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The Secret Costs of BYOD Plans

shutterstock_268450493Bring your own device (BYOD) plans continue to soar in global popularity. In fact, they have now become the norm – as opposed to the exception – across countless sectors and industries. BYOD plans have blurred the line between work and personal use of wireless and mobile devices, and the true costs of implementing these plans are not always visible. For companies looking to integrate these plans into their current infrastructure, they must keep the following in mind:

 

  • BYOD is supposedly a cost-efficient way to let employees use their favorite devices for work.
  • Numerous enterprises have embraced employee mobile plans and device choices to attract and engage new talent.
  • Plans can include the latest phones, tablets, and Kindle devices that help enhance productivity and performance.
  • With widespread adoption of employee mobile plans, companies must be fully aware of the risk and cost factors involved.

Spend Money to Save Money?

Companies looking to institute BYOD plans must understand the cost structures involved. This includes optimal savings based on several factors.

  • Employees are reimbursed each month for using their own wireless services and data plans.
  • There is a difference between employee device and mobile device management (MDM) plans.
  • A business must decide if corporate-owned and manage devices are more cost-feasible than employee plans.
  • For most companies, the differences in cost tend to favor employee device choice. There are, however, certain costs and considerations that must be taken into account during the reimbursement process.

    Expense Reports

    Companies using expense reports for work-related mobile device usage must take the following into account:

    • How long do employees spend filling out these reports?
    • Take that number and multiply by 12 for workers who submit monthly reports.
    • Add in time spent by management, accounts payable, and finance department processing.

    It is also imperative to decide which roles will be eligible for reimbursement. Businesses must ensure that employee mobile plans follow stringent guidelines and rules when it comes to usage. This means zero tolerance policies for personal business during work hours. The time required to monitor, oversee, and review these tasks and policies should also be factored into expenses and budgeting.

    The Reimbursement Process

    The reimbursement process for worker mobile plans usually affects several departments. This creates more work for accounts payable, along with end users, finance, and even shareholders. These processes can quickly add up in terms of employee time, and must be taken into consideration when deploying BYOD access and eligibility. It is also vital to calculate any taxes based on the reimbursement policies or formats enforced.

    While the verdict is still out, BYOD does offer a wealth of flexible benefits for employees. Still, it is easier for companies to own mobile devices for employee work due to services that can be purchased in bulk from a single carrier. With worker mobile plans, companies have to facilitate multiple carriers and costs that will surely differ between employees. With single carriers, businesses have better bargaining leverage as well as substantial discounts that surpass individual plans. In the end, businesses must make the BYOD decision based on unique organizational factors.

What Exactly Is a Hybrid Cloud?

shutterstock_105784313With the new digital age upon us, the “hybrid cloud” term is everywhere. In fact, hybrid models continue to rank high among the top 10 strategic technology trends. The current craze has prompted several infrastructure providers to define what “hybrid” really means, but definitions may differ according to varying interpretations and limitations. Channel partners are struggling to find the best hybrid solutions to meet their customers’ needs.

​Hybrid Cloud Defined

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the focus should primarily be on the cloud when defining hybrid environments. NIST describes the hybrid cloud as a combination of public, private, and community clouds that are intertwined for optimal compatibility and performance. These clouds feature cutting-edge and innovative technologies that enable data and application portability.

While this effectively describes the hybrid cloud as a whole, it does not include managing and transferring applications across cloud and non-cloud environments. This is known as hybridization, which enables a comprehensive and cohesive platform for on-premise and hosted or remote cloud solutions, and creates a unified network that incorporates applications, programs, and features across on-site and remote cloud servers and environments.

Hybrid Environments

Even with the hybridization label, the line between on-site and off-site is rapidly diminishing. In fact, physical and local networks are now routinely extended across companies’ on-site data centers and third party sites to enhance network performance, security, and ease of use. This includes wide area networks (WANs), along with firewalls, storage gateways, and application-delivery controllers.

Hosting and cloud platforms are sometimes described as un-managed network links. This is during the initial connection, which must be streamlined and centralized to secure one consistent hybrid environment. Once the parameters and adjustments are set, the links are designed to foster network transparency across a myriad of environments.

While this is the ideal scenario and creates a more consistent and unified approach that engages partners, telecom agents, IT solution providers, and others involved in cloud deployment services, communication and compatibility problems are common. These issues include problems with linkage as well as difficulty in provisioning, managing, and monitoring all machines and applications across third-party cloud environments.

The Perfect Hybrid Cloud

With so many definitions and options, how does one select the right hybrid cloud service or environment? According to industry experts, clients must look for the following when assessing provider abilities to deploy fully-functional hybridized solutions.

Flexible Service Options

Hybrid cloud providers must offer services that can meet a full range of requirements, including application compatibility, managed hosting, and colocation services. Whether for public, private, or community based clouds, these services must be easy to access and ensure optimal performance and productivity across the cloud.

Unified Network Fabric

Hybrid specialists must ensure unified networks for deploying services across multiple environments. This includes computing, as well as storage and networking accessibility. Unified networks allow workloads operating in different environments to share the same network elements. This secures consistent connections that expedite workloads across hosting environments while reinforcing the level of security required.

User-Friendly Interfaces

With user-friendly interfaces, customers and partners are able to:

  • easily manage an entire IT infrastructure across a myriad of servers;
  • manage storage capacities and resources via one centralized portal; and
  • enable a single point of contact, which eliminates the need for multiple service providers.