As mobile technology proliferates and employees increasingly work remotely, the trend of Bring Your Own Device or BYOD has become vogue. Essentially, the idea is that employees can use their personal devices – smartphones, laptops, tablets – for work-related purposes. Small business can benefit from a move to a BYOD platform by saving digital space, increasing employee satisfaction and making it easier to work remotely. Though there are some drawbacks, and it is important to use the right framework, BYOD might be just the boost a small business needs.

According to Biz Tech Magazine, BYOD initially put stress on networks, leading to frustrated IT employees. Recently, however, that issue has diminished.

"Now, with the availability of hosted software and easy-to-implement mobile solutions, [small business] IT managers feel much more comfortable allowing personal devices access to internal IT resources," Chris Chute, IDC Research Director, told Biz Tech.

Employees more comfortable
The Chicago Tribune reported that employees are more accustomed to using their own devices, and, therefore are more productive at work. Many offices opt for a single provider for computers and devices, while their employees have a wide variety of preferences. Additionally, workers will not have to learn how to use a new product, a nuisance that cuts into productivity. Not only that, but remote working will be smoother and more integrated if the device an employee uses is the same as in the office.

Money- and space-saving advantages
Small businesses that employ BYOD could have fewer issues with space on their networks and less overhead costs of maintaining their own equipment. At first, networks slowed with the onslaught of new devices, and IT managers became frustrated, according to Biz Tech. But many have deployed mobile device management programs that allow the easy consolidation and oversight of apps, operating systems and data.

Companies have also enjoyed relief from updating their own equipment and paying for their own data. Because Internet and mobile technology moves so quickly, keeping up to date with the latest and greatest technology can be a headache. However, that may soon change, as a California court ruled in August that businesses must reimburse employees who use personal devices for work purposes, reported Computer World. Still, the company will benefit, and a few extra dollars to its employees is a small price to pay.

"The California ruling will sidetrack BYOD for some companies, but it shouldn't," David Johnson, an analyst at Forrester Research, told Computer World. He affirmed that BYOD "will remain legitimate and relevant … [it] is too much a workforce enabler for momentum to stop."

Establish a system
Because BYOD can potentially be difficult to integrate, small businesses should take measures to gradually introduce the system. Make sure the IT department is prepared, that mobile device management platforms are in place and that employees understand the process. Take extra steps to create a reliable and secure network, as the plethora of devices will expose any weaknesses in your mobile security that may have been harmless before.

It may also be wise to begin with a trial program of a small group of employees using BYOD. Track their success, have them fill out surveys periodically, identify weaknesses and strength and modify as needed. Then, you can put a fully-capable BYOD system in place for the entire staff with confidence that it will get the job done.

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