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What is BYOD? Levelling Up Collaboration With Secure BYOD Video Conferencing

Since the Covid-19 Pandemic and the increase in remote and hybrid work models, more organisations are adopting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

So, what is BYOD and how can it benefit your company?

BYOD supports the usage of employees personal smartphones, tablets, laptops, and USB drives for work activities. This can include accessing work emails, connecting to the company network, and using corporate apps and data.

BYOD doesn’t simply eliminate the need for employees to carry separate work and personal phones, it can also offer increased productivity, flexibility and cost savings on hardware, as employees can work comfortably on their preferred devices from any location.

Using communication systems that fully support BYOD enable high quality and interactive video conference solutions with employees securely using devices that they are familiar with.

The freedom to connect to an organisation’s data, network and systems from any personal device might seem daunting for some companies. A strong and robust BYOD policy, that employees sign up to, sets out the expectations from the company in terms of security measures, employee responsibility, acceptable devices and acceptable usage. In short, a BYOD policy ensures strong security practices are adhered to when accessing sensitive data on the company network.

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BYOD rooms vs dedicated video conferencing spaces

BYOD offers a unique opportunity to enable employees to present on their preferred devices while accessing company resources. But as with any innovation, BYOD presents both advantages and challenges.

Advantages of BYOD rooms:

  • Increased flexibility and convenience – employees use familiar devices and therefore feel more comfortable to connect and present in meetings
  • Reduce hardware costs – save on purchasing and maintaining dedicated conferencing equipment for each room
  • Improved collaboration – many BYOD solutions enable seamless wireless content sharing and collaboration tools
  • Streamlined IT support – IT teams spend less time troubleshooting compatibility issues with specific conference room equipment allowing them to focus on broader IT needs
  • Simplified remote participation – external guests or remote employees can easily join meetings using their preferred devices, fostering wider participation and inclusivity
  • Increased employee satisfaction – BYOD empowers employees by trusting them to use their preferred communication tools

Disadvantages:

  • Compatibility – a variety of devices with different operating systems and features can lead to connection or functionality problems
  • Security – connecting personal devices (employees and guests) to the company network raises security risks
  • Technical support – IT teams may face increased demands to support a wider range of devices
  • Data management – mixing of personal and company information
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Dedicated video conferencing spaces differ from BYOD rooms in that they comprise inbuilt hardware typically controlled by a single AV control system.

Advantages of dedicated video conferencing rooms:

  • Enhanced quality and reliability – dedicated rooms are equipped with high-definition cameras, microphones and speakers optimised for video conferencing
  • Seamless connectivity – dedicated systems are pre-configured for seamless connection to popular video conferencing platforms
  • Improved user experience – dedicated rooms offer intuitive interfaces and user-friendly controls, making it easy for participants to join meetings, share content and collaborate effectively
  • Security and compliance – dedicated systems often come with built-in security features to protect sensitive information shared during video conferences
  • Professional presentation – dedicated conference rooms create a professional and polished environment for video meetings. This can leave a positive impression on clients, partners, and remote employees

Disadvantages:

  • Set-up cost – initial investment in purchasing and installing dedicated video conferencing equipment can be significant
  • Underutilisation – if not properly scheduled and utilised, dedicated conference rooms can become expensive unused spaces
  • Scheduling challenges – limited number of dedicated rooms can lead to scheduling conflicts, especially for companies with frequent video conferencing needs
  • Maintenance requirements – dedicated systems require regular maintenance and software updates to ensure optimal performance
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BYOD video conferencing systems

Wireless video conference systems can help manage the potential risks of BYOD as their systems can integrate with existing security solutions to ensure only authorised devices can connect to the video conferencing network. This reduces the risk of potential data breaches from unauthorised devices.

These standardised video conference systems can offer a consistent experience for all attendees regardless of whether they are accessing via smartphone, tablet or laptop device. This minimises the compatibility issues and ensures everyone has access to the same features and functionalities.

Wireless video conference systems such as Barco Clickshare and Yealink have a range of innovations which offer flexible and collaborative meetings. 

These BYOD systems can be centrally managed by IT teams which allows for easier configuration, updates, and troubleshooting, reducing the burden on individual employees and improving overall system efficiency. They also come with the following features making them an attractive prospect for companies looking to implement BYOD who may have concerns with security, collaboration, or maintaining high quality video conferencing:

  • Wireless content sharing 
  • Real-time digital whiteboarding capabilities
  • Flexible screen layouts 
  • Seamless integration with cloud collaboration tools

These innovative features of wireless video conferencing systems go beyond basic video calls, fostering a more dynamic, collaborative and flexible meeting experience for participants both in the room and joining remotely, regardless of the device they are joining on.

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Does your company have a BYOD policy?

It comes as no surprise that tech companies were implementing successful BYOD policies long before remote and hybrid working became mainstream.

