SMBs embrace mobility but unclear on BYOD

by Sohini Bagchi    Jun 10, 2013

mobile byod

There has been a steady increase in the number of Indian SMBs embracing mobile solutions at the core of their business. With more and more companies allowing employees to bring their choice of device such as tablets, smartphones and laptops, experts believe that the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is gaining traction among smaller businesses. However most of these firms are still ambiguous of the term ‘BYOD’ and do not have a policy in place.

According to a recent AMI-Partners study, SMBs are undoubtedly displaying high levels of mobile device penetration. This is especially true for medium businesses where 55 per cent interviewed allow tablets and 80-85 per cent encourages the use of employee smartphones and wireless internet cards to access corporate data. However, in most cases, BYOD policies are not being followed by SMBs.

The AMI study clearly notes that SMBs consider mobile devices are paramount to increase productivity. Moreover they do not wish to deprive employees of the benefits and support their bringing device in their workplace, which they are already familiar. There is also a cost saving benefit, since the SMB no longer needs to buy specific devices. However, there is still an air of ambiguity among mid-size businesses when it comes to embracing BYOD policies, believes Rati Ghose, Director – Market Insights, AMI-Partners India, which is mainly due to the security of these devices. According to experts, the plug and play nature of BYOD, which is one of its benefits, it is also one of its biggest weaknesses, since this concept allows an organization to face multiple security concerns.

As Rohit Jalan, Business Development Executive at Linc Pen believes that mobility is a way of life for corporates in today’s era, but doesn’t clearly see the need for BYOD policy in his organization so soon. “We have a hosted mail server and each employee has their own login to their email account. The security threats are controlled by the security software running at the server level,” he says.

Despite the threats that abound with a BYOD policy, SMBs are not taking enough precautions. The time and cost organizations need to spend on proper BYOD policies seems daunting to the SMBs.
-Rati Ghose, Director – Market Insights, AMI-Partners India

Similarly Satyabrata Biswas, Systems Manager at Suraksha, Polyclinic, a mid-sized diagnostic center believes BYOD as a term is confusing. “You can’t use the term as loosely as it is been used in the tech world today. The market is nascent with respect to usage policies and security. Mobile devices are more and more subject to viruses and other security flaws and can be passed on to a corporate network if not secured properly,” he says. Biswas believes that although mobile devices are an excellent means to communicate with remote employees as business managers expect quick and real time feedback from employees to increase bottomline, it is also true that maintaining the support cost of BYOD is high, which often becomes a problem for smaller companies like us.

The pitfalls with respect to data security etc are a reality, mentions Ghose with most senior managers and CIOs in the SMB space are grappling with the trend itself and moreover, they deal with these issues on an ad hoc basis. “Despite the threats that abound with a BYOD policy, SMBs are not taking enough precautions. The time and cost organizations need to spend on proper BYOD policies seems daunting to the SMBs. Most have restricted applications on the device to mails or minimal Intranet applications,” says Ghose. However, she believes that like any other technology adoption, this too will come in a Wave of adoption. Once the policies are in place for Enterprises and SMBs see the value by allowing greater access to the corporate network and system, they will also see value in investing in structured BYOD policies.