BYO device consideration is now turning to BYO apps, and influencing IT professionals within the company. Though there are security concerns, benefits may still make this trend a value-addition for SMBs.
Though the BYO trend within enterprises has primarily been concerned with employees bringing their own devices to be used on corporate networks and projects, another usage is emerging. BYOA, or Bring Your Own Apps, refers to the growing employee tech-adoption that is impacting the workplace. Research from cloud and mobile service provider LogMeIn shows that 70 percent of SMBs report BYOA activity that covers various consumer categories. Many employers expect this trend to continue - one-third see it increasing over the next five years. Despite a lack of IT preparedness (only 22 percent consider themselves ready), and 43 percent are concerned with lack of control, most expect to embrace and encourage the use of apps in the near future.
Employees introduce all manner of apps that are often endorsed by the company
Employees are using cloud sync and storage apps such as LogMeIn’s Cubby service, Dropbox or SkyDrive; collaboration apps (join.me, Skype, GoToMeeting), productivity apps (Google Docs, Evernote), and social apps (Yammer, LinkedIn). These social, cloud sync and storage apps are entering the workplace often because employees use them in their personal lives, and use them at work: 69 percent of social apps and 52 percent of cloud sync/storage apps used within SMBs were brought in by employees. The study also shows that employers have been encouraging the trends themselves, asking employees to bring and recommend more work-oriented apps to the workplace - 39 percent of productivity apps and 44 percent of collaboration apps that are used at SMBs were introduced in this way. Among both of these app categories, 26 percent were later officially endorsed by employers.
After weighing risks and benefits, SMBs plan their strategies for handling BYOA
With this more open policy on employee apps, IT professionals have had to assess the possible risks as well as the benefits. A majority of IT pros in SMBs is concerned with data security of cloud apps, as well as cloud sync and storage apps. But nearly half consider flexibility an important benefit of BYOA, and 37 percent value how it can expose gaps in what they need in the workplace. For many SMBs, the benefits of BYOA outweigh the risks, and many are developing policies that manage apps through various strategies. Some rely on the honor system (26 percent), some block app sites (21 percent), and some don’t manage it at all (23 percent). But most agree that this trend will require IT pros to develop their skill sets to manage the changing environment.