BYOD – Love it or Hate it. It’s here to stay.

Three years ago I wrote a blog titled Why you will never take away my desktop phone, which mentioned a report by Gartner that said desktop phones will be replaced by mobile phones by 2011. Back then, it looked like RIM and Apple were going to dominate the mobile market and Google was nowhere to be seen.

Well, here we are at the end of 2012 and the majority of organizations are still using desktop phones. Surprising? Not at all. But in looking back over the past three years, there has been a lot of change in the way we look at our devices.

Look around your desk. Did you bring your iPhone or Android tablet to work today? Probably. Do you use it for work? Most likely. Our devices are our life-lines. Without them, we feel disconnected and lost. So while we still rely heavily on our desktop phone, we now have a partner in crime – our mobile devices.

Welcome to BYOD. “Bring Your Own Device” is a trend that’s becoming second nature to employees throughout both the enterprise and contact center. BYOD makes IT folks cringe due to security issues. But like it or not, BYOD is here to stay.

Today’s tech-savvy employees expect to work seamlessly from one device to the next just like customers expect to interact with companies from any device at any time. Employees want access to everything from the company network and email, to the wireless network and apps – and all from their mobile phone, tablet, or any other “smart” device of their choosing.

While multi-device access can be a significant productivity boon, not all enterprises or contact centers offer support for these countless devices and operating systems because of security threats. Personal devices have different security settings, which can open the corporate network to unwelcome viruses. Access to files on the network also means that confidential company information is floating from device to device, creating additional security threats.

Despite these security issues, however, companies are increasingly pushed to embrace BYOD because of the aforementioned productivity benefits. In fact, a joint Jabra and Frost & Sullivan survey says that already 67 percent of employees use smartphones and 55 percent use tablets at work.

So how can companies safely embrace the inevitable? Here are some tips:

  • Give Modified Access – IT departments should grant modified access to the basics.
  • Move Slowly – Start off with a small and trusted test group with access to just a few devices, then expand after the kinks have been worked out.
  • Educate – Educate employees about how your company is approaching BYOD, security risks, and best practices.

Has your company made progress toward supporting BYOD? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Tim Passios