Enable BYOD For SMBs

Several days ago at WHD.global 2013, I gave a presentation on BYOD and I think it is worth sharing it with those of you who did not attend.

What the heck is BYOD, you might ask yourselves. 😀 Before anything else, it’s a pretty complicated name for a process that is quite simple. BOYD allows employees to use their own devices for business purposes. As you can imagine, the concept is not new. It started decades ago, but only in the last years it has been technically possible to become widespread and gain popularity.

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Traditionally, companies had policies that did not allow foreign devices to join the network, but in reality these policies have not exactly been followed by C level executives. As mobile devices like phones, tablets, notebooks got so popular, IT departments were challenged to do something about it. This is not about corporations only, as companies of all sizes must have a consistent policy. In fact, due to their lack of resources, for small companies things might get even more complicated.

Do companies of all sizes need BYOD? Yes, because except for some highly regulated environments, it simply cannot be avoided. But why would people use their own devices? There are a couple of reasons for it, but mainly it’s because it requires little effort, is simple to use, doesn’t employ a steep learning curve, and provides easy access to data. When it comes to productivity, all this counts.

BYOD And Cloud

Service providers must understand that BYOD is very much connected to cloud and SaaS. It’s an enabler that allows companies to migrate faster to the cloud. So, providers need to educate their customers about benefits and address concerns. In fact, it does not really matter who owns the mobile device. For instance, notebooks can be secured at device level, but we cannot say the same for smartphones and tables. With cloud Apps, which are accessible from anywhere, virtual desktops, virtual communication channels etc., productivity and satisfaction will increase.

BYOD And Trouble

Without a doubt, BYOD may cause problems and the main concerns are security and manageability. You do not want people playing Angry Birds in the office, but the truth is that the device has little to do with this behavior.

In reality, device ownership hardly helps data security. For years, administrators believed that locking down machines is the right way to better security. Not quite! When it comes to security, people pose the biggest threat. There is little you can do to prevent them from copying information. In most cases, they do it just to be able to work more efficiently. Well, in most cases that is… 😉

The safest protection is to have the information in the cloud and to secure access to it from any device. This means that no piece of information leaves the premises and people can still work with it. From this perspective, you’ll have to agree that not only does SaaS provide better functionality, but it also improves security.

Management-wise, things are even simpler. Actually, some things do not have to be managed at all. Obviously, if necessary, devices must be authorized to join the network, but this also happens when using personal devices. For SMBs, it’s not much management overhead anyway, whereas larger companies will employ automation.

BYOD In Voice – Easiest To Adopt

Companies often pay for fees associated with phone communication, while the user brings the device. This model can be further extended. For example, VoipNow has a functionality called extension virtualization, which allows the access device to act dumb.

Communication channels are interesting selling points because in the mentality or infrastructure of the customer they do not have to change much. So, our advice to service providers is to start BYOD with communication. It is easier to adopt and it comes with major selling points. For instance, in the case of communication services, device independence is required in most scenarios.

BYOD And Its Cloud DNA

Do not forget that BYOD has cloud DNA. Your cloud service cannot be successful without BYOD, because BYOD enables customers even to prototype faster. If you are a software developer writing cloud Apps for SMBs, one of the best things you can do is make free Apps for end-users and provide enterprise upgrades. Users can test these Apps and later convince the company to use it, because it’s more efficient.

I realize that I’ve only scratched the topic of BYOD through this post, but I hope it was enough to stir your interest. 🙂

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