Should a Company Provide Corporate-issued Devices to Its Employees?

man working from home

In a globalized and hyper-connected world, companies need to recognize the importance of remote work. Allowing your employees to work from anywhere in the world makes them more productive. In turn, it also benefits your business. It comes with a price, though. When employees work from their homes, coffee shops, or any other location in the world, what device should the use? How can companies be assured that they are accessing files and systems from a secure connection?

Employees need mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and portable WiFi or lots of mobile data to work remotely. For many small- and medium-sized businesses, the cost of providing this equipment and resources is too much for the company to shoulder. So, they result in reimbursing their employees instead. Most workers have personal devices such as mobile phones and laptops, anyway. They can use those for work while the company reimburses them for the data they use. This is a movement that has become a norm in recent years, but many employees balk at the idea of losing their personal devices for work.

There is a good reason for this. What happens if their laptops crashed? Is the company going to pay for its repair? If they need some repair for their iPhone screen repair, can they reimburse that from the company? The management may say that it’s not their fault their laptops and phones crashed or broke. That’s true. But if the employees are using their personal devices for work, that creates confusion over who is responsible for the maintenance of these things.

The Risks of Using the Employees’ Personal Devices

Letting your employees use their own devices comes with a risk, of course. Laptops and mobile phones are always at the risk of getting stolen or lost. When that happens, it doesn’t take for an experienced hacker to access your systems. Once they have the devices with the right credentials, they can easily access encrypted data and other important documents.

Aside from that, not every one of your employees is an IT specialist. This meant that they may not know how to properly upgrade and update their devices. They may not always have the latest anti-virus software that will keep hackers at bay. A poorly protected device makes a company’s data and information vulnerable to cybercriminals.

And then, there’s also the issue of unsecured networks. When you allow people to work from any location, that also means they are going to use vulnerable and unsecured networks. Coffee shops, airports, co-working spaces, and even their own homes are prime targets for hackers and phishing scams. Once the cybercriminals hacked into a device, it only takes a few minutes for them to access encrypted data that your employees are privy to.

The Benefits of Issuing Company-provided Devices

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If your company can afford it, it’s always much better to purchase corporate accounts and devices and provide them to your employees. In this kind of set up, the company is responsible for choosing the carrier, hardware, and operating system. They can control the updates and upgrades. They will be the ones to purchase the programs that their employees need. The compatibility of these devices to the systems in the office will make the work more seamless.

On the financial side, it is also more cost-effective for employers to shoulder the expenses of company-issued devices. When you reimburse employees, you are paying for their individual rate plans. You’re also covering their personal use of the devices. But if you establish a business line for multiple devices, you are going to get a better deal from your service provider. The more lines you subscribe to, the better the deal you are going to receive from mobile phone providers.

Not All Companies Can Afford to Issue Devices

Of course, it is completely understandable that small businesses do not have the money to pay for corporate-issued devices. Your only choice is to let your employees bring and use their own devices. But to make this work for your business, you must set clear policies on security and maintenance. Make sure that you have access only to business-related data, and not your employees’ personal files. You should also cover expenses that your employees may incur in terms of cloud services and data protection. That’s fair enough since you won’t be buying the actual devices.

One of the goals of your business should be to provide corporate-issued phones and laptops to your employees. In this digitalized world, there is no reason why you shouldn’t invest in devices that will make your business more competitive. Providing devices to your employees will boost their morale and make them more productive.

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