Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) to Work

The impact of consumerization of technology

mobile-work-hours

Do you bring your own device to work, such as a tablet or smart phone? If so, does your employer allow you to use it for work or personal activities?

It used to be that technology was confined to either the work or home environment. Now, devices are portable, affordable, and flexible enough that they go everywhere with us, including the office. Moreover, users are actually using their personal devices to perform work activities. The “consumerization of IT” is defined as the use of technologies that can easily be provisioned by non-technologists. This trend represents a fundamental shift between employers and employees.

But, what’s the impact? Gartner found 40% used personally owned smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops as a primary or supplemental business device and 45% of workers not required to use a personal device for work were doing so without their employer’s knowledge. Most users do not require traditional IT resources to connect, collaborate, share, or consume content. Employees demand to use their personally preferred mobile devices, personal computers, applications, social media, and cloud services wherever they go or in whatever they do. Technology has made employee empowerment easier, but not all organizations are embracing it. In fact, some organizations attempt to control it with strict policies or specific hardware and software requirements or company issued devices.

Is there a happy medium? Employers are concerned about everything affecting their brand – this incudes security, software viruses, viral content, breaches, etc. Employees believe they can and should be able to use their own devices to be more productive and stay in touch with the outside world. Both sides should work together to find common ground. CIOs must forge new, collaborative relationships with users, give them freedom to make IT decisions, and teach them how to assume responsibility for those decisions.

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11 Comments

  1. My company started BYOD last year. They are currently in the process of migrating folks with a smarphone (yes, some folks still do not have a smart phone) to this. At forst i loved it, no more carrying two phones around! But, unfortuanetely, they do not give employees a stipend for the phone or data portion. It also brings to mind, if Big Brother can access non work related items. All in all, it seems like the company is saving money but for those employees that do not ahve unlimited data and voice plans it could be pricey.

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  2. This was a huge issue at my old office. We were forced to use our personal devices at work for email. One instance happened where the employee actually found out that the company was looking through his files on his phone inducing personal, non-work related files. The office went into an uproar and there were several firing and employees quitting due to this breach of privacy. I feel if the employee wants to use their personal device then they can, but they shouldn’t be forced. It’s definitely removing that boundary between personal and work and I don’t think that should happen. Even though there really is no 9-5 job anymore there still needs to be that separation.

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    • That’s terrible that the company was able to look on employees personal devices to see what they are doing or what sites they are visiting. If the company makes this a condition of employment, that’s one thing (at least the employee would know up front), but if this type of expectation is only revealed afterward that is not cool.

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  3. For my job in retail, I’m not allowed to have my phone on me. It’s kept with the rest of my things in a locker in a back room. However, I have seen it become more common for other workers elsewhere to keep their phones on them.
    I actually agree with the idea of not having it with me. I’m there to do my job, and in all honesty, if I have my phone on me, I will more than likely be distracted.
    I will say, however, that stores are leaning more in the direction of using technology for customer service. For example, the “order-in-store” devices that we use in order to complete transactions for customers are iPods that we carry around.

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  4. Like Kerri mentioned, one of the interesting stats here is how many people are using their personal devices, for work, without being prompted to do so. Their reasoning may be the same as my own…its convenient! Of course, corporations are reaping some benefit in that they’re not having to provide the devices…but they also incur risks because they don’t ‘control’ the devices, especially the iOS devices.

    I think any organization that seriously considers BYOD, needs to factor in Enterprise Mobility Management as well. Using solutions like Fiberlink, GOOD, or others, corporations can better control what is done on Mobile devices owned or not owned by the organization.

    I also believe that those same enterprises need to factor in a strategy around Mobile applications as well. Can our employees check email, record travel expenses, fill in time sheets, create/share content and perform business process tasks via these devices? Do we even want them to? If so, what apps will we standardize for use in the enterprise? These are just some of the questions that need to be asked and from here we can tell BYOD is just the tip of the iceberg.

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    • I completely agree that policies need to be in place to keep some type of consistency and control over company data and assets. Mobile marketing and applications are still fairly new so I think most companies are still trying to “catch up”. I imagine that very few companies have an actual strategy around BYOD or which mobile apps are company sanctioned. This leaves the company vulnerable and likely to make some really bad decisions when it comes to employees and devices.

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  5. These is no restriction to BYOD at my company. In fact many people bring personal devices and use during meetings or trainings. This is because mobile devices are not provided here. Desktop or laptop computers are all that my company will purchase of an employee. In order to combat the issue and allow more flexibility for users they have created a process for utilizing software. Software on company owned devices are provided for free. Software is available for a discounted fee for users who bring their own devices and use at work.

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    • Tara – That’s very generous of your company to offer discounts on software to use. Can employees actually access company data over their personal devices? That’s where I see the most risk. We are just on the heels of a major data breach with Anthem Healthplan affecting millions of customers. I’m not sure how the breach occurred, but personal devices can introduce a whole new level of risk.

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      • We cannot access the servers where company data is stored. This just allows just to work on portions of projects remotely. All of the work from our own devices can then be transferred to our server. But as we become more mobile driven it seems that at some point the company is going to have to break down and purchase mobile devices for people in certain positions or specific departments.

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