When a phone rings in your office, does everyone scramble around trying to work out whether it’s their work or personal one? Do you get that familiar sinking feeling when you realise you’ve brought the wrong charger out with you? Or that the phone that’s about to die is the one with your client’s contact details in it?
If so, you’re not the only one. Having a paid-for work phone or laptop might look like a perk on paper, but when it comes down it, twice the devices means twice the hassle. Most people would rather just use their own, familiar kit, that they know how to navigate and can take where they like.
This is good news for companies, too. If your workforce is willing to bring their own technology to work – if they’re actually enthusiastic about doing so – this has obvious potential to bring down your capital expenditure and overall IT budget.
It also means that you can open up your remote working policy, introducing crowd-pleasing work-from-home and flexitime schemes. Having access to the office at your fingertips means you can make time spent with clients more productive and valuable, tapping straight into accounting documents and notes, making real-time changes to spreadsheets and scheduling follow-up meetings there and then.
Streamlined workflows and streamlined costs. Sounds perfect, right?
So why isn’t everyone doing it?
The major worry for a lot of companies is security.
They’re concerned that their carefully created internal security policies will go straight out the window the moment employees step off site or switch to their own technology. Left to (literally) their own devices, they doubt that the workforce will stick to rules put in place to guarantee compliance and guard against hack attacks and breaches.
These are valid concerns. And they’re right to take them seriously.
As an accountant, you’re responsible for handling highly sensitive data – and it’s essential that you promote the highest levels of responsibility throughout your organisation. Simply allowing people to shift this information onto their personal device, send it through unencrypted email systems and store it any way they like is clearly not compatible with these obligations.
The thing is, though, that security aside, allowing people to simply shift data onto personal systems and do what they want with it would be a very badly thought-out BYOD strategy. It would most likely create confusion and delays, rather than streamlining your processes and saving you time and money.
The fact is, if you’re approaching BYOD in the smartest way possible, you wouldn’t be doing things like this at all. You’d have a rock-solid, cloud-based platform supporting your new work style. And if you’d chosen wisely, you’d already have your safety worries pretty comprehensively covered as a result.
Put simply, in order to keep access to work files and applications straightforward across all devices, you will need to use a cloud solution.
Preferably, you’ll be using a holistic approach that incorporates ready-to-use Desktops-as-a-Service (DAAS), to ensure that the user experience is totally consistent, wherever they’re working.
Certainly, you’ll need to make sure you’re utilising top-of-the-range, industry-leading technologies like Citrix XenMobile. This allows your IT department to securely deploy and manage mobile devices, apps and data while at the same time giving employees unfettered access to all the corporate apps, data and email systems they need to do their job – and makes it easier than ever to share and collaborate securely and efficiently.
As will any major switch in working styles, a move to BYOD shouldn’t just be an ad hoc, gradual trickle towards letting people bring un-vetted, unsecure devices. That way lies shambles and potential disaster. If you’re going to do it (and you really should) then make sure you’re doing it properly.
Take the time and thought to choose a solution that’s going to create maximum benefit, with maximum security, in the long run. Make sure that the whole team is on board with the change. Make sure you have a top notch partner in place to help it all run smoothly. And then make it happen.