BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) was once an out-of-the-norm workforce trend commonly seen at the more progressive startup companies. Although many small-to-medium sized businesses initially resisted the BYOD movement, it has proven its worth. BYOD improves employee efficiency and overall job satisfaction, and also helps businesses and organizations save on equipment costs since each employee doesn’t necessarily need their own desktop PC or company-issued laptop.

The number of employees using personal mobile devices for work purposes is expected to double by the year 2015. Gartner, an IT market research company, predicts that by 2017 nearly half of all employers will require employees to use their own mobile devices for work.

Years ago, any employee bold enough to connect his or her personal laptop to an enterprise network would be strongly reprimanded for breaching security. Today, Cisco Systems, Inc. has found that 78% of white-collar workers in the U.S. admit to using personal devices for work purposes – with many using their mobile devices to check email or access network platforms without the knowledge of their employer.

A March 2013 survey conducted by F5 Networks, Inc. found that 75% of SMBs admit to having no BYOD policy in place that ensures employee-owned devices aren’t exposing their technology infrastructure to security vulnerabilities. Having no BYOD policy in place elevates the risk of a network being exposed to hackers, viruses, and the more sophisticated newer approaches to cybercrime like Trojans, keyloggers, phishing schemes, and malicious apps.

SMBs today are already considerably challenged thanks to limited IT budgets and resources. With data, network systems, and applications now accessible from employee-owned laptops, smartphones, and tablets, SMBs are faced with security risks and operational complexities they’ve never known before. Especially when you consider that these devices are run on multiple operating systems, from multiple remote locations.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that SMBs are now embracing a burgeoning robust solution to managing employee mobile devices. Mobile Device Management (MDM) software allows businesses to manage all BYOD devices remotely through one centralized platform. The software allows in-house IT staff to work on projects that are more profitable than constantly having to secure smartphones and iPads.

With MDM software providing SMBs with a cost-effective and easy-to-manage solution to the security challenges associated with the BYOD movement, more businesses and organizations can safely adapt to this new shift in workforce technology without prompting a business disaster.

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