BYOD: Pros, Cons, and Everything in Between

By Rachel Ramsey June 07, 2012

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is something you can barely get through a day without hearing about. The emerging and popular trend of employees bringing their own mobile devices to work (ie. smartphones, tablets, and laptops) for personal and business purposes has become hard to ignore.

If you still have doubts about BYOD’s presence, just take a look at the stats. A recent study by Eset found that 81 percent of U.S. adults use a personal electronic device for work-related functions. Even social network Pinterest has recognized the trend and created a BYOD board to repin and follow.

However, 66 percent of those who use a personal device for work say their organization has not implemented a BYOD policy. It’s time for companies to understand both the benefits and concerns in order to embrace BYOD.

Pros

·         Companies save a lot of money by adopting BYOD programs. The Good Technology State of BYOD Report stated 50 percent of companies with BYOD models are requiring employees to cover all costs – and they are happy to do so. Plus, there are fewer devices for organizations to purchase themselves.

·         BYOD leads to worker satisfaction. Employees have the devices they have for a reason: those are what they prefer. An iPass survey of 1,100 mobile workers worldwide revealed that those who use mobile devices for both work and personal matters put in 240 more hours than those who do not.

·         An organization gets the benefit of the latest features and capabilities because BYOD devices tend to be more cutting edge. Upgrades to the latest hardware are also more frequent compared to upgrading an entire company.

Cons

·         The primary concern about BYOD is the potential security risks. Since the company doesn’t own the device, it has less control of the device type, image and security settings. IT has to face dealing with a variety of different devices, which could slow down employee productivity. Plus, 1.3 million phones are stolen each year, and over half of stolen laptops have resulted in a data breach.

·         It’s also difficult for IT to tell an employee what is or is not an acceptable use of their own laptop or smartphone. Company-issued IT usually comes with an acceptable use policy, which is protected by company-issued security that is managed and updated by the IT department.

·         There’s also the issue of if and when a worker leaves a company. Segregating and retrieving company data from their personal device can be problematic. Companies need to be sure there is a policy in place that governs how that data will be retrieved from the personal device.

·         Some companies fall under compliance mandates that have requirements related to information security and safeguarding specific data. Those mandates must still be followed, even if the data is on an employee-owned device.

With problems come solutions. Many enterprises use mobile device management (MDM) software to set and enforce a single security policy across different types of devices.

An MDM strategy can help with challenges such as deciding which mobile devices to support, whether to allow employees to choose and bring their own devices into work, and how to handle security for mobile devices – including whether to have remote data wiping capabilities for lost or stolen phones. MDM also allows companies to compartmentalize personal and corporate data through the use of data containers, making the wipe of corporate data easily executed.

So there you have it; the pros, the cons, and how to manage concerns. Companies are in the midst of deciding how important BYOD is to their employees, and whether to implement BYOD policies. Hopefully this sheds some light on the case.




Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

TechZone360 Web Editor

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