Bring Your Own Device a Growing Trend in the SMB Community

Smartphone In Blue Jean Pocket by chawalitpix ID-10047514You may have heard the term before “BYOD” or bring your own device.  This is a growing trend in the small to mid-size business community and its one that is good for both business and employees.

For decades the standardization of hardware and software had been a top priority for IT departments and for good reason.   Lack of compatibility among different vendors’ hardware and software offerings made maintainability and support of disparate products a nightmare for IT professionals.  As a result, companies were basically forced to standardize on hardware platforms and software products that could be upgraded and supported by in-house personnel.

The evolution of cloud based computing, where access to third party application software can be achieved 24/7 via an internet browser, has reduced the need for standardization. It has paved the way for businesses to take advantage of best of breed hardware and software solutions like never before and with today’s growing mobile workforce this could not have come at a better time.  What this means is that your remote sales and service staff can now have access to the information they need from any smartphone, tablet, iPhone, iPad, desktop PC or android device anytime and anywhere.  The benefit of having immediate access to this information impacts both the IT department and the end user. Here’s why.  The IT department no longer has to be concerned with hardware compatibility because these devices operate independently of any in-house hardware of software requirements. In addition, there is a potential cost savings for those companies that allow the end user to use their own device for business use, hence the term BYOD – bring your own device. For the end user they can now use a device that they like and are comfortable with versus being forced to use a device issued by their company.

Transitioning your business to a BYOD environment is not without concerns however.  While the requirement for hardware compatibility may have been reduced an even bigger issue has arisen and that’s data security.  Many companies today are using Customer Relationship Management or CRM software programs to capture, manage and share vital customer information within their organization.  Having a BYOD environment means that this information is accessible via the devices listed above and as such are a security risk should the information be copied, lost or a device stolen.  There are a few things that you can do to lessen this concern and still reap the rewards of a BYOD environment.

1)      With many CRM systems you can limit the information people have access to using an administrative feature called permissions.  Let’s take a sales representative for example.  Using permissions ensures that the sales representative only has access to the accounts or leads they are responsible for and nothing more.

2)      Another way to limit the security risk of a BYOD environment is to make sure the CRM system is password protected. This way if a device is lost or stolen any data that may be on the device is protected and access to company data via the internet will be eliminated.

There is no doubt that companies will continue to endorse a BYOD environment and you should take advantage of it, but make sure you understand and prepare for the increased risk of data security.

Photo Credit: chawalitpix at freedigitalphotos.net