BYOD, which stands for Bring Your Own Device, is a term that has been doing the rounds in the corporate world. From start-ups to large corporations, a wide range of businesses are being attracted to the concept, while a number of firms have already adopted it. According to a study by global market research firm MarketsandMarkets, the BYOD market is expected to grow from $71.93 billion in 2013 to $266.17 billion in 2019.
But what does it mean? In the most basic sense, BYOD allows employees to use their personal devices for their work operations, instead of using devices provided by their employers. The potential cost-saving opportunity that the concept represents has its appeal for employers. For instance, if you run a business, it can help you cut down on hardware costs as you won't need to provide devices – such as smartphones, tablets and in some cases, even laptops – to your employees. At the same time, it empowers employees with the choice to work on their preferred devices.
Often the spotlight is on how businesses can benefit by implementing BYOD, but another important aspect is how it can also make employees' lives easier. As a working professional, it can be a hassle carrying two phones around everywhere if your employer has given you a separate phone for work purposes. At times, that also means carrying two sets of chargers if you need to simultaneously charge both personal and work devices. In a busy routine, travelling light can be a much-needed relief. With BYOD, you only need to carry one device along with you, which can cater to all your needs.
With innovative solutions in the market, that can be made even more seamless.
Samsung KNOX, for instance, allows you to set separate personal and professional password-protected modes on your smartphone or tablet to easily compartmentalise your life. You can create a secure environment on your smartphone, complete with its own home screen, launcher, apps and widgets for your work-related activities. Emails, confidential data and other information stored in the professional mode won't be accessible in the personal mode, so you don't have to worry when your child borrows your phone to play games on your personal profile.
Another view around BYOD is that it has the potential to make you more productive as an employee. If you're working on a device that you are familiar or comfortable with, the process is likely to be more smooth and you might be able to perform tasks more quickly. A Cisco study that canvassed 2,400 mobile users across six countries found that the average BYOD user saves approximately 37 minutes per week because of using his or her own device. This can be understandable when you compare it to using an unfamiliar device provided by your employer. On your personal device, you can type with the swiftness of a ninja and instantly switch applications. You get the speed you require to perform urgent work-related tasks. You can also avoid the time it takes to get acclimatised to a new device. So BYOD clearly has its merit.
But as with any form of technology, there are certain reservations preventing companies from adopting BYOD. One of them is security concerns. As the device can be used for both personal and business reasons, and in both protected and unprotected environments, employers feel that sensitive enterprise data faces the risk of exposure, leakage or a breach. However, this is being tackled by growing security technologies.
For example, the Samsung KNOX dedicated security solution provides around-the-clock security against hackers and malware, enforced by regular updates. It protects the integrity of the entire device, from the hardware to the application layer, with a multi-level approach to security that includes Trusted Boot and TrustZone-based Integrity Measurement Architecture (TIMA). Many other security solutions in the market protect the data and application only at the software level or application layer level. But KNOX solutions are also tightly integrated with the hardware. Samsung has taken Google Android and added multiple layers of hardware secure platform, so you can ensure the safety of your data.
The separation between the personal and professional modes also ensures there is no overlap. Even if the employees' personal devices are lost or they fall in the wrong hands, the enterprise data will remain secure in the password-protected professional mode. The employees can also remotely find or lock their lost devices to ensure data security.
At an organisational level, employers can take precautions by implementing proper BYOD policies that set protocols for such circumstances, aside from having general companywide BYOD policies in place when adopting the solution to ensure the safety of enterprise data.
At the end of the day, BYOD has its pros and cons for both employers and individuals. Adoption will depend on companies' specific requirements and priorities. The advancement of security solutions can also help employers assess the feasibility of jumping on the BYOD bandwagon and play a role in fueling the trend of BYOD.