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BYOD – Using gadgets at workplace

Handling a large business is a complex process that’s evolving as we speak due to the rapid development of technology. Certainly, the Internet has irreversibly changed the way that we do business in different types of industry, and the mobile devices that we use day by day will become a new catalyst to this change. Let’s not forget that we’ll probably have 2 billion active smartphones by the end of 2015 and 6 billions by the end 2020.

The trend of employees bringing their own devices to the office is considered by most companies as a threat to their business, because sensitive information could be leaked through these devices. Smartphones and tablets are used by an increasing number of employees who access the network and corporate data. However, the percentage of companies that create programs and take steps to minimize the security risks is relatively low.

BYOD or Bring Your Own Device is an internal policy defined by a company that agrees with employees bringing their own mobile devices to work. These mobile devices could be laptops, smartphones, tablets, PDA, etc., and the employee can use them to access company’s resources as email, file servers, internal apps, databases and other confidential data. Most studies surrounding this topic show that we have reached a technological maturity that implies using various types of mobile devices in major business activities. While the BYOD term was first used in a paper back in 2005, it was not until 2009 that Intel acknowledged it. Later on, analysts determined that these devices can also help companies to increase their efficiency and productivity.

While BYOD could be a relief for many employees, it represents a real challenge for the companies. According to an Intel study, the primary concern for the IT departments is to ensure the security of personal terminals that are used everyday in the corporate world. Companies are able to monitor the gadgets provided by themselves, but in the case of BOYD the situation is tricky. According to to Dell, 50% of the customer having a BOYD policy have had various security problems in the past. Now, the same company provides innovative solutions with its BYOD mobility program that is equally attractive for the company and also for the employee: Venue tablets, Latitude laptops and Ultrabooks, XPS laptops.

Even if BYOD mainly implies smartphones, more and more users bring tablets and ‘wearables’ to their workplace. The latter is popularly known by the name WYOD (Wear Your Own Device) and I think of it to be “the next big thing” in a decade or so. Ken Kaplan wrote that 135 million smart wearables are expected to be shipped by the end of 2018 and other studies say that their number will reach 300 million by the same year. Customers love these wearable devices since they are considered even more personal than conventional gadgets.

Medium and large companies should start to analyze this new trend and they need to be prepared in case it becomes a mass phenomenon. Business owners must find a balance between the benefits and risks of “Bring Your Own Device” policies and they really need to take a stand in this regard. BYOD is a double edged sword that could elevate or it could bring down a business.

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