3Pointer: 5 (Shocking) Trends That Confirm: BYOD is Here to Stay
The new guy sitting at the small business conference table is Bring Your Own Device (or BYOD for short—a concept similar to BYOB, but not nearly as much fun). One thing about BYOD you should take note of: he’s not going away.
By 2020, it’s expected that 60% of employees will use BYOD, a policy where company employees use their “personal” smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices for work purposes (IT ProPortal). The concept is economical and convenient for both employer and employee. After all, why invest in technology that people already have?
At first pass, BYOD for small business is a win-win. Take another look though, and the topic gets a bit murky thanks to eyebrow-raising changes emerging in the United States court system.
Over the last 18 months, the courts have begun developing case law (law established by the outcome of previous cases) on BYOD. The intent is to define the parameters of company systems, and data, on personal devices. Case law is important because it sets precedents for future court cases. Based on legal work to date, here are five emerging trends you should know.
More and More employers are allowing employees using their own devices (BYOD) on the company network. There are two types BYOD situations. First is the unsanctioned BYOD device, where an employee wants email on their phone for their own convenience. Typically, this is not a considered a reimbursable expense by the employer as it’s more of an understanding that productivity and workplace communication will now be easier for the employee. In contrast, some employers require employees to use their own mobile devices for business, and typically provide some type of reimbursable incentive. This is called sanctioned BYOD. Lookout, a cybersecurity company out of San Francisco, just completed the State of Federal BYOD survey. The results show how unsanctioned BYOD poses security risks (insert Hillary Clinton’s email debacle here). Consider this: 24% of Federal employees send work documents to their personal emails accounts and nearly 40% are “willing to sacrifice government security to use a personal mobile device at work” despite the risks of cybersecurity (Lookout). For small business, the lesson is to make sure you understand and define BYOD polices from the get-go.
Companies must reimburse employees who use their own devices. According to the courts, not reimbursing your employees for use of their cellphones is called involuntary wage reduction. What happens when you violate this policy? You risk a lawsuit, which you then have to disclose. It’s costly, and a judgment against you remains on your company’s record forever.
Companies have the right to wipe all personal data off a BYOD device. Having your device wiped clean is a risk that employees take when they agree to use their mobile device on the company network. Since business data resides on personal devices, an employer has the option to remove it if the employee quits, is terminated, or the device is lost. If an employer deletes an employee’s “personal” data while wiping a device, the courts have ruled in many cases that the employer is not liable. (Backup those pictures from Hawaii)
Electronic holds are legal. If an employer is involved in a lawsuit, and there is email, financial or other electronic data housed on a BYOD device, an electronic hold may be placed on that device by the courts, even if the employee is no longer employed by the company. This creates a challenging situation for employers and employees, and can lead to sanctions by the courts if the legal holds are not honored.
After-hours work is now a sanctioned environment. If you require an hourly employee to monitor their phone after work hours then he or she must be paid for it. In these instances, hourly employees (those who are paid on an hourly basis) may be eligible for overtime pay.
As technology experts, we constantly reevaluate BYOD because it is a workplace tool in flux. Our end goal is to make sure productivity and security remain high and our employees are happy with the policy too. While we have no crystal ball, we do see more blurred lines emerging between home and work when it comes to technology. How those lines converge will be something 3Points pledges to share with you in the days ahead.
If you would like to learn more about the BYOD solutions 3-Points is planning to provide, please contact your account manager or the 3Points sales department at (708) 491-0300. Or feel free to email us.
1. T ProPortal, “BYOD: What to Expect in 2015,” by Abby Perkins, January 24, 2015.
2. Lookout, “Lookout Study: Nearly 40 Percent of Government Employees Ignore Policies Prohibiting Mobile Device Use, Put Sensitive Data at Risk” press release, August 19, 2015.
