Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a policy set by a company, allowing employees to use their personal laptops, computers, tablets, or smartphones for work. Many voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) providers adapted to the growing BYOD need as it provides companies with more flexibility and cost savings. Let’s dig deeper and determine if this capability is a must for your business.
How Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policies Work
BYOD is a company-implemented policy that clearly defines the acceptable work activities, such as accessing emails and apps, that can be done using an employee’s personal equipment. This saves companies the cost of maintaining extra hardware, but also provides employees with the flexibility to use a preferred device, such as an existing mobile phone.
As a best practice, a BYOD policy must clearly define what the business considers an acceptable use case in a formal document. Employees then sign this document to signify his or her agreement on the use of personal devices. An individual business can then decide to allow employees to add their professional account information to their personal email client, or list their personal mobile number on their business cards or in their voicemail greeting.
We’ve created a sample BYOD agreement which you can download and then modify for your unique business. However, please note that as this document represents a formal agreement between your business and its employees, it should be reviewed to ensure it is in line with local employment laws. Download the free BYOD agreement.
How businesses then implement their BYOD will vary. For example, it might offer to connect a personal phone number to a virtual phone number service or their business phone service’s mobile app—like those offered by RingCentral and Nextiva. This option then gives the employee the ability to separate business and personal activities on their mobile device while also giving businesses an easier way to manage who has access to its communication channels.
Looking for virtual phone options for your business? Check out our list of the best business phone systems to determine which suits your needs.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Pros & Cons
A Gartner survey showed an increasing preference for having a flexible work environment—allowing some employees to work remotely. This “new normal” work setup makes a BYOD functionality attractive for companies with teams from various locations. However, businesses must weigh its advantages and disadvantages to determine if it matches their needs.
|Cost savings in hardware and software licenses||Higher security risks|
|Convenience; not needing to have various devices for personal and business needs||Potential privacy loss|
|Can be deployed instantly||Possibility of distractions caused by personal notifications|
|Use the same device, regardless of the VoIP service provider||Free software compatible with personal devices may come with bugs and issues, like poor call quality or frozen screens|
|Little to no learning curve for the employees|
A cloud VoIP platform with BYOD capability has its own share of advantages for companies looking for a more flexible work setup for their employees. A traditional on-premise private branch exchange (PBX) or VoIP system has costs that can go as high as over $10,000 for the initial setup, including hardware, software licenses, and installation.
A cloud-based business phone system that comes with a BYOD feature is cheaper in terms of service fees with no installation or software license costs. Additionally, employees are not stuck to their desks, and they can utilize their personal devices to manage business communications from anywhere with an internet connection.
If the company wishes to switch to a different VoIP provider, its employees do not need to change or purchase new hardware to deploy its new phone system. Most mobile phones and computers are session initiation protocol (SIP)-compatible—lessening the need to add or learn new devices.
Want to ensure your chosen platform has the right features for your needs? Read our guide on the top 20 VoIP phone features for business.
However, as technology undergoes constant innovation, there isn’t a perfect solution available in the market today. BYOD poses security risks and potential privacy loss due to the unification of a business and personal communication device. Companies still do not have strong control over how employees utilize their devices outside their watch, and they cannot ensure 100% secure storage of sensitive information.
While most cloud VoIP systems come with free software for desktop and mobile devices, there is no guarantee that the apps will work seamlessly at all times. Occasional bugs, such as lag and unresponsiveness, are common. However, regular software updates are available for download to address these issues.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Best Practices
To ensure the success of your BYOD policy, there are a few factors that you must consider, such as:
- Providing your employees with a written and digital copy of your BYOD policy
- Including BYOD training during employee onboarding
- Updating your policy as needed, including events where you change your technology
- Allowing remote access through multi-factor authentication
- Defining levels of access for your employees, which can either be role-based or according to your organization’s information sensitivity
- Planning processes in advance in case devices are lost or stolen and instances when a device’s security has been compromised
- Determining appropriate strategies and tools to help ensure employees are compliant with your BYOD policy
- Deploying tools to ensure your company’s data is kept securely
- Discussing what happens when an employee is proven to violate your BYOD policy
Businesses must also ensure that company and personal data must be kept separately. You must also set measures to prevent copying or moving this sensitive information to other storage. Employees must also be informed of ways that can compromise the system’s privacy and security, including:
- Having weak passwords
- Not updating software or operating systems
- Sharing devices with others, such as family members
- Utilizing insecure communication methods, like personal email
We’ve made it easier for you to follow best practices as you implement your BYOD policy by creating a free checklist. Download the BYOD checklist here.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) helps companies provide employees with more flexibility regarding how and where they work. While BYOD comes with risks, having a well-defined set of rules and measures can help prevent privacy and security breaches.
Most cloud-based VoIP and business phone systems like RingCentral and Nextiva feature BYOD. They allow customers to utilize their own devices instead of requiring them to purchase VoIP hardware. This feature helps not only companies or enterprises but also small businesses and entrepreneurs who are on the go.