Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds

In the wake of open office spaces and hot desking, another trend is making its way to the forefront: personal devices as work tools. Mobile tech has removed the barriers between work and personal lives. Before mobile devices, a clear division existed between personal and professional life; today, work emails are answered at 1 am and Facebook updates are sent from employees’ desks.

We’re Always Connected

Now that everyone is connected, no one wants to disconnect. It may be more accurate to claim that in today’s world, it’s not possible. There are no more neat borders between work and personal lives. These segments of our lives have joined, and at the junction is our tech.

So why not let employees use their own devices to perform work tasks? Should your company have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy in place and truly create a free-form work space? You have to weigh the risks and rewards:

Upside Rewards of BYOD

  • Easier Tech Deployment: If the company has proper safeguards in place for Cloud data storage, the access point may not matter. Any device may access the data if the password and protocols apply. Rather than purchase, track and deploy devices, it’s only a matter of registering users.
  • Reduction in Costs: The costs savings would be huge. No more giant tech budget—set criteria for the devices to ensure they’re up to spec for doing business, and then that’s it. No more responsibility for tracking, upgrading, or inventorying tech.
  • Improved Personnel Satisfaction: As ties to a formal, personal workspace break down, BYOD would allow employees some measure of personalization. They may not care where they work if they have their own devices customized to their habits and uses.

Downside Risks To BYOD

  • Liability Control: If employees use their own devices, then the company loses oversight. You could enact policies to limit this liability, but the device belongs to the employee and entitles them to a degree of privacy that doesn’t exist on a corporate-issued device.
  • Data Security: Company protocols for handling data may not get followed. Access and storage on the Cloud is one thing but downloading is another. You may be unable to account for devices holding corporate information or control who possesses the data.
  • Loss Prevention: Corporate-sponsored devices are easier to replace in the case of loss. If an employee loses a personal laptop or phone, there is no guarantee they can efficiently or satisfactorily find a replacement.
  • Accounting Challenges: You still pay technology allowances, but now there’s a blurry line for determining reimbursement. It will be harder to distinguish between business or personal use.

To Do Or Not To Do

Companies handling sensitive data or some sectors of business (i.e. healthcare) may be best to opt for a more traditional and regulated information system. Others that may be under less stringent regulation could opt for BYOD, but only do so with measures in place to ensure security and policy enforcement.

 

 

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