Workplaces are more mobile and interconnected than ever, as many employees have the opportunity to work remotely. For many companies, this can be enough to enable the creation of a “bring your own device” policy, or BYOD.

Research firm Gartner reports that 90% of organizations will support some form of a BYOD program by 2017 and for personal devices to double enterprise-owned devices by 2018. Furthermore, Gartner also reports that implementing a BYOD program can also lead to 64% cost-savings, since the end-user will own the device.

Financially-savvy organizations will discover that these numbers make a BYOD program an attractive option. However, incorrect BYOD implementations could also lead to major IT headaches and security issues. Today, we share some considerations all IT administrators should consider before diving headfirst into their BYOD program.

1. Understand what is important for the company

In order to have an effective BYOD policy, companies must first understand what they are protecting. While you might think your users’ hardware or software is at the center of concern, the real concern centers around data. Company data is invaluable due to its contribution to bottom line revenue and its role as intellectual property. Furthermore, the cost of data is also very prohibitive: according to research firm IDC, the average cost of data loss caused by downtime is $20,000 – enough to bring any company to its knees.

2. Plan for growth

A future with BYOD means that IT will be managing a variety of tablets and mobile phones. To think ahead, IT departments should seek to attract innovative employees and allow them to use the devices they want while reducing security risk. This will not only encourage employees to stay at the company, but also empower them to be more productive and add to the bottom line.

3. Engineer for cloud applications

The rise of cloud and BYOD make for a one-two punch in innovation and technology. Leveraging cloud applications for business purposes communicates to your employees that the organization is looking to the future while also empowering employees to be more productive. When deploying cloud applications, ensure data and device security to prevent costly breaches.

4. Ensure functionality

BYOD promises to save organizations money but sometimes it can prove costly. Whether deployments become risky or IT staff are burdened by manual operations, attention must be paid to future costs as BYOD expands. IT administrators must also establish cogent security policies and smooth onboarding for employees who consistently bring in new devices. A lack of usability will drive employees away and discourage employees from joining your organization altogether.

5. Enable balance

Finally, organizations must understand that BYOD devices serve multiple purposes. The tablet a senior manager uses no longer just holds the quarterly business report, but also photos from their child’s last birthday party. Organizations should therefore be cognizant and allow the flexible use of shared applications while preserving control of corporate data in shared apps. Privacy is of the utmost importance and drives in both directions when considering a BYOD world.

Looking to enable BYOD in your organization?

If you’re ready to take the next step for your organization and empower employees to use their own devices, check out Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite on the Marketplace. The Enterprise Mobility Suite is a comprehensive cloud solution enabling organizations for a BYOD future and a secure enterprise.