2013 is being described by digital and consumer technology experts as ‘the year of the mobile device’. Smart phones and tablets are becoming increasingly popular and it’s expected that the market will soon be reaching a peak in terms of sales. Professional people from a range of business sectors use mobile devices for all sorts of tasks and many employers are keen to encourage use of these multifunctional gizmos. Some companies supply their employees with brand new devices; however, as so many people already have their own, a more cost effective strategy is to let them use these at work. We take a look at the benefits of this and explain how creating a ‘policy for use’ can prevent problems from arising.

The benefits of devices in business

Cutting costs is only one advantage of letting your staff use their own mobile devices. Many will see it as a perk of the job which can have a beneficial effect on your company culture. This will have a knock on effect in terms of boosting office morale and can help in attracting talented people when recruiting. To an outsider, such as a potential client or partner, a work force that is kitted out with the latest IT equipment creates a positive image of a modern and progressive company.

The benefits of companywide device proliferation are not limited to impression management; there are practical advantages too. Your employee can stay connected with the office when on the go, and as they’re using their own gadget they’ll probably be more inclined to do so, even in their free time. You may also see a boost in productivity.

Potential pitfalls

Mobile devices are designed for connecting people and sharing, whilst this is great in a social context, it can be extremely problematic in a professional setting. Security is a big issue; a phone simply isn’t as well protected as a laptop or desktop. The small print of many social media apps asks you to agree to sharing information stored on your phone and then often access this without you realising. Sharing confidential or sensitive details about your business can be potentially hazardous.

Solution – policy of use

Deciding upon a set of guidelines that outline how your company will use mobile devices will allow you to enjoy the benefits listed above and negate the detrimental effects connected with doing so. There are two key ways in which establishing a policy will offer you protection from issues of security; it spells out acceptable employee behaviour and gives peace of mind to your clients. You can talk your employees through setting up secure login in details and give examples of inappropriate behaviour on social media sites. Encouraging your staff to all use the same devices will make keeping up to date with the latest security updates much easier. You can also develop a procedure to deal with confidential information if the device is lost. Systems now exist in which a message can be sent which wipes all information stored on a phone or tablet and removes it from any connected cloud systems, however your employees might not be as keen on this as it could result in them losing photos other personal media permanently. A policy of this nature will help you reach an agreed plan in the event of loss of the device.

If you’d like advice on setting up mobile technology within your organisation, why not get in touch with our London  IT support team?