What is BYOD?

Bring Your Own Device is a new policy being implemented by some employers, allowing for the use of personally-owned devices in the workplace, for business use. The purpose of this policy is to increase productivity and decrease cost by allowing employees to access company resources on the same device that they currently use as a personal device.

BYOD is an attractive policy for many reasons. Firstly, it eliminates the doubling-up of technologies – no longer does someone have to carry both a personal and work cellphone. Next, since all resources are located on the same device, employees can access whatever they need, no matter where they are – making a totally mobile workforce. BYOD increases flexibility and boosts moral in the workplace by allowing employees to use their device of choice, instead of one imposed upon them by their employer.

There are some cautionary points of BYOD. For starters, giving employees the freedom to choose and bring their own device means leaving important technology and device decisions to them. As a business owner your data is the most important part of your business - in the wrong hands your business can become very vulnerable. Different smartphone providers have various hardware and software short comings; you do not want your data to be stored on a vulnerable device. As well, supporting many various devices could make it difficult for troubleshooting in an IT department, who needs to be familiar with all operating systems.

If an employer leaves a BYOD product unmanaged, security breaches can occur. Losing a company-sensitive data device, leaving sensitive data unprotected or even using devices on open networks can result in a malicious third party gaining access to your confidential materials.

It is important to highlight that all employees who are on a BYOD policy program should protect their devices with passwords. As well, employers who have enacted a BYOD program should have procedures in place to remotely wipe phones in case of data breaches. Another precautionary suggestion is to store all data in the Cloud to prevent the permanent loss of crucial data. Finally, regardless whether the phone is provided by the employee or an employer, an Acceptable Use Policy is always a good idea to enact.