Is A BYOD Policy Right For Your Startup?

The acronym BYOD may invoke memories of summertime BBQ invites that promise a night of grilled burgers and hot dogs as long as you bring your own beer. But the ‘D’ in BYOD doesn’t stand for drinks. Banish thoughts of social get-togethers and imagine the workplace. BYOD, standing for Bring Your Own Device, is a growing policy in many offices across the world. It’s an especially popular practice for fintech startups that don’t have the budget to sink into company hardware. But with just as many downsides as advantages, it’s not always the perfect choice for every startup. Let’s examine both sides of the argument to see if it’s right for yours.

According to a recent Gartner poll, nearly half of all employers in the US planned to introduce BYOD policies in 2017. In other words, they won’t supply their employees with computers or phones; these workers will have to choose and purchase their own.

As an employer, this comes with obvious financial benefits. Once BYOD policies are in place, tech is the responsibility of the employee. This is mutually advantageous for the employee. Though they have to pay for their own tech, they get to choose the tools they use. Their devices also often share professional and personal duties. Meanwhile, you can invest what you would otherwise spend on company hardware into other areas of the business.

Now that hardware is no longer under your business’ purview, you may have to field questions from your employees about how they can finance such an investment on their own. If they opt for the latest, greatest model they (and their savings) may be unprepared should other purchases, bills, or repairs come their way. If they’re a little short on their budget thanks to their new tech, recommend going online to find a quick and easy cash loan. Online direct lenders like MoneyKey remove the complexity of the typical borrowing experience, so their customers can secure an advance faster and with less hassle than with traditional lenders. In some cases, they issue assistance within one business day, making them ideal for when employees need to make a quick update to another device that acts as a personal and professional gadget.

There’s another, less obvious reason why BYOD programs are growing within startups. Individuals have strong loyalties to brands and models. When forced to work on something they don’t like or aren’t used to, it can limit their creativity and reduce their motivation. Think of all the Mac loyalists forced to navigate a Windows OS. They’re often heard complaining about the differences. Recent studies show employees are more productive when they get to choose the device and OS they spend their working day using. Not only are they more familiar with its OS — reducing time wasted learning a new interface —  they also genuinely enjoy the device they choose personally.

It also mobilizes the workforce, as people choose mobile laptops and handsets that allow them to do work from anywhere they can get a connection. This flexibility can increase job satisfaction, as workers can choose when and where they carry out tasks.

While BYOD policies promise a happier, more efficient worker for less money, there is a downside to introducing this program to your startup. As satisfaction levels rise, so does the risk of a security breach. Mobile devices aren’t bound by an office. They function as your employee’s personal and professional gadgets, so they’ll be taking them to public places, like coffee shops, cinemas, and buses. It’s far too easy for these employees to leave their devices behind, potentially exposing confidential company intellectual property and financial information.

Now it’s time for you to weigh the pros and cons of introducing your BYOD program. If you do choose to adopt BYOD, you need to create the appropriate security measures to protect your startup and your employees. Your security policies should include mandatory data encryption and start-up passwords on all devices. This will protect important information even when your employee loses his or her phone. You should also consider mobile device management (MDM) software, so you can standardize and protect data on your employee’s tech.

Though it’s not for every business, BYOD programs are growing in popularity across industries. If you’re ready to make the switch, make sure you develop a comprehensive BYOD security policy that underscores the privilege and importance of mobile tech.