Why We Should Embrace Bring Your Own Device Day

By Koh Wanzi

While an obscure acronym at first glance, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Day is a growing trend in 21st century workplaces where workers are encouraged to use their own devices—be it their phone, tablet, or personal computer – at work.

In fact, a 2013 TechInsights Report found that 39 per cent of businesses in Singapore listed BYOD as the top priority in their list of enterprise mobility initiatives. Enterprise mobility refers to a shift in business practices where employees increasingly work outside the office but are also required to access secure corporate data.

The shift to mobile only makes BYOD make even more sense as tablets and other mobile devices continue on track to outsell personal computers. As consumers and employees grow increasingly attached to their personal mobile devices, the calls to be able to use one’s personal devices at work will only get louder.

Slow, Clunky and Superfluous
Although many companies still provide their employees with laptops and even secure phones, the ubiquity of technology is such that almost all employees have their own personal devices as well. In fact, workers may even resent company devices which may appear superfluous, redundant, and lower-performing in comparison.

Many company IT departments have also struggled to keep up with the release of newer and faster devices every year. This has possibly resulted in a decrease in productivity at the workplace as employees are more comfortable with what is, in all likelihood, their better device at home.

Security versus Productivity
Company devices are meant to be secure and provide clear accountability, but if employees insist on utilising their own devices, it is imperative for employers to embrace this growing trend and develop new policies and regulation to secure their employees’ devices, instead of actively opposing such an initiative.

Furthermore, with the advent of wearable technology such as smart watches, technology only looks to get even more personal. In a global and knowledge-orientated economy such as Singapore, refusing to embrace the idea of BYOD would mean standing against an inevitable wave of powerful personal phones, tablets and laptops.

With a BYOD Day, employees can both enjoy increased productivity and satisfaction as they are able to work on the device they are most comfortable with. These benefits will also be passed on to employers in the form of potential cost savings with the elimination of the need to provide additional devices, software licensing and maintenance.

Jump On or Get Left Behind
In broad terms, BYOD is arguably a symptom of the increasing encroachment of personal technology into the spaces of daily life and the workplace is clearly no exception. BYOD brings with it certain security risks, but these can be mitigated with proper implementation of anti-malware software, encryption, passcodes, remote wipe and prohibitions on jailbreaking.

A 2013 Gartner report notes a few top players in the mobile-device-management (MDM) field that offers enterprise solutions for companies looking to implement BYOD. These include companies such as AirWatch, MobileIron and Citrix. With a plurality of ready solutions to help companies deal with the attendant security risks, switching to BYOD does not have to be accompanied by huge security compromises.

At the end of the day, resisting the BYOD movement would simply mean having to play catch up in terms of implementing proper solutions and regulatory policies when the wave finally becomes irresistible, and forcing company devices on workers would be like insisting on a company uniform – and nobody wants that!

Do you Bring Your Own Device to work? Share with us in the comment box below!

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