BYOD takes a big leap

The concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), which gives employees the flexibility of using their personal devices at work, is slowly gaining ground in India, driven by the youth.

Thanks to the technology which has rewarded both employers and employees equally; BYOD which is driven by mobility, consumerization of IT, and proliferation of devices is transforming the traditional corporate structure.

Due to consumerization of IT, employees want device choice beyond the ones stipulated by the company and at the same time, want to be mobile and productive. Companies are looking to adopt powerful technologies to maximize the true potential of a consumerized workforce. BYOD is a reality and enterprises are embracing instead of fighting the inevitable as it offers choice to their workers, attract and retain younger talent who are the early adopters. It empowers the employees to choose the best device to get their work done, including laptops as well as smart phones and tablets.

Nilesh Goradia, head, presales, Citrix says, “As an immediate outcome, BYOD has facilitated increased productivity by enabling the users to be more accessible as they get to use their own devices. It also works as a motivational factor as BYOD allows the employees to work from any device or operating system that he/ she is comfortable. A combination of BYOD with the virtualized work environment makes it truly productive for the employee and also helps the company to maintain a secure internal IT infrastructure.”

The company usually tends to fund the employees. According to a recent Research Corner survey, more than 75% of the companies choose to fund the employees mainly in case of tablets and laptops.

Organizations are just not sailing with the technology waves. Rather some organizations have proactively embraced this trend, the pioneers of BYOD adoption are ThoughtWorks, Cisco amongst others. Since the inception of ThoughtWorks in India 10 years back, the company has been providing a flexible work environment to all its employees and freedom to work from different places.

A decade ago, ThoughtWorks replaced desktops with laptops and the company had integrated all its offices with Wi-Fi connectivity. Laptops were given to all employees irrespective of their positions, be it, manager, developer, admin, or the managing director. Indeed, ThoughtWorks has introduced BYOD culture in its true spirit. Since the past one year, the company is giving $1,000 for employees to choose a gadget of their choice.

Elaborating on the BYOD culture Sudhir Tiwari, managing director, ThoughtWorks India says, “We always had the core philosophy of BYOD since day one in India. Since last 3 years we are encouraging our employees to work on their personal devices as well. The entire workforce was given $1,000 to purchase a gadget of their choice and further empowered our employees.”

“Organizations are encouraging people to operate outside of the traditional workplace on their own personal devices to improve the bottom line-by making the organization more responsive, improving productivity, and reducing the cost of real estate and device management. At the same time, organizations are investing in the space they have to create enticing workplaces that foster collaboration, innovation and creativity,” said Mick Hollison, vice president, integrated marketing and strategy, Citrix.

Employees feel ‘more efficient and productive’ by using a personally-owed device for work. Employees also feel that BYOD enables them to serve customers better.

Shubha Ramnath, director, IT services, India Subcontinent, Citrix says, “In case of Citrix, we follow a BYOD policy that offers a stipend of equivalent of $2100 (taxable) paid out to employees who opt for this. This is available to all full time employees. Today, close to 30% of Citrix employees are on BYO worldwide, which enables them to work from anywhere using any device. There are many employees who don’t take up the stipend yet bring their own devices to work.”

According to the Cisco Connected World Technology report, which surveyed more than 2,800 college students and young professionals in 14 countries, including India, found that 81% of the people queried wanted to get money from the company to buy the device of their choice or bring their own.

To bring consistency across the company, Yahoo! gave smartphones to all its employees.

Is security an issue?

One major issue that companies have in this field is that of security. Issues such as data theft, network breaches and financial damages from this new vector are at the top of the agenda for every security leader.

BYOD is a reality in the modern world and organizations adopting BYOD has leveraged multi-fold benefits. This has emerged as a popular solution not only from end-user perspective but it significantly benefits the organization to reduce IT-spends.

Nilesh Goradia, head, pre-sales, Citrix further adds, “While BYOD is here to stay, companies feel that it poses a security threat as any malware or virus residing on the user owned device can enter the corporate network. There are chances of data leakage due to theft, loss of the device, etc. An organization should first analyze the potential threats, as it might differ from organization to another, once the same has been outlined there should be an analysis of the available technologies such as desktop virtualization, NAC (Network Access Control) and MDM (Mobile Device management) to mitigate the potential Security risks. After the technology has been decided a company should devise a complete policy surrounding BYOD which defines the entire process surrounding BYOD in the organization.

Each vertical is dealing with BYOD security in its own way. While integration is allowed based on the organization’s specific risk profile, experts across the industry agree that while these devices can be great enablers of productivity, securing them can be a nightmare.

BYOD might be a cool idea both for employees and companies, but security remains a top concern. Using one’s own device at work may pose a threat to company’s data, but Indian enterprises seem to be embracing the trend with as many as 80% employees saying their companies allow them to bring their personal mobile phones and laptops to work.

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