Public Sector Embraces BYOD Programs

Businesses have embraced Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs as a way to leverage the power of the mobile devices their employees bring to work every day. Public sector organizations are increasingly recognizing the value of implementing BYOD programs. BYOD can effectively incorporate mobile technology into the public sector if organizations properly manage these programs. The White House recently released a toolkit designed to help federal agencies succeed with BYOD initiatives.

Mobile Device Usage

Smartphone and tablet usage and traffic is on the rise, and experts predict it will continue to increase. According to a mobile device usage report published by Cisco, smartphone usage grew by 81 percent between 2011 and 2012. By the end of 2013, mobile devices are expected to outnumber the entire population of the planet. Employees bring their personal devices with them to work every day, and many access social media, send texts and watch videos throughout the workday. By making BYODan official policy and installing work-related apps on employees’ mobile phones and tablets, public sector employers can integrate employees’ personal and work lives and optimize their productivity.

Cost Savings

Agency trials have shown that, in addition to increased morale and productivity, organizations also save money on computer hardware and software when they implement BYOD. More than 80 percent of employees at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau (TTB) regularly work remotely. Instead of spending $2 million and disrupting the employees’ workflow to replace their outdated desktop and laptop computers, the TTB recently launched a Virtual Desktop that allows employees to use their personal devices to access business apps without business data ever touching a user’s device. Employees work from their personal desktop computers, laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Bring Your Own Smartphone

Similarly, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) made up for cuts to its technology budget with a BYOD pilot program. The agency gave employees the option of turning in their government-issued BlackBerry devices and using their own smartphones or tablets or trading in their BlackBerrys for voice-only cell phones. Employees who opt into the BYOD program pay all voice and data charges for their devices, even those incurred for business use.

Implementing a Program

A public sector organization should create a BYOD policy and implementation plan before launching a BYOD program. A BYOD policy specifies such details as what kinds of devices are eligible for the program and who is responsible for paying data costs. To address security concerns, organizations often install tracking software on an employee’s device so they can monitor and control the way their data is used. If a user’s device downloads an organization’s data, the policy establishes the organization’s right to access the device to comply with legal requirements and to remotely wipe data from the device if it is lost or stolen,

Use of mobile devices will continue to increase. By offering employees the option to use personal equipment to do their work, organizations can build productivity, shrink the budget and make employees’ lives easier.

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