If you work in almost any industry, the chances are you’ve noticed it: mobile devices and employee mobility are making an impact. But there’s one aspect of their ubiquity that’s causing quite a debate. And that’s whether employers should be asking their employees to host work apps on their personal mobile devices.
As businesses strive for increased flexibility and productivity, many are exploring mobile options. This particular question of employees using their own devices for work purposes comes with some exciting benefits, but also some concerning risks.
The Benefits of Employees Using Their Own Mobile Devices
Let’s get the most obvious thing you should be aware of out of the way immediately. Your employees are already using their personal devices at work. Whether you like it or not, that’s the reality.
But why not make that into a positive thing? Allowing your employees to use their preferred devices can contribute to increased work satisfaction. That’s an important part of building a positive work environment. And the increased flexibility you’ll offer will likely be seen as a perk.
But what about some of the other advantages of employees hosting work apps on their personal devices?
There’s one compelling reason to encourage your teams to use work apps on their personal devices. The savings involved can’t be denied. Having your employees use personal devices for work purposes can be a real cost-saver.
If your employees are using their personal mobile devices, you no longer need to worry about providing them. This reduces upfront hardware expenses, device management costs, and ongoing technology maintenance.
Familiarity and Convenience
Of course, the fact you’re encouraging your teams to use their own devices for work means they’ll be able to adapt to changes more quickly. They’re familiar with their own devices and the relevant OS where they might not be familiar with a device you provide. And you can’t deny the convenience to your employees not having to deal with two different devices.
Mobile Device or Mobile Risk?
But it isn’t all rosy. There are some concerns you need to consider when thinking about employee mobility. Encouraging your employees to host work apps on their personal devices can leave you open to some risks.
Allowing your employees to use their personal devices for work opens you up to potential security vulnerabilities. Whether its malicious apps, accessing unsecured networks, or exposing sensitive data, this is a serious risk.
Protecting corporate data becomes more challenging when your employees are using devices outside the organization’s control. You will need to work to educate the company on digital security and best practices.
Compliance and Legal Risks
Many industries have strict regulatory requirements, and the use of personal devices may raise compliance and legal concerns. You will need to uphold data, privacy, and other regulatory obligations, regardless of the devices your teams are using.
On a similar point, having your employees use work apps on their devices can blur the lines between personal and work-related data. This is especially important to keep in mind when an employee leaves your organization. In that case, data ownership, retrieval, and separation can throw up complex issues.
Of course, having your employees using their personal mobile devices for work means supporting a diverse range of technology. This can be challenging for IT departments. Ensuring compatibility with various operating systems, versions, and hardware configurations can be time-consuming.
Make sure your IT team has the resources they’ll need to provide the support your employees will need. And keep in mind that that range of operating systems, versions, and hardware will need to be accounted for in any future software upgrades.
Bringing Personal Mobile Devices into the Workplace
Encouraging your employees to use work apps on their personal devices isn’t something you can just get started on. The risks that come with the benefits mean you need to plan the process and make sure you have the right resources to make it work.
You will need robust security measures and clear policies in place before you start encouraging your employees to get downloading. Measures you should be thinking about include encryption, multi-factor authentication, and remote data-wiping.
You will also need to plan to educate your employees about their responsibilities to help maintain data security. Ensuring everyone from employees to management are aware of and compliant with data regulations is also vital.
Encouraging your employees to use their personal devices for work can drastically increase their flexibility. But you will also need to be prepared to be flexible. Some of your team will likely not want to use their personal devices. You have to be ready to accommodate those people—doing so will likely help team morale.
Getting it Right
As you can see, the benefits to implementing a Bring Your Own Device policy come with important risks. It isn’t as easy as deciding to get going—you’ll need to implement a change management process to ensure success.
If you’re interested in encouraging your employees to use their personal devices for work, it’s time to talk to Axsium. With expertise in employee mobility and change management, our people have the skills to help you make it a success.