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Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) May Cause Big Headaches for Small Businesses

By | 07.26.12

Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) May Cause Big Headaches for Small Businesses

With online marketing, social media and business websites, a wide range of electronic devices are becoming a must at small business locations – not only for the small business owners but for their employees as well.

As a result of the growing need for laptops and handheld electronic devices, more and more small businesses are allowing employees to bring their own electronic equipment for use in the workplace. The concept of “Bring Your Own Devices” – or BYOD – at first seems like a win-win situation for small business owners and employees: owners can save on the cost of providing electronic devices and employees may conveniently use devices they are already familiar with. Plus, employees and owners may also use their own devices for telecommute purposes and to quickly solve any problems which may crop-up during off hours.

Although BYOD devices may at first save time and money, problems with the popular trend have been cropping up. The first major issue is compatibility with the many different types of electronic devices being used. Some devices and systems just are not compatible with one another and may prohibit the ability to quickly share information through an electronic forum.

Another problem with BYOD is the variety of different types and versions of software which can be used to send information electronically. Some employees may have advanced software which cannot send information that may be read by other devices – or other employees may have older out-of-date software which contributes to information sharing difficulties.

Additionally, employees who bring their own social media devices to work may have difficulties focusing on the job at hand. While this can be a problem with any device, it may be more tempting for employees to use social media, or check-in with friends on their own equipment.

Last but not least of the BYOD concerns are security issues. Employee electronic devices may not have the type of security built in that will offer the high level of protection a small business requires. Plus, problems can occur if an employee takes an electronic device with sensitive business information outside of the office to the home – or anywhere else. For example, what if the device becomes lost, or private information is viewed by outside parties?

For many small businesses, BYOD has developed in the workplace out of necessity as the need for employee access to electronic devices has rapidly grown. However, due to the concerns that BYOD poses, small business owners are examining whether the popular practice will really offer benefits compared with the risks.

References

Eric Yaverbaum. “Small Business Owners, Beware of BYOD.” Washington Post. (07/25/2012). http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-small-business/post/small-business-owners-beware-of-byod/2012/07/24/gJQAjbcQ7W_blog.html

Ryan Faas. “BYOD is Less Common Than is Seems and It Rarely Saves Money.” Cult of Mac. (07/18/2012). http://www.cultofmac.com/179581/byod-is-less-common-than-it-seems-and-it-rarely-saves-money/

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