BYOD: what does it mean?


How many people at your workplace use their personal iPad? Quite a few do at mine and they can’t even connect them to the company network. They can get round this by emailing information to and from their work account or using flash drives. The company I work for has no plan in the short-term to allow anyone connect a personal device to the company network – yet there are more iPads and personal tablets being carted around every week.

What does BYOD mean?

Technically Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) implies that any personal device can be used at work – tablet, smart phone or computer, but the reality at the moment is that people want to be able to use their tablet, most commonly their iPad, on the company network.

Realistically resistance to BYOD is futile – tablets are getting cheaper, the market is expanding and gen y are going to do what they want anyway – so why are companies trying to resist the inevitable?

Why are some companies against BYOD?

Well, here’s a few reasons:

1. Security issues – BYOD could stand for bring your own disease (as in virus) and your device may not be as secure as a company issued device. What if it gets left in a bar and someone is able to access sensitive data?

2. Invalid Licensing – certain software licences may only allow installation on company owned computers

3. Increased Support Costs – what if something goes wrong with the device? Is the company’s help desk obliged to fix it? What if they can’t, will that employee be unable to work?

4. Loss of Data – What if an employee leaves the company – can the company wipe the device? Including all that employee’s photos and other personal stuff?

5. Illegal activity – What if the employee downloads pirated music or movies or god forbid something worse?

Why should companies allow BYOD?

These, and pretty much any other issues have been asked and answered by all the companies that have embraced BYOD. Most issues can be covered off by a BYOD policy regarding reasonable use. There’s a good article here on what needs to be covered.

On the other hand, if the company doesn’t allow BYOD, employees are going to do it anyway, and without any policy in place there are more likely to be security issues and breeches. So what’s the real reason for their reluctance? Probably cost.

Back in the day it was thought that BYOD would save a company money – I mean, if employees are supplying their own equipment it should, right? The reality has proved otherwise it seems, as the cost of supporting extra mobile devices has driven up ancillary costs.

If this is the case, why should a company embrace BYOD?

For the very simple reason that it makes employees happy.

Does anyone remember those companies just 10 years ago who didn’t give employees email access? Yeah, I wouldn’t have worked there either.

Does your company encourage BYOD? Is it a good idea? Does it work?

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Author: Sue @ Oysterfruit

Owner at Oysterfruit.com.au.

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