By: Marshall Gregg, a Special to Overdrive
As the workforce becomes more and more tech savvy, a recent trend called BYOD — or bring your own device — has really begun to take off in popularity.
Basically, BYOD means just what it implies—people using their own devices in the workplace. Rather than rely on your boss for a computer, just bring your laptop or tablet from home and use it at work. According to an article on Forbes.com, by the middle of this year, 60 percent of companies were allowing consumer devices and software in the workplace — a 43 percent increase from last year.
As for any potential negatives associated with BYOD, in many cases, this can be summed up with one word: security. As the Forbes article said, a group of people all working on their own personal devices, each of which has its own configuration, and each trying to access a corporate network that is typically filled with sensitive and secure information, can create a security concern. One solution, the article said, is to turn to the IT department and ask it to do what they do best — utilize , or whatever service fits your needs best, to block any potentially harmful apps, control the access levels of the employees, and arrange to remotely erase any sensitive information from lost or stolen devices.
While there are some definite benefits to the concept, there are some negatives as well. On the positive side, the Forbes.com article noted that workers definitely like to use one device with which they have chosen to do all of their work. In fact, allowing employees to bring their own computer device to work may actually increase their productivity. In addition, with the standard 9 to 5 office-centered workday quickly becoming a thing of the past, employees need to be able to work at all times in a variety of locations. Being able to work from your own laptop or other device can definitely help make the out-of-office work a more convenient reality.
Also, by allowing their employees to try the BYOD concept, the Forbes article observed that companies are no longer responsible for the purchase, upkeep and maintenance of these often costly pieces of equipment. That alone can be a major bonus to this innovative idea.
An article on noted that a combination of policies and procedures will help make the BYOD policy a workable one for companies. For example, the article said business owners should decide which devices they are willing to support, especially because not every device will meet the company’s security requirements. Reviewing the current company security policies for various Web applications is also a good idea.
In addition, the IT department may have to step in a bit and make the expectations surrounding a BYOD policy very clear. The ZDNet article also noted that companies should compose policies for people who are using their own computer or an alternative device and have them sign an agreement. These are all steps companies can and should be taking, the article said, in order to be part of a smarter, more mobile-integrated workforce that welcomes BYOD as an option.