Business mobile phones are a great way for companies to stay in control of the devices used by employees.
But when most employees have their own smartphones (and many pay a premium for the latest versions of their favourite phones), many bosses can see dedicated business phones as an unnecessary expense.
After all, why take on the cost of a phone when employees have their own?
There are advantages and disadvantages to investing in business mobile phones.
Just as there are two sides to letting employees use their own phones and adopting a “Bring Your Own Device” policy to work phones.
In this blog, business mobile phone specialists Communications Plus outlines whether company phones are really worth the investment, and why you might consider them.
Get consistency over business devices
When employees are using their phones for business, you’ll want to have more control over the hardware and software they’re using.
This is particularly true when it comes to software and security updates, and also for compatibility when they need to install apps for business.
Letting employees use their own devices sacrifices this control.
Some employees will have Android phones.
Others will prefer iOS.
While many business applications operate over both Android and iOS, some don’t have joint compatibility.
Others do but could operate slightly differently depending on the system.
This could lead to compatibility issues down the line, which for the business means lost productivity and costs.
Investing in business mobiles creates consistency across the board, ensuring employees can share data and media, or download authorised apps, without worrying about compatibility.
Reduce costs with dedicated business phones
Although you may not think it, investing in business mobile phones can actually work out cheaper than adopting BYOD and supplementing your employees’ costs.
Businesses ordering company phones in larger numbers are able to negotiate better deals on tariffs or find deals that fit their budget.
Employees don’t have this luxury, because they’re negotiating a single contract, so the cost of supplementing several individual contracts could be more expensive.
Not only that, business mobile phones are an allowable expense.
This means you can offset much of the initial capital investment for the devices, and the ongoing usage costs.
It’s also easier to do this with dedicated business phones because you can claim all the costs.
With a personal phone, you can only claim back a certain percentage of the costs associated with the phone’s usage.
Plus, you’ll also lose time trying to determine how much of the individual’s phone usage was for business, and how much was personal.
Benefit from easier mobile device management
Along with the potential application compatibility issues, allowing employees to use their own phones makes it much harder to manage devices, or figure out what devices are being used in your business.
This can be a nightmare when it comes to management, IT support and security.
Especially considering nearly 20% of employees use their personal mobile phones for work without telling their employer or IT department.
You have no oversight over what devices employees are using, or what applications they’re downloading when employees use their own phone.
This is a problem because not all consumer applications (like games) are built with the highest level of security.
All it takes is one vulnerable app to create a pathway into your business’ sensitive information and put your data at risk.
Similarly, not everyone is vigilant when it comes to keeping their phone’s software updated.
Often these updates include essential security upgrades.
If employees aren’t updating their phones regularly, they might not be as secure as they need to be, putting your business at risk.
By using business mobile phones, you can control devices, software and ongoing management, ensuring you’re protected.
Business mobiles make it easier to manage phone upgrades
Another thing about employees using their own phones, is that there’ll be no consistency over when they’re upgrading to new models.
This means you’ll have employees changing phones and upgrading to different models (potentially different operating systems) at different points in the year.
Depending on the tariff they switch to, it could also mean employees have less data on their phones.
This could impact how they’re able to work when not in the office and could lead to them becoming reliant on unsecure public WiFi connections.
For a business this can create a constant cycle of onboarding new devices into the company to ensure everything remains compatible with your business.
There’s also the problem of employees who don’t upgrade their phones regularly, and eventually are unable to upgrade to the latest version of the manufacturer’s operating system.
This can leave their phones incredibly vulnerable, but also less efficient.
Plus, you have the worry of what happens to your employees’ old device when they do upgrade.
You have no control over whether data is wiped properly or what happens to devices no longer being used.
On the other hand, if you’ve invested in business mobile phones, you have complete control over the management of upgrades and disposal of outdated equipment.
Be assured over device security
One last thing on mobile security (because with GDPR fines and the risk to your reputation from data breaches, you really can’t be too careful when it comes to this).
Employees rarely, if ever, are security conscious when using their personal phones.
It’s something businesses are aware of too.
Data leakage and users downloading unsafe apps or content is the biggest concern among business owners adopting BYOD policies. 63% agree this is the biggest worry.
Many think nothing about logging into WiFi networks in coffee shops or on public transport.
They don’t hesitate to open emails and click on links.
And it just takes one wrong move to expose any sensitive data stored on a business phone.
And you really have no way of regulating how employees use their own phones, particularly when they’re outside of working hours.
If you’ve invested in business phones, you can solve this problem.
Because employees are using phones provided by the business, you can set guidelines over usage, including disciplinary procedures for any breaches.
This gives you much more authority over mobile security.
Get control over costs, management and security with business mobile phones
While you might think it’s cheaper and easier to just adopt a BYOD phone policy for your business, the potential risks, and costs, can far outweigh the initial investment of business mobile phones.
From issues around compatibility and security to device management, to the costs and time involved with allowing employees to use their own phone for work, the potential problems are huge.
Instead, you might find that business mobile phones are actually the most effective option and give you more time to get on with running your business.