Ever since smartphones and laptops became prevalent in the workplace, and employees started bringing these devices with them to work, a paradigm shifted in the workplace. Flexibility in the workplace spurred a practice that, essentially, has been around since technology really started to become mobile and commonplace. The concept of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) has become prevalent in many workplaces. BYOD allows employees to use their own devices for work purposes, a practice that has been popular amongst freelancers, start-ups, and those with limited office space and budgets. Using personal devices also saves companies enormous amounts of space and infrastructure costs.
Workers can bring laptops, for instance, with Microsoft Office loaded onto them to work. Then, they use these laptops for a wide range of productivity tasks, like PowerPoint presentations, which they end up bringing to corporate events and presentations.
How do Employers Respond to the BYOD Trend?
For employers and managers, allowing employees to work from their own devices makes a lot of sense. As workers work on smaller devices that they have often paid for out of their own pockets, companies save enormous amounts of space and infrastructure costs
Covid also put strain on companies that weren’t prepared for having employees work from home. This increased reliance on personal computers, tablets, phones or other devices and companies had to rethink their BYOD policies.
According to a report from the International Law Office, “BYOD presents several opportunities. The most obvious is the cost saving on capital investment in hardware.”
In addition to saving companies cost with up-front hardware per new hire, BYOD prevents many recurring costs of renewing and updating existing hardware since this is often done automatically with their own hardware or, as we will demonstrate below, the use of virtual machines.
How BYOD and Cloud Computing Go Hand-In-Hand
The BYOD trend can, in many ways, be compared to cloud computing. Public cloud computing services, like Amazon Web Services, offer infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) to users. Using IaaS saves companies costs and training time that would be required in setting up their own storage facilities and having IT personnel maintain them.
Virtualization and cloud computing have become commonplace, employees today don’t even have to see a single server at their workplace, or have to sit in front of hardware from which their company originates. The cloud’s “virtual machines” can be accessed from a variety of mobile devices.
According to Zdnet, “Public cloud Infrastructure as a Service refers to a virtual machine, storage and network which are presented in a cookie-cutter fashion to allow for on demand or self-service utility. The reason that it is called public is that your virtual machine will be collocated with lots of other virtual machines.”
You have to keep in mind that computers aren’t the only thing that companies need to run their businesses. As Zdnet pointed out, infrastructure also refers to networking hardware, like routers. Storage is another aspect that IaaS services house remotely. This benefits companies because storing information requires servers and facilities to house the servers.
How Virtualization of Machines Related to the BYOD Trend
IaaS and the BYOD trend go hand-in-hand when it comes to today’s workplace for many companies. Employees can use tablets with only 16 GB of data to run complex applications and store the information remotely. An operating system can be set up remotely from virtual machines while an employee sits in front of his or her laptop and accesses it along with other content. In this sense, the BYOD trend increases practicality and productivity by allowing employees to choose which device helps them feel the most comfortable working with and accessing the remote infrastructure.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) services, like Google Docs, offer users across devices the ability to get work done and share it through collaboration with others. This component of the BYOD trend enables collaboration through applications like Google Docs or TrackVia which are not tied to a single computer.
Despite Cost Benefits for Companies, IT Costs May Go Up As a Result of BYOD
Although, there are numerous cost-benefits related to employees bringing their own hardware to work, there are also some obvious downsides. Primarily, since there are so many gadgets, smartphones and mobile devices on the market, employers have to deal with this inconsistency and fragmentation. There are Android devices, iOS devices, Google devices and more, and they all come in a wide range of form factors. This sort of fragmentation sometimes results in software being incompatible with one device or another. Because of this, companies need to invest in regulations and possibly license software for operating systems and devices outside the company’s main choice.
This sort of device management can lead to inevitable mounting costs as companies invest in more staff and protocol to handle mobile management software and security. According to a report from Turbotek, this cost increases companies’ IT costs as a whole in stifled productivity and security concerns. As they explained:
“Low startup costs allure companies to opt for BYOD, when really it is nearly as expensive as an Employee Provided Device (EPD) policy. What organizations do not always consider are subsequent expenses: management, software, and stipends. In fact, a 2018 Oxford Economics-Samsung study found that when accounting for these secondary costs, organizations with 10,000 employees saw only a 7% cost saving using BYOD as compared to EPD. However, an Aberdeen Group study was less optimistic and estimated BYOD cost organizations 33% more than EPD. “Turbotek
This discrepancy between current relationships between IT and individual technological solutions is one that isn’t going to disappear. As a result, mobile device management (MDM) is starting to be used by more companies as a way for companies to control and manage the BYOD trend. It is required for security, stability and software compatibility of devices to be up to the company standards.
The BYOD Trend Will Not Totally Replace the Need for Companies to Provide Infrastructure
BYOD aside, employees will still often need to rely on company infrastructure and software to get work done. Companies have the corporate budgets that enable employees to buy software and machines to run them, which are often far more powerful than their own mobile devices. There are also operational system inconsistencies that employees and companies may run into as they begin bringing their own devices to work (for instance, the company may rely on Windows while the employee only has Mac laptops and software at home).
BYOD is Here to Stay
There are both upsides and downsides to the BYOD trend. From an employee’s perspective, bringing their own devices to work allows for freedom and flexibility. They may believe that they’re more productive on a certain device, like a tablet, compared to a desktop PC. Further, they may enjoy working on a particular operating system more than the one company computers have already installed.
From an employer’s standpoint, BYOD saves costs related to housing hardware, updating computers, and allows employees to even work while away from the desk. However, it also may increase IT costs and the need for secure management to make sure data isn’t compromised or leaked. One thing is for sure, BYOD, as cloud computing, is here to stay and will continue to be a growing trend amongst a wide range of companies.
If you’re looking for ways to make work easier for your employees and your BYOD policy, why not try out TrackVia?