BYOD programs carry benefits, risks

For any proprietor of a small business, saving costs is a primary concern. Anything that you can do to strengthen the bottom line is going to help your company become more sustainable. One method for doing this is allowing workers to use personal phones and computers for work tasks, a process known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

This can save serious costs, since it means that each new employee doesn't have to be provided with a brand new phone and computer. Plus, theoretically, they already have a firm grasp on how to use their personal devices, cutting down on the time and resources required for training as well.

Despite these potential savings, there are pitfalls to look out for, especially when it comes to network security. If you give each employee the smartphone or laptop they're using, you retain a much greater measure of control over it use. You can institute firewalls, or require that they leave it in the office when it isn't being used for work purposes. In this way, you can rest assured that the data on it is secure, and that it is only being used to access approved networks.

This is not the case with a BYOD program. Employees are much more likely to do unsafe things with personal devices, and the odds of loss are significantly higher. With BYOD, this isn't just bad for the employee - it could be an issue for the entire organization.

Whichever direction you ultimately choose, it's important to have somebody by your side to walk you through the options and help you avoid pitfalls. A virtual IT department can provide that guidance, giving you all the pros and cons needed to make the right choice for your organization.

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