Product Focus: Windows 10 Update
Mike Magnesen, 3Points Tech Team
From a technology perspective, it feels like my birthday. My cake (angel food with vanilla frosting, just in case you were wondering) has 10 candles on it … as in Windows 10. It. Is. Here.
For months now, I’ve been playing with Windows 10 beta versions and having a ball doing it. When I got the final release mid-summer, I tossed my Windows 8.1 aside like a tattered pair of Chuck Taylor high tops. Windows 10, how do I say you’re the best of the past and future? Well, you are. I love having the start menu back (Windows 8.1 users, rejoice!)—a savvy mash-up of the traditional menu format and metro tiles. Cortana, you’re so intuitive as a personal assistant; you just seem to “get” me. Bye, bye, Internet Explorer, I grieve not for you. Edge edged you out. Oh, and I would be remiss to not address Continuum, a Windows 10 feature that sports seamless integration across all my devices. Makes my life flow easier, that’s for sure.
A bit more detail on what makes these upgrades sing. First, virtual assistant Cortana can be configured for voice activation, allowing you to just say “Hey Cortana!” followed by a command like “Remind me to dial up Frank next week.” Honestly, it makes Siri look downright feeble-minded; Cortana is much more intuitive.
Also, Windows 10 gives you interaction with your PC similar to the kind you’re used to with your phone. The Edge browser may be the first suitor worthy of prying you away from Chrome (or Firefox and Safari, all heavy users of memory and server resources). You’ll be pleasantly surprised by Edge’s minimalistic overhaul, enhanced security, and less resource-intensive features.
A few housekeeping notes: the actual upgrade process is easy. Windows 10’s minimum system requirements are about the same as Windows 8.1. Before upgrading, consider: are your applications currently Windows 10 compatible and supported (if you’re not sure, we can tell you this)? If your apps worked and were compatible in Windows 8.1, they’re likely going to be compatible with Windows 10. HOWEVER, that does not mean that your third-party support vendor will support Windows 10 just yet. By far, this is one of the most important question to ask before running the update.
Ok, so I’ve gone through all the gotcha’s. Let’s say you know that your system is supported and can run Windows 10. What now?
Use the search feature on your start menu and click or type “Get Windows 10.” Find the upgrade app, then click “Reserve Your Free Upgrade” to join the upgrade queue. If you don’t see it, you may need to ensure all of your Windows updates are current. If you’re still having challenges, call us!
The upgrades take about 20 to 40 minutes depending on your setup. The cool thing is, it hardly requires any interaction (although you can’t use the computer while it’s upgrading). The download itself is about 4 to 5GB so the longest part may be just downloading Windows 10 (20 minutes to a couple hours, depending upon your Internet connection).
Of course, the big wow is that WINDOWS 10 IS FREE for the first year for almost all Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users! After the first year, the Professional Edition will cost $200. Microsoft may extend the free period but, for now, that’s the plan from the folks in Redmond, Washington.
CRITCAL NOTE: If you are using your PC in a work environment, 3Points recommends that you wait to upgrade to Windows 10. There may be many incompatibilities that exist in a business network that may not be apparent on your PC. Please contact 3Points for advice on whether or not upgrading to Windows 10 is appropriate for you.
1. See a great, in-depth review of Windows 10 and find out why it scored 91 out of a hundred by Engadget.
2. Read a good, quick Windows 10 overview.
3. Read a Windows 10 article from Small Business Computing.
How 3Points Moves Your Small Business Forward
A Conversation with 3Points Sales Engineering Manager Frank Anderson about the Tech Team, How our product testing Impacts Small Businesses Growth, and the Importance of Eating Your Own Dog Food
What is the 3Points Tech Team?
The 3Points Tech Team is a group of people dedicated to technology research and development for small business. The group includes about a dozen representatives from all of 3Points’ departments: Help Desk, Project, Operations, Customer Service, R&D, and the Sales Department.
Who leads the charge?
Ryan Hertz is the Research & Development Lead. He’s in charge of the Tech Team and he keeps us organized.
