COMPANY CULTURE / JUN. 07, 2014
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SMB Culture: How BYOD is Reshaping Corporate Workforce Trends and Policies

When you think of SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses,) do you think of a meekly funded hipster hub that’s based in an office that’s the size of a shoe box? A few years ago you would’ve been right, especially the part about these office spaces being the size of a shoe box.

These days however, SMBs are all the rage offering workers a trendy, tech-savvy workspace, and creating an equally dynamic workplace culture that’s non-existent in more traditionally operated companies. They are also introducing policies and workplace culture shifts that are emerging in larger companies as well, these changes are harbouring concerns and challenges for companies (large and small) that are redefining workplace policies and culture.

The BYOD Trend

One of the most unique characteristics of working in a SMB environment is that employees get to exercise the BYOD (bring your own device) option. A good majority of smaller companies operate on a tight budget hence why employees are encouraged to bring their own laptops etc. This option is the norm for many employees of SMBs, including startup companies as well which have spawned a different approach to workplace norms.

The emergence of BYOD is something that is occurring in traditionally governed companies as well, but this emergence is posing and providing very different aspects of company work life.

Egnyte’s excellent infographic looks at how traditional companies are adopting and adapting to one of the practises that was previously only seen in SMBs. A large number American SMBs (68%) exercise the BYOD option and there has been a significant rise of employees who work for larger companies (89%) that are connecting to their company’s network via their own devices as well.

This surge in personal device use has created a conflict of security for larger companies, despite a large fraction of companies (65%) permitting employees to access company networks and data, lots of companies (91%) restrict employees from accessing user-access material and sites on their devices.

At least 70% of companies believe that allowing employees to connect to company networks is “somewhat important” or “essential,” also there are a moderate fraction of companies (30%) have policies in place to regulate BYOD in the workplace. What’s interesting about this is that few companies (15%) endorse consumer-grade cloud service usage, but despite this a majority of employees (58%) are ignoring company sanctions and opt to use them.

How BYOD Threatens Company Security

In a separate analysis of BYOD in the workplace, NComputing have conducted a survey recently that surveyed 300 IT professionals who worked for companies supporting their mobile desktops and devices. The individuals that were surveyed worked for companies that had 100-2,000 employees where staff used tablet devices, the findings are as follows:

  • 75% of respondents stated that they were concerned about the safety of company data because of employee access to it via tablet devices.
  • 43% of respondents stated that they were concerned about user privacy.
  • 83% of respondents stated that allowing employees access to business applications and data via personal devices would have a mid to high impact on business.

Other findings of this survey show that 97% of respondents feel that employees were able to perform their jobs more efficiently when they used their own devices in the workplace to access business applications and data.

It is clear that employee preferences towards using their own mobile devices in the workplace is altering the way companies are coping with the trend that is showing no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future. Employees are also embracing the idea of BYOD as a way of streamlining work-related documents, emails and data which they can access at any time in response to increased working hours, and the digital flexibility that it allows in the workplace.

Companies are now faced with the challenge of appeasing employee attitudes toward BYOD whilst at the same time, protecting company data. What merely was a SMB workplace habit is now a wide-spread workplace trend that is taking centre stage of debates surrounding its effects on corporate company security, culture and policies.

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