Gen-Y sometimes also known as ‘the millennial’ generation make up the largest segment of the workforce (will reach 75% by 2025). They heavily rely on technology not just for work, but also for their day-to-day activities. Millennials use their personal devices for work, the primary drivers being – the ability to stay connected, even while at work.
Companies hiring millennials have thus realized that they cannot stop employees from using their personal devices for work, rather they can use this trend to their advantage.
Let’s understand what BYOD is and why is it so important for the Gen-Y companies.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture has been formally embraced by many organizations to allow their employees to use their personal devices like laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. for work. This enables the employees to work more efficiently as they are more comfortable using their own devices, be flexible with the time and place they work, and hence be more productive. This could save businesses from investing in an expensive process of device distribution.
But BYOD as a trend has also raised significant concerns about corporate data security. Organizations must devise BYOD device management programs to gain more control over devices used for business activities.
Few Facts First
According to a few studies:
Let’s see why adopting BYOD is so critical for the Gen-Y business.
Millennials are tech-dependent
Gen-Y does not only uses technology but is also addicted to it. They use technology for work, entertainment, shopping, planning, fitness, and a lot of other activities. Most employees view BYOD as a right, and not just a privilege. To provide a comfortable work environment and technology-flexibility companies have to cater to the BYOD demands of the employee.
Gen-Y actively uses personal devices for work
Personal devices are configured the way exactly a user needs them to be – preferred settings and formats, favourite apps, contact lists, speed dials, etc. It is convenient to use one device for both work and personal use without having to switch between devices or forgetting one at home or work. If the device is set-up as desired, it results in increased productivity.
According to a Frost and Sullivan study sponsored by Samsung, “Respondents report that as a result of using smartphones to get work done, they gain nearly an hour (58 minutes) of work time each day.” They also reported a 34% increase in productivity.
Diverse devices and platforms
For a tech-enabled worker, no device or platform is off the table. Millennials are quick to adopt technological advancements. Most workers will have the latest model or feature on their devices and corporate-owned devices cannot keep pace with that. BYOD lets employees use the technology of their choosing.
Messaging, File-Sharing, Cloud Services, and Social Networking
Instant messaging and file-sharing platforms have become imperative for office communication and data sharing.
Social networking applications like Facebook and LinkedIn have had an enormous impact on both personal and professional circles of Gen-Y workers. Social media platforms like Facebook for Work have integrated personal profiles, activity feeds, and status updates into business tools.
Cloud services, on the other hand, provide a third-party infrastructure to access and operate on data and applications from remote places.
These collaboration tools have provided an ecosystem to ease, simplify, and provide seamless communication channels to enhance efficiency and productivity.
Organizations now are at an increased risk of exposing their intellectual property as now can easily share files on unsecured networks or save files on their devices and hence businesses are expected to employ BYOD program management to balance flexibility and security.
Gen-Y may bypass security policies for convenience
A survey conducted by Fortinet in 2013, shows that “among employees aged 21-31, more than half would circumvent any company policy banning the use of personal devices at work or for work purposes.”
This was an eye-opener for many organizations that had strict anti-BYOD policies. The need is to acknowledge the employees’ need for connectivity and access and devising strong BYOD policies to manage personal devices used for work. This also includes educating employees of possible threats like device sharing, connecting through open-networks, installing untrustworthy apps on their devices, weak authentication mechanisms, etc.
Strict and robust BYOD policy will help Gen-Y companies empower employees and set protocols on device usage, like enrollment, installation of MDM solutions for monitoring, tracking, and provisioning the devices. This will give greater control to companies over their corporate data and applications on employee devices.
BYOD offers various advantages for Gen-Y companies, but it is essential to implement security measures to protect the employer and employee assets and impart threat literacy to all the stakeholders.
To support a productive work environment, Gen-Y companies need to formalize BYOD policy and streamline device enrollment into their BYOD management programs. The need is to invest in an effective BYOD management solution, like Mobile Device Management, Enterprise Mobility Management, Unified Endpoint Management, etc. depending on the complexity of the business and the device heterogeneity. BYOD may be in vogue and is undoubtedly getting fast adopted amongst organizations, but it is imperative to understand the underlying impact on operations, user experience, ROI, data security and most importantly data management.
Vandita is a passionate writer and IT enthusiast. By profession, she is a Computer Lecturer at the University of Delhi and has previously worked as a Software Engineer with Aricent Technologies.