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Is Your Company Utilizing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policy?

By Townes Haas   |    March 4, 2015   |    5:25 PM

Is Your Company Utilizing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policy?

Most everyone has heard the acronym " BYO B." But have you heard " BYOD"? If not, you will at some point in the near future. BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device, and more and more companies are insisting on a BYOD policy for contractors as well as employees. The concept of Bring Your Own Device refers to companies that either allow or require employees to bring their own device(s) such as a laptop, SmartPhones, tablets, and other electronic equipment to the workplace instead of utilizing a device supplied by the employer.

Many companies like the BYOD option because it can save a significant amount of money. However, a BYOD policy is not necessarily one that does not come with its own set of potential disadvantages. In other words, even though BYOD might seem like an excellent solution, implementing a BYOD policy must be done with great care.

There are several pros and cons to a BYOD strategy, including these:

Pros:

  • When employees and contractors own the mobile devices and laptops they use for work, they can essentially work from any location
  • When employees and contractors can work from anywhere, they have more opportunities to get their work done
  • When employees and contractors supply their own devices, the company does not have to purchase them.
  • People tend to build affinities towards certain styles and brands of electronic devices and prefer not to have to switch to the different devices the company provides.

Cons:

  • Secure network access can be an issue for companies that have a BYOD policy
  • Stolen or lost personal devices that are required for work purposes can prevent work from being completed on time
  • Personal devices are more apt to contract and spread viruses and malware than devices that are managed by company policies and an IT department

Thinking About Implementing a BYOD Policy?
Before deciding that a BYOD policy is right for your business, it's important to evaluate all of the possible positive and negatives that this route might have on your company. Many companies believe that the positives of BYOD significantly outweigh the negatives - primarily due to the obvious financial savings potential. However, if your company elects to implement BYOD, it's important to have a strict and clear policy in place before allowing BYOD to become a reality.

What Should a BYOD Policy Include?
A BYOD policy must include rules and guidelines that employees are obligated to follow and/or understand. This includes:

  • Restrictions on what types of apps can be downloaded on the devices (because certain apps on a personal device that is connected to the company's private network might put the employer at an increased level of risk with viruses, hackers or other threats).
  • Clarification on who owns the information stored on the devices - the employee or the company?
  • An acknowledged awareness of the measures that are in place to protect network security

The Popularity of BYOD
The concept of BYOD is becoming so popular among small and medium sized businesses around the world that companies can be at a true disadvantage if they refuse to embrace the concept. Many workers want the benefits associated with BYOD. Therefore, it may be easier to hire and retain the best possible staff if a BYOD policy is in force.