modern era will be detrimental to the overall revenue production of the company.
2.3 Future Strengths and Weaknesses
An estimated 1.2 billion mobile devices will be purchased by private individuals during the year 2013 (Harris et al, 2013). With each device complete with debateable elements, the increase in use only increases the associated risk. Chief among the new devices is the operating systems such as Android and IOS which present very significant challenges in the quest to maintain data security (Ibid). Emerging devices have begun to utilize a better-rounded platform, installing Windows 7 as well as improving basic security (Miller, 2012). With every new operating system there must be a corresponding addition of security in order to maintain and build on the integrity of professional data (Thomson, 2012). Lacking the additions in order to maintain balance, there is the real threat of weakening the integrity of the business employing a lax BYOD policy.
Studies estimate that the BYOD does aid in the reduction of bottom line technology expenses (Keyes, 2013). There was a corresponding rise in the total of labour involved in the effort to maintain the basic network infrastructure (Thomson, 2012). The rate of service calls needed to rectify any integration issues was found to be reduced by seventy five per cent after three months of operation (Keyes, 2013). The addition of new components requires a consistent review in order to maintain overall network security (Ullman, 2011). Accompanying this continuous review factor must the effort to correctly integrate the new technology into the existing network, which in itself raises additional revenue concerns (Thomson, 2012). Associated with the increase in employee satisfaction, is the continued reduction in the rate of device centred issues as time passes (Keyes, 2013). The presence of the BYOD policy enables management to cater to the individual during the recruitment process, thereby increasing the tools available to provide incentive to prospects. However, the penchant to tailor any program too greatly in order to attract any certain person is a continuous aspect that has the potential to offset the projected revenue gains (Oliver, 2012).
The area of risk management plays a crucial role in determining the overall acceptance and implementation of the BYOD policy (Yang and Yang, 2013). Assessing the legal and liability issues that surround the data, user and business have become a vital component of a company review. Available technology policy must be suited the activity, profession and temperament of the employee in order to experience full production potential (Oliver, 2012).With each introduction of new devices must be an accompanying we considered integration strategy in order to maintain and increase security and production.
Any adoption of new technology has the potential impose liabilities on both the owners and the business (Yang et al, 2013). The question that is debated is the limit of responsibility in the event of a loss or accident while implementing the BYOD system. Evolving policy must consider the full range of potential associated with the device policy beforehand in order to alleviate any issues (Thomson, 2012). Further areas of consideration rests in the application of Controls utilized to limit liabilities associated with the inclusion of new technology (Yang et al, 2013). The balance that must be created lies in the capacity to recognize the user, business and manufacturer responsibilities in such a manner that allows for a full use of the device. Inclusion and integration issues have the potential to derail and create a wide range of issues that the network must deal with in a direct manner (Oliver, 2012).
Security issues including data loss can occur in ways that have not been considered before the evolution of the BYOD trend (Thomson, 2012). Day to day practices including smart phone use and mobile computing offer a continuous source of inroads to the security issues revolving around the policy. Regulators and lawmakers have begun to address the issue as the trend towards accepting the BYOD continues to accelerate (Yang et al, 2013). The creation of new laws and regulations has the potential to shift the cost and integration factors in a manner that may cause an increase in the level of difficulty of implementation (Oliver, 2102). This will be an area of both strength and weakness as each application must consider unique conditions prior to the adoption of any long term policy.
The area of employee perception is a considerable area of potential weakness (Yang et al, 2013). With the BYOD policy, employees commonly associate the data on the device as their personal property, which in times of stress can lead to a considerable block to production. Employers in some cases have over compensated in the area of technology in order to maintain the illusion of attractiveness in the employment arena (Bennett and Tucker, 2012). This effort to include the best working environment can lead to complex office that is not as efficient as the associated potential allows.
The practice of businesses allowing employees to bring their own mobile devices to work, or BYOD is only continuing to build in strength as more companies around the globe begin to adopt the practice. Beginning with a modest influx of devices, the continuous capacity for technology to improve has given companies a new recruiting tool as well as a means to reduce cost. The positive aspects are offset by security, ownership and developing policy issues.
Security has a leading position in the detriments to the BYOD policy. Each addition of outside mobile devices only increases the likelihood of data loss, or breach of the network. Critical information that is stored on a private device also faces questions of ownership, which have the potential to slow any project in development. Contributing to each of the conditions is the still unknown actions of international legislatures in their quest to imprint the system with their own nation’s needs.
The continuing trend of BYOD acceptance has made the security, ownership and future potential critical areas of consideration for a wide range of companies across the globe. With the positive elements resting in the area of employee satisfaction and cost reduction, the negative areas of security, ownership and integration have continued to provide a foundation for continued debate. In the end, it will be the combination of employee potential and business concerns that come together to provide a workable infrastructure for the unrelenting march of technological progress.
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