For example, Intel and SAP have well-established BYOD policies that prioritise security while offering employees flexibility. Intel allows employees to choose their access level based on security needs, while SAP provides a dedicated mobile platform for work access.

Even in industries traditionally reliant on company-issued devices, BYOD is gaining traction. Some companies like Ford began considering BYOD programmes as early as 2007 for specific tasks, which has expanded over time to allow engineers, for example, to use personal tablets for diagnostics or schematics while maintaining strict security protocols.

What are the component parts of a BYOD policy?

Below are some examples to consider when writing a BYOD policy:

  • List of permitted devices
  • Security management
  • Data management
  • Required, permitted, or prohibited apps
  • Acceptable use

Permitted devices

With such a wide variety of hardware available (smartphones, laptops, tablets etc.), it is important to specify the approved devices to ensure only secure and supported devices are in use.

Security management

To ensure BYOD security, a Mobile Device Management (MDM) system is essential. MDM enforces the policy, controls unauthorised access, and minimises mobile threats. The policy should also set expectations for strong screen lock passwords, data encryption, up-to-date anti-virus/anti-malware software, user re-authentication, and regular software, system, and app updates. These measures safeguard company data while employees use their personal devices.

Data management

A robust data management process is crucial. This separates business and personal data, allowing for easy remote wipe of company information upon employee departure or if an employee’s device is lost or stolen.

Required, permitted or prohibited apps

With malware-infected mobile apps on the rise, it is important to exercise a degree of control and highlight the ones that the company feels are low risk.

Acceptable use

Although forming part of a general IT policy, it is advisable to highlight again under the BYOD policy what constitutes acceptable use. For example, to ensure employees are not accessing undesirable or illegal content, or disseminate inappropriate material – especially when connected through the company network. Therefore, it’s crucial to evaluate the monitoring tools that are in place to enforce these specific BYOD policy elements.

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What type of data can be accessed through BYOD?

While a BYOD policy can often provide employees with the same level of access to company resources as company-owned devices, exceptions exist. Organisations dealing with highly sensitive data are subjected to stricter regulations, for example government departments and financial institutions. Therefore, IT departments may restrict access on personal devices and opt for secure corporate devices instead.

The level of data access granted to employees varies depending on an organisation’s risk profile, security needs and policies. Here’s a breakdown of common access tiers:

Level 1: Basic Access

This level allows employees to use personal devices to access company email and work calendars.

Level 2: Controlled Access

This level grants employees entry to a wider range of resources like data and applications. Data encryption and other data loss prevention techniques are typically implemented to safeguard sensitive information.

Level 3: Full Access

This grants employees complete access to all company resources, including confidential data and applications. However, careful consideration must be given to balancing convenience with security risk.

Deciding which access level is right for your organisation is clearly an important initial step when implementing BYOD, to make sure you find the right balance between employee flexibility and data security.

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How to know if BYOD is right for your organisation

Choosing the right solution requires careful consideration of several key factors.

Organisations should begin with a needs assessment, evaluating factors like frequency of use, typical participant numbers, collaboration requirements, security needs, user experience, and budget constraints. 

Next comes solution comparison. BYOD options need to be assessed for compatibility with employee devices and operating systems, while security features of both BYOD and dedicated solutions must be compared against the organisation’s needs. Technical support availability and integration capabilities with existing communication tools are also important. Finally, scalability is essential, ensuring the chosen solution can grow alongside the organisation’s video conferencing demands.

Deployment and implementation involve planning for training on BYOD usage, potentially setting device compatibility guidelines, and for dedicated conference rooms, designing the system and choosing the right equipment.

By carefully considering these decisions, organisations can make an informed choice between BYOD rooms and dedicated video conferencing spaces, optimising their communication and collaboration strategy.

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Conclusion

The rise of remote and hybrid working has transformed communication and collaboration in the modern workplace. BYOD offers increased flexibility and convenience, cost advantages, improved collaboration, streamlined IT support and an increase in employee satisfaction through allowing employees to use their own familiar devices. 

But the success of BYOD hinges on a well-defined BYOD policy, robust security measures and employee training on cybersecurity best practices. Therefore choosing the right high quality video conferencing solution requires careful consideration of an organisation’s specific needs. 

Ultimately, the best solution hinges on factors like frequency of use, number of participants, collaboration needs, security requirements, budget and available space. Carefully assessing these factors will help organisations make an informed decision between BYOD or dedicated video conferencing rooms. 

By considering their unique needs and the capabilities of both BYOD and dedicated solutions, organisations can make an informed choice which maximises communication and collaboration in today’s hybrid work environment. 

Here at Digital Vision AV, we believe in installing the right BYOD solution for your organisation, taking the unique needs of each business into consideration. If you need help or have questions around the implementation of BYOD, contact us today.

Digital Vision AV are video conferencing experts providing leading collaboration solutions to organisations in a range of industries, so get in touch with us today or simply call us on 01442 620078 to discover how you can benefit from BYOD.

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