How to Reduce your IT Costs with BYOD

If you keep an eye on technology news or future IT business trends, then you may have heard the term “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device). There is a lot of discussion about BYOD because it has the great potential to drastically reduce business IT hardware costs, simplifying IT management while helping the environment.

In 2016, 82% of adults (41.8 million) in Great Britain used the internet every day or almost every day. This was an increase from 78% in 2015 and more than double the reported estimate of 35% in 2006[1]. Have you ever counted how many computer devices there are in your possession? I consider myself to have typical IT needs for my job and home life: including old unused devices we have 5 laptops, 3 tablets and 5 smartphones in our household. That’s 13 potential ways to access the Internet, which is essential for most peoples’ work these days. It would be much better to reduce these devices to an adequate number, saving costs and CO2 through reduced manufacturing.

Don’t Issue Company Laptops

It has been standard practice for many years for an employer to issue their employees with company laptops for their work. They also need to insure them, secure them from viruses, and manage and maintain them either through an in-house team or external IT support companies. In addition they need to replace them when they get lost or stolen, or simply become outdated, not to mention the cost of lost business data. Typically businesses refresh their IT hardware every 3 to 4 years due to them falling behind in the required specification to run the latest applications. This has a direct cost implication, and also ties in with the UK accountancy rules that all IT equipment depreciates to a value of zero after 3 years.

With BYOD, the employee would use their own computer to work on: this would be an amazing disrupter to every business as it would remove a lot of the cost and headache of managing IT hardware. It would allow the business to regain focus on its mains functions. So why hasn’t it taken off yet? Well, it causes a few challenges, namely security and integration with current company IT infrastructure – e.g. how does a business ensure it’s protected from viruses brought in by external equipment, or how do they enable access to and protection of sensitive company files and email? There are fairly simple solutions to these on the first point as we have all connected our devices to a guest WiFi somewhere and anti-virus software can be implemented as well. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a solution on a larger scale. This is where the employee uses any standard web browser (on their own device) to log in to their ‘work laptop.’ Their work desktop and all of the company data that they need is stored in the Cloud, fully secured and can’t be impacted by the local device. File transfer to and from the local device can be managed per user, so if the laptop is stolen, no company data is lost as it never leaves the Cloud. What’s more, you can use any computer anywhere in the world to login to your work desktop.

BYOD Market Growth and Demand

The global BYOD and Enterprise Mobility market is expected to over double from $35bn in 2016 to $73bn in 2021[2]: this marries well with the fact that workstation desktop sales have been falling by an average of 9.8% year on year since their peak in 2011[3]. There are more people working on laptops and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The increasing demand of working remotely is also playing a key role in the development of BYOD practices.

In 2014 the UK government released a set of guidelines for the implementation of BYOD which are a good starting point but don’t consider all of the technical solutions to BYOD such as DaaS. For example, it states that, “the legal responsibility for protecting personal information is with the data controller, not the device owner. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can impose fines of up to £500,000 for serious data breaches.” Therefore the business is still responsible for controlling sensitive and personal data, further ratified in the updated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016 through the EU which is now law and has stronger rules and implications on how data is source, managed and protected.

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[1] Reference Office of National Statistics

[2] Reference Marketsandmarkets via Computerdealernews

[3] Reference IDC

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