Are You Ready to BYOD?
reprinted with permission from the HP Technology at Work
As business becomes more mobile, tablets and smartphones are taking an active role in the technology shift. BYOD (bring your own device), where employees use their personal devices to complete work tasks, is becoming common practice—sometimes sanctioned and sometimes under-the-radar. It’s inevitable that people will want to consolidate devices and make work as easy as possible, but can a tablet or smartphone really be used as your primary computing tool?
BYOD: right or risky?
For workers who need to be on-the-go, smartphones and tablets can truly increase your overall efficiency. Employee productivity increases, and so do budgets. But before you can reap these benefits, there are some risks and considerations to recognize, especially when employees are using their own smartphones and tablets, instead of ones provided by your IT team:
- Device variety: There’s a large menu of operating systems and hardware options, which makes it difficult for IT to focus on securing a single platform.
- Outdated firmware: Many consumers don’t generally keep current on their firmware, which disables basic operation and other functions of the device.
- Network authentication: Lost or upgraded personal devices still carry potentially sensitive company information that you won’t want floating around.
- Mobility issues: Tablets and smartphones are susceptible to theft or loss, and can get expensive to replace.
- Data plan misuse: When adding tablets into budgets, data plan costs are often forgotten. Most users will go over their plan, and generally it’s from personal use (e.g., streaming movies or browsing the internet).
How to mitigate these risks
By making employees aware of these issues, you’re already helping your business. Some ways you can centrally mitigate these risks are:
- Keep your eyes open for available updates for devices, and encourage your employees to do the same. Explaining the risks of losing data may give your employees the nudge to also be on the lookout.
- Wipe data on devices that no longer sync with company resources.
- Keep passcodes on your device whenever possible.
- Include data plan costs in the tablet budget. You can also tether a tablet to your mobile phone to share usage. You can do this by turning on your mobile phone’s “hot spot,” which allows you to share your data plan with devices around you.
- Finally, figure out how to properly roll out a smartphone/tablet plan so your employees aren’t working from their own devices. It may seem like a tough task but, in the long run, you’ll be preventing so much risk—and employees will be happier using newer devices.
Tablets: efficient, effective, inevitable
Tablets like the HP Slate 2 and HP EliteBook Tablet have more to offer than just stunning visuals:
- Familiarity: They both offer ease of use because they run on Microsoft® Windows®, while the EliteBook comes equipped with a full keyboard.
- Mobile printing: According to IT Web, tablet owners print twice as much as the average user . HP ePrint lets you easily print from your tablet from virtually anywhere with internet access .
- Convenient printing: The HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer allows you to print from a variety of mobile devices using Bluetooth . It’s also compact and easy to carry with you.
- Elite Premium support: Your time is precious—don’t waste it servicing your tablet. We’ve got a support team here with specific knowledge on your EliteBook tablet who will dedicate their time to your needs. All day, every day.
- Multitasking: Should you decide to only keep a tablet around for email and schedule needs, it works great as a second monitor, making task transition seamless.
- And, of course, business productivity: While HP tablets run on Windows and can run familiar applications you use every day—like Microsoft Office—other tablets use apps, many of which fulfill unique business needs. These include project management & collaboration, note taking, scheduling, travel logistics, event organization and more.
If you feel the rewards of using a tablet or smartphone for business outweighs the risks, you have plenty of company. Technology is moving forward at a quick pace, and mobile computing devices are the next phase. In order to make the right decision, you must first understand all the information about BYOD—and then work out a plan that ensures your mobile workers are still practicing safe computing, even when they’re on the go.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.
 IT Web, “HP drives Web-enabled printers,” February 2012  Requires an Internet connection to the printer. Feature works with any connected Internet- and email-capable device. Requires HP Web Services Account Registration. Print times may vary. Some HP LaserJets may require a firmware upgrade. For a list of supported documents, and image types, see www.hp.com/go/eprintcenter. And for additional solutions, seewww.hp.com/go/mobile-printing-solutions  Notebook or netbook must be Bluetooth enabled. Includes Windows MobileR phones. Additional fee required through 3rd party service provider for BlackBerry, Palm OSR and Nokia Symbian smartphones.