The term Bring Your Own Device, BYOD, was first used in 2004 and began more common use in 2009. Personal devices include cell phones, tablets, and laptops that employees bring to work and connect them to the corporate network. Employees request BYOD because it allows them flexibility in choice of devices and there’s no need to shuffle between multiple different devices. However, companies will have to consider the risk to security BYOD imposes. There are of course advantages and disadvantages to consider before adopting this practice.


Advantages of Bring Your Own Device

Employees are familiar with their own devices. This means that employees who are familiar with Apple products won’t have to spend the time familiarizing themselves with Microsoft devices and vice versa. This can not only increase productivity but employee satisfaction as well.

Potential savings could emerge from BYOD. This would depend on how the business plans to compensate employees for their devices and plans. With device prices climbing above a thousand dollars, BYOD has the potential to save on device costs.

Reimbursement checks would replace having a dedicated employee in charge of the wireless account every month. This would free several hours per month between ordering new devices, checking data overages, making payments, and working with wireless providers.


Disadvantages of Bring Your Own Device

If personal devices with company data are lost or stolen, it poses the risk of outside individuals gaining access to valuable company information. If an employee leaves the company without wiping the device clean of company information, they can continue use of company data without permission and the company remains vulnerable.

Unsecured Wi-Fi poses a potential risk due to hackers gaining access to a company’s system or networks. Employees will be utilizing their personal device outside of work and unsecured Wi-Fi lurks everywhere from airports to coffee shops.

Personal use can cause security complications in the form of viruses and spyware from miscellaneous downloads and applications. Tech support could be problematic with the different types of devices and systems.


The Verdict

BYOD is not something any business should take lightly. Where employee satisfaction and savings are potential advantages, security risk poses a potential disadvantage. A discussion with IT on security procedures could be a good conversation before considering BYOD. A formal policy would be essential to get started, but that doesn’t negate all risks.

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