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Tablet computers and mobile devices are now the computing machines of choice for most people but what do SME’s need to consider before letting employees use their own computers at work? In this article, Prism outlines the benefits and pitfalls of a ‘Bring Your Own Devices’ (BYOD) policy in the workplace.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) work regimens can act as a boon for employers: more flexible hours, reduced office overheads and greater productivity. SME’s are far more flexible than huge corporations and can instigate changes and improvements in their methods of working far quicker. The way we all do business in the future will inevitably affect carbon emissions and BYOD and the Cloud has a massive part to play.
Digital conferencing techniques, more flexible working and less commuting and face-to-face meetings will all impact on emissions. Incidentally, the business transition to tablets and Cloud computing is also leading to a mountain of unwanted machines that could go on to another useful working life in social enterprises or deprived areas of society but that is a topic for another feature.
Cutting emissions and more flexible working are obviously good aspects of BYOD working but here are so many considerations to be made before an SME embarks down this route.
Cloud based applications
One problem is that many Managed Service Providers seem to be fixated grabbing as much new business as possible and recommending Cloud migration and BYOD working without considering each individual client’s needs. By using Cloud based applications and BYODs employees can work anywhere, anytime.
There have been several studies demonstrating that employees using BYOD’s are more likely to work at unsociable and out of office hours: hence an employer can benefit from an increase in productivity.
Security and software licencing
But there are important issues to be considered with security, performance and control that can cost business dearly if they are not dealt with early on. In addition, there can be problems with the compatibility of operating systems. Home operating systems can cause connectivity issues in business environments.
Software licensing can also be an issue. Most personal computing devices will have home use software which isn’t compatible legally and is not meant for use in a corporate environment.
Even if business applications are loaded most individuals won’t only have business software on their personal device. Inevitably they will also have entertainment applications like iTunes, Games, Peer 2 Peer software or Facebook. These can all cause issues, slow machines down, and potentially introduce viruses which can be costly in terms of business downtime.
Warranties on home machines are not ‘man enough’ for business use. It is no use to an employer if an employee is compromised by his tablet being returned to the manufacturer for a month. Also, warranties on personal devices can be invalidated if the supplier discovers that the machine has been used for business purposes.
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