Bring-Your-Own-Device policies seem like the best of both worlds for many corporations. Employees have the freedom to work how they choose, and you don’t have to invest in purchasing or upkeep for new computers.
Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case, with BYOD policies contributing to reduced productivity, security risks, and increased complexity for regulation. As a result, BYOD is a trend that is slowly fading out, as more and more workplaces implement laptop provisioning.
While providing employees with laptops and other devices can be expensive, it pays off in numerous ways relating to regulation, employee satisfaction, security, and even taxes.
While your business type, industry, and number of employees will affect whether or not it’s a good idea to supply employees with laptops, the following reasons impact most businesses.
BYOD policies allowing individuals to bring and work on their own devices puts many organizations at risk. Devices can introduce viruses and malware. Unsecured devices leave data open for hackers and data leaks through accidental discovery. And sharing information and software across a wider variety of devices and operating systems makes it more difficult to mitigate those risks.
Today, some 33% of businesses don’t even have a BYOD policy, while allowing employees to bring and use their own devices at work.
Moving everyone to company supplies devices means you can negate those risks by handing everyone the same hardware and software, controlled by IT. You know what programs are on the computer, IT controls which applications can be installed, updates and patches are handled on time, antivirus and malware is on the computer, and employees have rules about device usage that you couldn’t apply if they bring their own. This will greatly increase Information Security and may prevent data leaks, malware, or hacks.
BYOD allows employees to work on whatever devices they happen to own. These can vary significantly in quality and compatibility with whatever you already own. While you can mitigate this to some extent with virtual computers and VPN, providing quality hardware is almost always a good idea. Employees who have the tools they need to perform their jobs well will do so more efficiently.
How can you approach this? Consider running a needs-analysis across your organization, identifying models that fit specific use cases, and supplying individuals with tools that best meet their needs. This ensures that everyone on your team has hardware that meets the demands of their role, has a computer compatible with and equipped with the tooling they need, and that IT can quickly make changes to those devices as they are needed.
Purchasing laptops for your employees gives you the freedom to choose models based on individual teams and their needs. However, it also allows you to ensure that nearly everyone has the same laptops. IT can easily maintain parts, can more easily diagnose issues, and can more quickly repair, update, and replace models when everyone already has the same computers.
This is especially true in the case of software and licensing. You already know that anything you purchase will be compatible with employee laptops. Any employee will be able to work with servers, files, VoIP, etc.
It also applies should you choose to run virtual computers and VPN. Computers can be issued with VPN already installed, and with security measures in place.
Hardware is always compatible and most computers are virtually interchangeable. This means that once someone has a virtual computer set up, they simply have to grab a laptop to start working. If their laptop goes down, they simply log in from another device with no downtime and no wait period.
Other advantages include:
- Remote takeover and control by IT
- Linking hardware to access keys for additional security
- Remote software updates to ensure devices are always patched and secure
- Remote device wipe/access control
If IT can simply log into a portal, access a device, and immediately see what’s wrong, help calls will also be simplified.
Control over Computers
It’s difficult to impose specific rules on employee-owned laptops. However, if they are company owned, the company has this privilege. This control can range from something similar to most parental control apps to allowing IT to manually block VPN connection from any but specific devices.
While you are likely already blocking access to specific websites or apps through internet protocol, adding additional controls on computers means IT always knows what’s going on. For example, if someone tries to install a software program, a company-owned laptop should prompt them to contact IT. If they attempt to access files they don’t have access to, logs should be made tracing that access back to a specific user account and device.
While work computers shouldn’t be sold as a perk, they can be. Employees can often make very good use of devices, especially if they are allowed to take them home and work from home for a more flexible schedule. While you do likely want to limit how individuals can use laptops for their own reasons, providing quality laptops can make individuals feel that much more appreciated at work.
While provisioning laptops can be expensive, it is an investment and it is one that will pay off. Even having everyone working in the same tooling, in the same way, will likely boost productivity. Individuals can more easily switch devices, help each other, and have better access to helpdesk information (because everything is geared for the same devices), which will reduce demand on IT and improve efficiency.
Most importantly, supplying laptops allows you to take control of how work is completed, even remotely, to improve security, and to ensure your employees have the tools to do their jobs well.