Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Guest Posting: Attack E-waste by Going Green with 'BYOD'

We are starting off the New Year with this interesting guest post by Rudy Tran about an emerging trend in Canada aimed at reducing waste from electronic devices:

Electronic waste is discarded by the tons each year in the form of outdated computers, monitors, hard copy devices, keyboards, mice, televisions and mobile devices. Individual devices such as mobile phones that qualify as e-waste when discarded are counted in the millions. E-waste is trashed in landfills or incinerators or sometimes recycled. The government has taken initiative to reduce e-waste. Ninety-six percent of federal departments have developed a plan for e-waste disposal with the Guideline for the Environmentally Sound Disposal of Electronic and Electrical Equipment, according to Environment Canada. The benefits of recycling e-waste include saving electricity and recovering precious metals such as gold and copper. What can your business do to make a difference?

There are a number of ways to address and limit the improper discarding of e-waste. Among them is an emerging IT trend — BYOD. BYOD, or 'Bring Your Own Device,' allows employees to bring personal devices to work and use them in the work environment, creating benefits as well as challenges for IT professionals. One unique benefit of BYOD is that it contributes to green business practices, according to Renewable Energy World.

Fewer Devices Eliminate Duplication of Efforts and Resources

BYOD policies eliminate the need for multiple computers, tablets and smartphones. The business provides less of these devices to the employee, and the employee's devices then do double duty for work and play. Because technology changes so often, BYOD allows for there to be half of the e-waste when it's time for an upgrade.

Reducing waste and helping the environment is great, but if it puts your company at risk of a security breach, it may not be. "Embrace BYOD without losing control" by using a service like BlackBerry and create a comprehensive BYOD policy as well. You need both pieces to make the process work to the best of it's ability. A good BYOD policy that draws personal devices into corporate control also creates economies of scale and enables better security practices than uncontrolled or unknown use of personal devices at work. Drafting a comprehensive BYOD policy with a lawyer experienced in technology transactions practice clarifies both the company’s and employees’ rights when mobile devices are in play, according to Matt Karlyn of Boston law firm Cooley LLP. BYOD policies that define the company’s rights to access information and data on personal mobile devices ensure fewer surprises if any problems arise. Karlyn says legal problems with BYOD can come up when the company needs to wipe mobile devices clean upon employee termination or due to loss or theft. He also advises employers to train employees and managers on the BYOD policy so everyone is clear on the expectations and obligations they are signing.

BYOD, Recycling and Virtualization

BYOD, combined with a mandatory or incentivized recycling program, contributes to keeping e-waste out of landfills and recovering the valuable reusable materials in cell phones and other mobile devices. Reducing the number of devices being used in the business environment along with coordinated recycling efforts greens a company’s workflow. When employees store work on the company network or in the cloud, more work is stored electronically rather than on paper. Virtualization enables the workforce to be more productive, save paper resources and money on paper supplies, and produce eco-friendly work results.

BYOD Can Eliminate Desktop Computers

With so many options for mobile computing, from laptops to tablets to smart phones, employees may not need to touch down at a large desktop computer daily to get work done. And with more and more apps being developed for everything from word processing to file management to programming, eliminating desktop computers and the resources that go into manufacturing and operating them is one of the largest ways BYOD can help you go green.

Informatica chief information officer Tony Young requires employees working with BYOD to use a secondary secure network for limited devices and information, according to Forbes. The Marines are using BYOD to cut costs while expanding accessibility for users. However businesses manage personal devices, BYOD is a green solution even if it’s not implemented for eco-friendly purposes. The simple fact that it reduces the use of a second device in both the business and personal context means it’s greening the way we work and do business.

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