3 hidden costs of BYOD – and what to do about them

When deciding on a mobile strategy, here are three hidden costs of BYOD companies need to consider. 

We recently discussed some of the alternatives to BYOD that companies can use to improve user mobility without adding as many security, legal and other risks.

BYOD does have its benefits, but in addition to those new risks, it can add costs too. In fact, despite spending less on hardware and cellular plans, companies actually report they spend more to manage personal devices.

Here are some of the hidden costs that make BYOD more expensive:

1. Cellular contract costs

At many companies, employees who bring their own devices are responsible for paying for the device and any cellular and data service. However, in other cases — often for employees whose jobs require heavy mobile use — the company foots some or all of the bill. And those companies are seeing their costs increase with BYOD.

The reason: Companies are dealing with more carriers and missing out on volume discounts. Overall, 57% of organizations believe mobile costs will increase next year, with 8% expecting an increase of more than 25%, according to a recent survey from iPass and MobileIron.

2. Configuration and support

In addition to the money spent on cellular service, BYOD can also increase costs by creating more work for the IT department. That’s especially the case as organizations are becoming more lenient in what devices they allow employees to bring to work. More than half (55%) of the IT pros surveyed said their organization recently changed its BYOD policy to allow more personal devices to be used.

Increases in the number and variety of personal devices makes it more difficult to onboard and support those devices. And in fact, the IT pros surveyed said their top BYOD challenge was approving, configuring and supporting personal devices to access the corporate network.

3. Exceptions to the BYOD policy

Many organizations spend more on managing BYOD because the policy often isn’t equal for everyone in the company — for example, executives are often allowed to use a personal device that other employees wouldn’t be able to.

In fact, 55% of IT pros said they’ve had to make exceptions to the policy to meet an executive’s demands.

The solution? It depends on the company. Ideally, the solution would be to explain to the executive the reasons for not supporting that particular device. In many cases, he or she will understand — but in others, IT will have no choice.

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