Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is an IT policy where employees are permitted to use their personal mobile devices or personal computers (PCs) to access a companys databases and systems. This is opposed to the past where employees had to work from the company offices or on the company laptop or phone. Now, with the adoption of this policy, employees can work virtually from anywhere on their devices. Adoption of BYOD at the workplace accrues various benefits to the organization. Some of the primary benefits that come with this policy include: Employees become more productive and creative. With the current advancement of smartphones, this policy allows employees to work from a device they are more comfortable with. For some employees, it is less productive and inconveniencing to carry company-issued devices together with personal devices that can serve the same purpose. The employee does have to get to the office to start performing some tasks since with BYOD they can work from anywhere at any time and this increases efficiency. It is also cost saving for an enterprise since the costs for purchasing mobile devices and data services at work are borne by the employees as they use their own devices. BYOD also increases employee satisfaction. Most people regard their personal devices and trust them to work better. When employees are allowed to use the devices they invested in rather than IT chosen devices, they are more satisfies hence can perform efficiently. Some ways that can enhance an end users overall working and experience include Unlimited and direct access to personal devices, access to databases and systems not considered sensitive, prevention of storage of data on the personal devices despite access.
Some of the major risks that are associated with BYOD are, reduced control of access to companys data from a chain of end user devices, it is hard to establish which devices are accessing which data and systems. Adoption of BYOD policies would present an increase the risk in various employment and labor law sectors such as data privacy and security, records management, litigation holds, workplace safety, compliance and ethics and acceptable use of technology (Nate Lord, 2015). The above risks are facilitated by ownership factor (Paddick, 2014). This is because, for BYOD, the device is owned, maintained and supported by the employee hence the company has less control compared to a device belonging to the company. For a company to effectively deal with the risks mentioned above, a clear implementation plan must be set in place. Data security is a priority to the employer and an audit should be carried out to determine which data can be accessed and through which devices. To ensure security and confidentiality of data when a device is lost, employers might consider the use of sandbox or ring-fencing of data, where all data is enclosed in a single app that can be backed up. Installation of an antivirus software, creation of BYOD user policy that guides the employees on how to access corporate data is essential to reduce the risks of data security. Employees must also be aware that corporate data can only be accessed and processed only for the corporate purpose (Long, 2013). Use of personal devices is on the risk and thus enterprises need to put in place policies and measures that will cater for the risks.
A real world example is the way most schools have embraced BYOD by allowing their students to bring their personal devices to school to access the wireless network on school days. This has ensured that learning is in line with the 21st century. This ensures that all students have access to a wide range of information on the internet and learning becomes easier. Schools have begun to allow their students to use these devices constructively during lessons and this fully benefits both the students and school (Egan, 2013). An example of a school that has embraced BYOD policy is Hanover Public School District in Pennsylvania. With guidelines and strict policy, their students have been able to have fun and better learning experiences through BYOD. This is a positive scenario of adoption of BYOD policy. I adore efficiency and implementation of new ideas and would readily embrace BYOD in a real organization. It may be faced with many risks but the underlying benefits outweigh the risks involved. If organizations formulate clear policies on how to use BYOD so as to promote data security, then they would stand a chance of reaping the benefits that come with it.
Egan, B. (2013). BYOD As We Know It Is Dead. Forbes Magazine Retrieved From http://www.forbes.com/sites/bobegan/2013/10/04/byod-as-we-know-it-is-dead/Rebecca, Paddick, (2014). Left to their own Devices. Education Technology Retrieved From http://edtechnology.co.uk/Article/left_to_their_own_devices
Nate, Lord, (2015). BYOD Security: Expert Tips on Policy, Mitigating Risks, & Preventing a Breach Retrieved From https://digitalguardian.com/blog/byod-security-expert-tips-policy-mitigating-risks-preventing-breach
The Dark Side of BYOD. (2013). Retrieved From http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tech-decision-maker/the-dark-side-of-byod/
William, Long (2013). BYOD: Data Protection and Information Security Issues. Computer Weekly Retrieved From http://www.computerweekly.com/opinion/BYOD-data-protection-and-information-security-issues
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