BYOD is a relatively new acronym, which in the business world means Bring Your Own Device. Heck it’s even in the Urban Dictionary now.
The device, or devices, in these cases, could be any number of different items, including laptops, tablets, and smart phones. Many businesses all around the world are starting to allow their employees to bring their devices with them for work. In fact, some even recommend it.
BYOD can offer a number of different benefits for employees and businesses. However, it does have some drawbacks as well, particularly for the businesses. Let’s look at all of the various points of view.
One of the benefits of BYOD is the reduced learning curve. Anyone who is bringing and using his or her own device already knows how to use it, so there is no training needed. Issuing everyone a new type of smart phone or laptop for work will require training, even if it might be minimal training. This saves time and money. Employees who are bringing their own devices can certainly save money in other ways as well. They do not need to purchase new devices for all of their employees, which could be cost prohibitive for some companies.
Because employees need to access company networks and the Internet with the devices, it means they need special configurations. However, since the employee owns the device, it is impossible for the employer to know what he or she might be doing with that device and what sites he or she might be visiting. This could put the networks and secure information at risk.
BYOD has resulted in data breaches a number of times. An employee who loses a smartphone or a laptop could be in serious trouble. The unsecured information in that device could be sensitive, and it would be in the hands of anyone who found the device.
Another issues that companies face, especially in the case of smart phones, is the phone number. Customers are going to keep calling that phone number even if the employee leaves in most cases. This means the employee, who may have found a new job at a competitor, could well be leeching customers from the old business.
Some employers also feel as though the employee will not be as focused when they use their own devices. They will have the feeling of being at home, and they may spend more time surfing the web than actually working. It is difficult for a company to monitor this type of activity when someone is using a personal device.
Many companies today are wary of BYOD for just these reasons. However, the practice is becoming more popular. People like the thought of using their own device.
One of the ways that companies are trying to get the best of both worlds is through the creation of special policies. Many companies are developing policies for their employees to sign and that will help to keep their information safer. The policies they create will determine just what information is deemed sensitive and which employees will have access to that information. Companies will then try to educate their employees about how to keep information safer and how to best utilize their devices for a work environment.
Currently, few companies have these policies in place, which tends to put them at a greater risk for the types of issues mentioned earlier. It is also difficult to police what employees are doing when they are on their own time and at home with their own device. Click here to read more about this issue.
Companies need to weigh the pros and the cons before they allow BYOD at the workplace. Additionally, if you have security concerns about BYOD device usage in your company, please contact us today for a mobile security consultation.