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As the lines between work and personal life blur, some professionals have been using their personal devices for work, and companies should allow this. Allowing employees to use their own devices for work is known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and has both positive and negative benefits. It’s a moot issue for many companies so if you’re considering adopting it in your business, there are some important steps you need to take.
Here are four steps you should take to enact a successful Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) plan in your office.
Step 1: learn the tools
There are a large number of operating systems in use, and while some employees use Macs, others prefer Windows or another OS. This can pose a problem for managers and IT services as it can be a costly chore to manage and deploy software and work across platforms, not to mention incompatibility of programs. To solve this issue, many companies use virtualization, or more specifically hosted virtual desktops and locally deployed and managed desktops that provide a set platform that can be accessed regardless of the system used by employees.
Hosted virtual desktops are desktops that are hosted by another company and accessed by employees via the Internet. These are also called Desktop as a Service (DaaS), and differ from locally deployed and managed desktops as the company doesn’t need the servers and infrastructure to deploy the solution. There are pros and cons to each, and before you decide which to use, it pays to research them to see how they meet your needs.
Step 2: understand your employees
Each employee is different, with some working better when away from the office while others are more productive during off-peak hours. Throw in the fact that employees all have their preference in the technology they use, a differing knowledge level and requirement of technology, and you have a lot you need to consider when developing a plan.
It’s worth taking the time to understand your employees and their needs, as it may turn out that BYOD may not work for some staff members. You should find out which workers are willing to buy their own technology, can work with a locked desktop, or work away from their desk more, and who might pose a security risk and would reduce productivity under a BYOD plan.
Step 3: Research alternatives
Be sure to look at other solutions, maybe some employees are asking to bring their own computers to work because they prefer to work on another OS. The best way to find out is to ask your employees what they think of a BYOD policy and why they want it. If you have employees with experience in other industries maybe they have other ideas on ways you can implement a workable system.
You can also contact managed service providers and companies like us. We may have another option for you that you haven’t explored yet. Whatever you do, it’s important to weigh up all your alternatives first.
Step 4: Start small
When you do decide on a plan, you need to ensure that all staff are onboard and that the systems work. Many companies start with a soft launch, letting staff who are the most comfortable with BYOD trial it first. From their experiences you can then modify and expand the plan to other staff or departments.
What matters most is that with a BYOD plan, you provide a clear separation between an employee’s personal and work environments on their device, hence a virtual desktop. With this, you will be able to control the work related environment as you normally would, and employees can keep their personal environment secure. If you’d like to learn more about BYOD or virtual desktops, please contact us.
Published on 20th August 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.