There’s no better way to make a splash in the technology industry than by mastering the latest tech trends. So as you prepare to enter the workforce, you’ll benefit by investing your time in discovering what’s hot in the field.
One acronym that is creating quite a buzz lately is BYOD. It stands for “bring your own device” and it’s taking the corporate world by storm.
In fact, 76 percent of companies with 2,000 or more employees supported BYOD in 2012, according to Good Technology’s State of BYOD Report. That number is projected to reach 88 percent by the end of 2013.
So as you work towards earning your degree in technology, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to learn the specifics of this hot new tech trend.
What Does BYOD Mean?
BYOD has evolved as a result of a larger revolution, known as the consumerization of IT. This refers to technology that has been designed specifically for personal use making its way into the workplace.
In 2011, before most BYOD policies were created, 70 percent of employees admitted to accessing corporate data on their personal devices. This study suggested that people were bound to use these devices no matter what, so employers were better off allowing it and implementing the proper security measures to avoid bigger problems.
That is why the term BYOD was born. The policy allows employees to use personal laptops, smart phones or tablets for business purposes in the workplace or at home. Devices can be used for sending company emails, storing corporate data, analyzing information or even designing and sharing business presentations.
Benefits of BYOD
Advantages for Employers
One of the most enticing arguments for employers to embrace BYOD is cost reduction. By allowing employees to use their own gadgets, employers avoid purchasing the devices and save themselves the headaches of any associated contracts.
Another favorable factor is the increase in employee satisfaction. Users tend to be more comfortable operating their own devices, according to Jason Silberman, a training specialist at the technology company WalkMe. In his experience, familiarity leads to better performance.
This flexibility also allows employees to have constant access to information, permitting them to perform their work whenever and wherever. This luxury often leads to employees becoming more prone to working outside of normal work hours, answering urgent emails and tending to requests more promptly.
Advantages for Employees
Individuals have their own opinions about which device they prefer using. Some say Macs are more visually appealing; others think PCs are more intuitive. Either way, the biggest benefit to employees is the freedom to choose which technology to use.
Another advantage is the ability to use personal applications (apps) to assist employees in their work. As you know, there’s an app for just about anything these days, including many that are specifically designed to help increase productivity.
These apps help users with everything from organization and workflow, to managing expense reports and analyzing data. Having access to these tools alongside corporate data makes the device more conducive to achieving tasks in a timely fashion.
Risks of BYOD
Problems for Employers
It goes without saying that the single biggest risk involved with BYOD is the potential threat to corporate security. BYOD involves surrendering some control over the devices accessing corporate data, networks and resources, says Swarna Podila, senior manager of Enterprise Mobility Group at Symantec.
“There are always concerns when relinquishing any amount of control,” says Podila.
Imagine how many times your phone has been lost or stolen. All of your personal information could have easily ended up in the hands of a stranger. Now imagine the same scenario … only this time it involves confidential corporate information and software you’ve paid to license.
And what happens when an employee parts ways with the company? Any sensitive information he or she was able to access walks out the door with them. These are all important questions companies are faced with when considering whether or not to jump on the BYOD bandwagon.
The other major disadvantage employers face is troubleshooting these devices, says Phil Brandt, president and CEO of AAIM Employers Association. IT professionals are not always up to speed on each and every device. This can lead to turmoil, Brandt says, when employees expect an organization’s IT department to fix, debug or install new software on their devices.
Problems for Employees
Using personal devices has its drawbacks for employees as well. While the use of personal apps can be productive, it can easily become a distraction as well. With videos, games and social networks all readily accessible, it can be very enticing to stray away from work occasionally.
Another common concern for employees is that BYOD has the potential to jeopardize work-life balance. With unlimited access to company information, managers may call upon employees outside of normal business hours or employees may be tempted to get a head start on tomorrow’s tasks—both of which blur the lines between the employee’s personal and professional lives.
For this reason, it’s important for both employees and employers to have a good grasp on the policies in place and adhere to them.
What Does it Mean for YOU?
As a new player emerging in the tech field, it’s always smart to look for ways to distinguish yourself. One way to do so is to become familiar with several different types of devices, because BYOD is a tech trend that is here to stay.
Especially if you’re earning an IT degree, learning how to properly implement and secure personally-owned mobile devices will put you ahead of the game when you enter the workforce, says Podila.
As a technology student, you’re probably an expert at using your favorite personal device to maximize your productivity. Brandt urges students to leverage their unique ability to manage time, organize assignments and maintain a busy schedule using the technology of their choice. He says this will pave way for a smoother transition into a full-time job.
So if you’re looking for an extra something to compliment your technology degree, develop a passion for exploring the newest tech trends. Your new knowledge can help position you as a valuable player in the future of technology.
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