The trend for increasing numbers of employees to bring their own devices to work has grown immensely, with Harvard Business Review noting a growth of 80% to 90%. While the benefits are often great, so too can be the challenges.
A major problem is that as more devices are used, a business can quickly discover that its cloud-based applications for payments, accounting, stock control, CRM or ERP are hopelessly sluggish.
A greater load on bandwidth slows down the use of essential applications and is typically followed by an increase in costs as the business buys more capacity to cope. However, businesses can reduce costs and put themselves back in control if they have access to the right tools and expertise.
As a managed services provider, Hughes enables companies to reduce excessive bandwidth use through a process of scoping, assessment, gate-keeping and throttling back.
The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is embraced by many organisations to boost productivity. Staff are often more comfortable working on their own devices and may be more likely to continue work after hours. It also reduces strain on laptops and tablets provided by the company.
However, once employees have their own devices at work, the corporate WAN is likely to be used for a variety of purposes that place severe pressure on bandwidth.
Many employees may download software updates or different applications to their devices to help them work faster. Others will continually use bandwidth-hungry applications such as social networks or streaming, while some will even download films and games to their devices over the company
Many companies have only a hazy notion of the amount of bandwidth their own applications use or which applications are running. Mergers and acquisitions often complicate matters and make it difficult to obtain a complete picture of two previously diverse organisations.
Yet the BYOD phenomenon is not just about employees.
In retail, the increasing use by customers of in-store Wi-Fi can place stress on bandwidth during rushes. During these peak times, retailers using mobile point-of-sale technology tend to find it works so slowly that it almost negates the purpose of having it. Surges in Wi-Fi use can even slow down the local area network and affect fixed PoS equipment.
A managed services provider can use its expertise and objectivity to address these problems. Site surveys will determine what is running across a network, allowing the business to determine the applications that are priorities and who should use them.
Applications that are used often or require regular log-ins and downloading may not be best suited to the cloud, whereas an application used less frequently should be stored there.
Once a measured assessment has been conducted and priorities established, devices can monitor and measure the use of applications like YouTube or Facebook and control their hours of usage or turn them off.
In the case of Wi-Fi access, devices can control levels of use, whether by employees or customers’ smartphones. This requires expertise and a full assessment, as blocking access is considerably easier than throttling bandwidth.
Throttling on connectivity can result in end-point devices using more processing power and if not properly managed slow them down.
Overall then, when facing the increasing pressures on bandwidth from BYOD and the growing use of cloud applications, businesses do not automatically have to invest in more costly bandwidth.
Instead of being overwhelmed and setting aside more resources for a costly quick-fix, organisations can use managed services expertise to reduce costs and give themselves a more long-term and robust solution.