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BYOD for Small and Mid-Size Business: Moving from Challenge to Opportunity

- April 3, 2013 11:11 am

I hope you’ve been enjoying our Small and Mid-Size Business-Focused Blog Series. So far, we’ve provided an overview of the technology challenges we feel small and mid-size business owners face and shared a Q&A with Sean Stanleigh of The Globe and Mail. We’ve also covered the objectives, limitations and benefits of wireless technology, discussed how to choose the right technology for your business in a Q&A with Mario Seguin of Medwave Optique, and then Mario provided his thoughts on telepresence and the benefits it has brought to his small and mid-sized customers. In our most recent post in the series, I provided more detail on wireless security, the implications it has for small and mid-size businesses and the role network security plays in the future of bring your own device (BYOD).

BYOD provides employees the flexibility to use their own devices to work from home or off-site.

BYOD provides employees the flexibility to use their own devices to work from home or off-site.

Today, I would like to spend time discussing more about BYOD, as it is a hot topic that is affecting nearly every business model globally, both large and small. This phenomenon is changing the way people work and could have a major impact on business owners in Canada’s small and mid-size market. Business practices are steadily changing in tandem with modern advances in technology. Now more than ever, people have the ability to connect to a network nearly anywhere, at any time. I believe one of the reasons for the BYOD occurrence is that workers today desire to work this way. With a younger generation entering the workforce, many may be interested in working off their personal Android tablet, Mac or iPad instead of the standard company-issue PC. This trend has strong implications for businesses everywhere and should be used to the advantage of the business.

‘Adopting BYOD’ is a pretty general concept. In one sense, anyone is participating in BYOD if they bring their smartphone, tablet or laptop to the office. However, that doesn’t mean that business owners have the right infrastructure to support anything with a more sophisticated level or volume. It is important for businesses to understand that employees’ expectations regarding BYOD will need to be met the first time the employee tries to connect and use their personal device. They will expect a reliable and secure network every time they access, and if issues occur upon first use – discontent will certainly follow.

End user confusion due to disconnected messaging, device problems and remote access are among the most common challenges companies will face as they implement a BYOD policy and set-up the infrastructure. Other challenges that may come about deal with network management of multiple mobile devices or capacity, licensing issues, network security and device support limitations. Businesses must utilize a more structured approach to BYOD that includes secure access points, enables employees to have more flexibility and allows them to use their own devices so they may work from home or at an off-site location.

Regardless of whether your company has yet to adopt a BYOD policy or already has one in-place, important questions to ask yourself are; do you have the right infrastructure to manage employee requirements? And what exactly is required from an infrastructure standpoint? In future posts, we’ll answer this question and more with examples from small and mid-size companies who have recently implemented BYOD. Where is your company in the process of BYOD adoption? What challenges has your company encountered? We want to hear from you – please feel free to share your comments below or contact me directly via email at askrod@external.cisco.com.

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