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Embracing BYOD: Is it worth it?

Nurdianah Md Nur | Aug. 21, 2013
Balancing the benefits of BYOD with its security risks might be tricky but it is not impossible if you have the right policy and security framework in place.

Love it or hate it, there is no escape from the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend. Based on Forrester's Forrsights Workforce Employee Survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2012, at least 84 percent of employees in Asia Pacific used smartphones, tablets, apps, and online services they purchased with their own money for both personal use and at work.

The BYOD trend in the region is expected to strengthen over the next two years, said Katyayan Gupta, an analyst at Forrester Research. This is due to the increasing quality and affordability of devices, apps, wireless connectivity, coverage and capacity. Since the shift towards this trend has already begun, organisations should aid this transition instead of resisting it.

Upsides of BYOD
Mobility, flexibility of devices to work on and cost savings come to mind when one thinks of the advantages of BYOD.

According to Forrester's survey, more than three quarter of the respondents in Asia Pacific who use a smartphone or tablet for work chose the devices themselves — their companies neither issued nor approve these devices.

One organisation that has recognised this trend is Standard Chartered. The bank is currently refining its BYOD strategy, which is a part of its Workspace Technology Strategy, to ensure more flexibility for its device-using employees. At Standard Chartered, the Workspace Technology Strategy defines the current and future state for the entire workspace —  in terms of devices, security, access, productivity, collaboration and communications —  for all its employees.

When the bank first started its mobility journey in 2010, the same model of iOS-based devices, with very little variation in its configuration, were issued to its employees. Peter Walker, group head of technology architecture at Standard Chartered Bank said: "It was a good strategy back then as it provided cost savings from bulk purchase and ease of controlling security parameters."

However, after examining the work requirements of the different segments of users within the bank, Walker realised that a more flexible BYOD strategy is now needed. "We realised that the needs for mobility, productivity and data security is different. Some [such as executives] have higher productivity as its main focus while other groups of users [such as customer-facing employees] have customer data privacy as paramount importance."  

As part of the changes to its BYOD strategy, about 3,800 of the bank's employees now have access to their work email and the apps on the internally created Standard Chartered App Centre through their personal smartphones and tablets. The App Centre currently offers 17 proprietary custom-built apps that enable employees to tap into the internal systems for access to information and collaboration. 

Aside from allowing employees to work on their device of choice, BYOD can help an organisation to save cost, said Marcelo De Santis, director of Information Systems & Business Process Excellence for Asia Pacific region at Mondelēz International. "There are cost savings associated with BYOD mainly due to relieving the IT team of their responsibility of buying, managing and supporting devices purchased by employees." The company thus embraced the BYOD trend after recognising that its employees were already using their personal devices for work and analysing the business implications of it.


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