Market musings

Should I Use My Personal Phone for Work? The Pros and Cons of BYOD

by Sasha Viasasha
December 1, 2017

There are many good reasons to make and receive calls on your personal phone, and the majority of entrepreneurs already do. The problem is that handling business calls on your personal number puts your private security and your business data at risk. 

A smarter option is to add a virtual phone system on to your personal phone. This keeps your business moving at the speed of mobile, but protects your privacy while it keeps essential company data in-house.

It also allows you to access a full suite of business grade features right on your smartphone. 

The Way It Works Now

If you’re like most small business owners and entrepreneurs, you rely on your smartphone for critical business calls because your always on the move and you have to seize opportunities as they arise.

Even if you’ve invested in a hard-wired office system and multiple dedicated PBX systems, it’s likely that you and your employees end up forwarding calls to your personal mobile phones, because business connections can happen anywhere.

How many calls have you missed because you weren’t near your land line? How much time does your officer manager spend trying to track down contact info for employees or emailing them and waiting for a response? A virtual phone system puts an automated  attendant and an updated employee directory at your fingertips, wherever you are. 

What is a virtual phone system?

A virtual phone system is a communication platform designed to be deployed across your mobile phone infrastructure. You can get all the benefits of a PBX, including extension calling, multi-office routing, find-me/follow me features, mobile-to-mobile call transfer and group calling.

It allows you to use your smartphone without revealing your private number, and can help a team with features like a shared call log, voice call transcription, and an auto attendant.

Q: Why should I use my personal phone for work?

A1: You are probably already are…

Around 80% of small business owners use their own phones for business reasons once a day or more, in a report by Manta. A quarter of them say they use their personal phones at least once an hour. 

John Swanciger, Manta’s CEO, pointed out that, "Mobile technology is clearly changing the nature of small business ownership. It's encouraging to see that small business owners are adapting and taking these seismic shifts in stride.”

A2: … and so are your employees.

Our research showed that around 65% of employees give out their personal numbers to customers for a variety of reasons. For those who have an office-bound phone system, 75% have to forward their calls to their mobile when they are on the road.

By 2020, nearly 75% of workers will be mobile enabled, according to the IDC. It's estimated that around 40% of your employees will be freelancers, contractors or remote workers. As people come and go, bringing their own devices, a virtual phone system allows you to easily add and remove lines while keeping your call data and business contacts safe within secure application. 

A3: You might need to add a mobile component to your existing phone system.

Many businesses aren’t ready to give up the desk phones due to the investment they have made or because they just find it more convenient. That’s OK because Spoke integrates with Philips WeCallJabra SpeakLogitech Speakerphone, and PolyCom w/Bluetooth phones. If you want to try it out before you commit, you can just forward you calls to the Spoke virtual phone number.

A4: Your land line is going away.

The two largest phone service providers in the US, Verizon and AT&T, plan to sunset land lines by 2020 in favor of an all-IP broadband architecture. The digitalization of telecom is long overdue. The World Economic Forum projected that the retirement of copper wires, legacy servers and aging desk phones will release $2 trillion in operating profit into the global economy by 2025. 

As land lines fade into history,  either replaced with optical fiber or simply forgotten, Telecom providers are pouring investment dollars into developing VoIP and other future communications technology, such as HDVoice and VoLTE.

Why should I mask my private number behind a virtual PBX?

A1: To retain control over customer and company data.

What did the customer say in their last interaction? Who did they talk to? The only way a business can offer consistent customer experience is if the business has access to all the data and notes customer interactions.

When you or someone in your company calls the customer from a mobile phone and collects new contact info or notes, that data often never makes it back to the company CRM or database.

Sometimes sales reps or managers leave the company and take all that data with them. A virtual private PBX can partition your phone into personal and private, so that the business contact list stays with the business, even as you change phones or your employees move on.

A2: Hackers can access your personal data with your private number.

Giving out a virtual phone number linked to your business is more secure than giving out your private number. Phone numbers are often used as customer numbers, giving scammers and hackers an easy way to access your private information. In 2016, approximately 161,000 consumers lost control of mobile phone accounts due to fraud and criminal activity. A virtual number acts as an additional a layer of protection.  

BYOD as the new normal

Nearly 9 out of 10 businesses (87 percent) rely on employees to bring their smartphones to work, according to a new study by The Information Systems Group (ISG). Work is also happening outside of the traditional office. Two out of three workers said that employees are using their mobile devices 4 hours or more outside the office.

A virtual PBX on your mobile phone

Businesses are taking VoIP service out of the office and out on the road by condensing all of the power of massive servers, wires and trunk lines into a tiny mobile device. Virtual PBX systems can function exactly like their old office-bound counterparts and be managed from an application on a smartphone. An intuitive interface with smart directories, geo-routing and extension dialing make it easy to manage from your smartphone.

What's next for telecom

As voice is better supported by mobility and smart tech, a new user experience is emerging. AI is transforming telecom, from more resilient networks, to better call quality and advanced analytics. To learn more about Spoke, including how our AI is powering the next generation voice UX, sign up for an interactive demo and see how to transform your mobile phone or business phone line into a smart office phone system.