Do you all wear Google glasses and Apple watches to meetings?
Some do! Our real focus is figuring out the best technology for small business. We meet for a full day once a month. The first half of the meeting, we evaluate technology standards, introduce new ones to the group and look at products to replace End of Life technologies. The second half we’re in the lab! We test out and try new technologies on ourselves. It’s important to eat your own dog food.
What kind of dog food have you eaten this year?
1. We researched and tested a product called Wyse the mobile thin client, a technology that allows you to take the old school terminals on the go and connected them to Remote Desktop Server (RDS). The battery life was a problem. We ended up not recommending it.
2. We approved the Intel NUC mini-computer because it is a low cost PC and it fits nicely into conference room settings at about the size of an Apple TV.
3. We successfully launched the 3Points PURE Hosted Server, a hosted solution using virtual private cloud (VPC) technology. The Tech Team looked at the best way to build a cost-effective, elastic hosted environment. After extensive testing, we found the perfect solution that allows our clients to add additional computing resources (memory, hard drive space, additional servers) on the fly as they grow, rather than having to make hardware purchases most business owners are used to with on-premises systems. We now have a number of clients in a completely virtual environment.
How long has the Tech Team been around?
We’ve always had a research and development group in some form at 3Points, but it has grown since our start in 2001. Over the last couple of years, we’ve actually evolved Tech Team into its own department giving it more structure complete with a Manager and Lead.
Why is the 3Points Tech Team important to clients?
Clients benefit because technology and small business growth run parallel. We are an extension of our client’s cutting edge technology standards, a real growth catalyst for them.
We want to get a jump start on new technologies, really know them inside and out, and recommend or not recommend them with data-proven reasoning. We’re the first to touch a new technology before clients even hear about it. We’re the pioneering technology arm of 3Points.
What’s the biggest technology challenge for small business?
Technology doesn’t stand still. We live in a fast-paced world with evolving technology. It can seem that one day, something is a standard and the next day it’s not. With small business, the trend is people using consumer products because they don’t have enterprise restrictions. That’s not always a good idea, so, the Tech Team identifies solutions that work. We also need to stand ready for when clients say: “I’ve heard about this technology. What do you think?” We test and approve technologies to the point where we can confidently say: “No, because we ran into this problem” or “It’s ready to be deployed, this is a good thing for your business.”
Business owners are getting more and more tech savvy and paying attention to what’s out there. This trend will continue. Microsoft 365 is a good example of business owners being well-informed. They know others who have used it or already use it themselves personally. They are getting more educated on what’s out there. As they become more sophisticated, our Tech Team becomes more consultative and tells them about the pitfalls, risks and virtues of specific technology. Our recommendations during audits are based on standards that come out of the Tech Team.
What are three things you’re most proud of with the Tech Team?
We are people who are passionate about technology and pioneering. 2. Standards are critical for us and our clients. The Tech Team helps forces us to be experts in those standards. 3. We document everything: hardware set-up, troubleshooting, installs. Clients benefit from a reliable, repeatable process. We’ve run the technology through its paces.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just read up on it?
We all have PC Magazine in our backpacks, trust me! The lab, though, and our collaborative approach defines the Tech Team’s outcomes. We take all the new and current technology and validate our recommendations with our own two hands. Can we support it? Are we knowledgeable about it? Most people evaluate technology from a cost standpoint. We look at technology holistically: Will this be a good solution for small business? Is it technically viable?
It’s easy for companies to get stagnant with technology after four or five years. We want to be on the forefront. Sometimes that means not upgrading or skipping the latest and greatest techno innovation. Our benchmark is building small business with technology. The Tech Team is on the cutting edge. We’re are always finding out how to do that.
Is Megabit on the 3Points Tech Team?
Of course! He’s our superhero. We’re those guys behind the scenes in the lab working on the solutions, the ones coming up with the fancy tool belt for him. Every superhero has to have his people back in the lab.
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