As a new startup, you have some questions to answer about smartphones. They are just as ubiquitous in the hands of the average worker as Dell’s in a cube farm. Everyone, including the janitorial staff, has a smartphone. Every aspect of your company can be accessed via the smartphone, including the door locks in many cases.
So one of the first smartphone challenges on the table for a new startup is, should you provide company phones to new employees? What are the pros and cons? Whether or not you should provide company phones depends heavily on how you address the following smartphone challenges:
5 Smartphone Challenges Companies Should Fix
1. How Will It Affect Your Ability to Track Down Problems?
Sooner or later, there is going to be a problem. It may be a small as a single mishandled document, or as large as a full-scale data breach. The digital forensics specialists you select for getting to the bottom of it will need low-level access to the smartphone of every employee.
The specialist will need to provide imaging, recovery, and analysis of data from cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. So it may become a barrier if the devices do not belong to the company.
The evidence from the forensic analysis has to hold up in court. Securing the custody chain of the smartphone can play a role. Knowing what type of forensics you will use in a crisis could be the biggest factor in your decision.
2. What Is Your Plan for Preventing Data Breaches?
You need a security plan for preventing data breaches. Tightly controlling access to sensitive data is a start. Do you have the software tools to control that access if your company does not own the smartphones?
Not all MDM solutions are created equally. Some are more secure than others. There is also a big price range within the options. Your security plan will be no better than your weakest link. Controlling all hardware and software may be the easiest way to secure sensitive data, at least in the beginning.
3. Can You Deal With All Smartphones Equally?
It is self-evident that not all smartphones are created equally. You may have in-house software for iOS and Android. But what about Windows Phone? How are you doing with your BB10 implementation? Do you have a version that will run on Symbian? How about Tizen?
The problem is magnified when you consider security updates. Not all smartphones are updated equally. Nothing is updated faster and with less fuss than an iPhone. But even among Android phones, updates are inconsistent, some never receiving them. It depends on the manufacturer, carrier, and business model.
Not having everyone on the same smartphone means not everyone will have the latest security updates, or the latest company software. If everyone does get company software at the same time, it means the software will always be delayed wile being tested for all user device types.
4. Can You Meet All Employee Needs with One Smartphone?
If you decide to go all Android, you will be leaving behind many users of iOS accessibility exclusives like VoiceOver: the builtin screenreader for the blind. Absolutely nothing in the Smartphone realm comes close to matching Apple’s implementation for whole-device accessibility.
But purchasing $650 iPhones for everyone is a lot harder than purchasing $250 Android phones. To meet all needs, a BYOD policy may be best.
5. Can You Afford the Learning Curve?
iOS power users who have been using an iPhone exclusively for the past 10 years are going to find the learning curve to Android rather steep and unpleasant. It will result in a loss of productivity, and a lot of tech support.
The same is true for the person being forced to migrate in the other direction. With BYOD, no learning curve is required, as everyone is already familiar with the operation of their own device.
These are not the only considerations. But they should be enough to help make the decision clear. To go BYOD or not depends on how you are set with learning curve, special needs, software and updates, security, and problem tracking.