BYOD vs. Company Owned: How To Choose A Device Policy

Considering the current stress on the supply chain of laptops and devices, there has never been a better time to re-evaluate a company’s policy on devices. The two options that most will consider are “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) or providing a standardized device that is paid for by the company.

Mobile device use is only becoming more prevalent in business, so the mobile use policy that a company chooses can have a big impact on their bottom line. According to Frost & Sullivan, use of smartphones for work boosts productivity by 34% due to the flexibility they offer. Deciding between issuing company-owned devices or having employees use their own personal phones can be a difficult one. While nearly 70% of companies currently use a BYOD policy, cybersecurity is a major concern, especially as more of the workload has been moving from PC to mobile. There are pros and cons of each option that businesses should consider.

Pros Cons of Company-Owned Devices vs BYOD

One reason that many businesses in Rhode Island and the rest of the country may be choosing now to revisit their mobile use policy is because mobile device percentage of workload has increased dramatically. According to Microsoft, mobile devices now make up 60% of the endpoints in an average company and they do approximately 80% of the workload. Here are some of the factors that you should consider when revisiting your mobile device policy.

Productivity

One of the benefits of a BYOD policy is that there is no learning curve for the employee. They already know their personal device, which can mean higher productivity. A company-owned device may have a different operating system than an employee is used to using. Also, just the fact that they have to switch back and forth between a personal and work device can be a drag on productivity.

Security

As of the end of 2019, it’s estimated that approximately 48% of iOS devices were over 4 versions behind the current OS, and 58% of Android devices were over 2 versions behind. Not having devices updated properly can leave them at risk of a security breach. The security issue is a big one for BYOD because companies have less control over the device, what other apps are on the device, and who may have access to it besides the employee. Companies have much more control over the security devices that they own. For example, they can make updates themselves and can lock out other apps that might be considered “risky” from being added to the device. They can also ensure that a device too old to be updated is not being used for work access. One way that companies can get more control over the security of personal employee devices is to use an endpoint device manager, such as Microsoft Intune, which allows automatic updating and more control over the “work side” of a personal mobile device.

Cost

Cost is one of the main reasons that companies use a BYOD policy instead of purchasing company devices. BYOD saves companies approximately $350 per year per employee. With company-owned devices, there are generally higher administrative costs because devices have to be issued, replaced if broken, etc. There are also the costs of purchasing the devices themselves and the mobile wireless plan. Even though companies will usually give a stipend to an employee who uses their personal device for work, which averages $36 per month, the cost of issuing company devices is typically much higher than BYOD.

Efficiency

How well a device operates will impact how efficiently an employee can do their work. In this case, it’s a tossup between BYOD and company-owned devices, because it depends upon the age of the device and how well it’s taken care of. If companies are reluctant to upgrade devices too often due to cost, then they can end up being less efficient than a personal employee device which may be a later model. The opposite can also be true if companies keep their devices updated, but employees do not, and are using an older personal smartphone. According to an Intel study of tech savvy workers, 50% of over 30-year old workers and 61% of Gen Y said the technology tools they use in their personal life are more efficient and productive than those used in their work life.

Control of Data/Backups

Mobile devices can now hold quite a bit of data, which means your company files may be stored on employee devices if you use BYOD but might not be backed up. Companies have less control over data backups on employee-owned devices than they do on company devices in many cases. This is another issue that can potentially be solved by using endpoint device management or managed backup to facilitate the backup of any work-related apps and data on employee devices.

Get Help for Your Mobile Device Management

Mobile devices are now a big part of any company’s IT infrastructure, and they need to be protected and properly managed. Get the help you need with mobile device security and management from Onsite Techs of Rhode Island. Contact us today to set up a consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.