(This post kindly sponsored by Dell)
One of the most common complaints in large companies is just how dreadful corporate supplied equipment is. Wheezing old laptops running out of date Windows, using ancient browsers, hamstrung by lousy anti-virus programs. The time between booting up and being able to work is often long enough to make a coffee, have a biscuit, read the morning paper, and contemplate your future with the company.
Phones aren't much better. Best case scenario you get given the phone from the person who previously had your job and you have to spend half a day wiping their finger-grease off the screen. Worst case? "We've got you this BlackBerry you can use..."
Either way, you're now stuck carrying two phones - not ideal.
That's where the drive for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) comes from. You have a phone. Everyone has a phone. You probably have a laptop too. Why does a company need to supply you with a device which doesn't meet your lifestyle needs?
Aside from "well, that's just what we've always done," the big issue is security. How does a business make sure that only authorised people can get access to their information? What happens if a phone is left in a bar, or a laptop is stolen from a café?
Modern smartphones now support a plethora of security tools which allow a company to securely manage their employee's devices.
Android Device Administration is an excellent tool. Company administrators can set minimum password standards, ensure that storage is encrypted, and even disable the camera if a worker is in a sensitive facility. If a device goes missing it can either be located or remotely wiped.
Similar services are also available for iPhone, Windows, and BlackBerry - assuming that the user is willing to have such features activated on her phone.
For laptops, the situation is slightly different. By storing the majority of company information in Cloud Services, there is less sensitive information left on the laptop. With the use of a good password policy and two-factor-authentication, businesses should be able to secure their data from unauthorised access.
BYOD isn't a universal panacea - good businesses should be providing decent tools for their employees where needed - but adopting sensible policies which don't place too great a burden on the user, are a great way to mitigate the risks.
You can find out more about Dell's BYOD services via this infographic.