New to BYOD…(Bring Your Own Device)

Someone in the office last week asked, “What’s BYOD, or is it BYOT??” Geraint, our resident Pen Tester piped up “Bring Your Own Device, or Bring Your Own Technology”. A collective “ahh” went round the office.

This term, although not the concept, was new to me. I thought it might be new to many others, so I thought I’d do a little digging.

In simple terms BYOD means that instead of providing staff with their own devices (namely desktops), businesses support staff in using their own devices for work. As technology is intrinsically part of every individual’s daily life, there is a growing demand from the individual to use their own devices at work.

Technology often poses a problem for businesses as it can become outdated quickly. By implementing a BYOD policy you can be more flexible and often find a more cost-effective solution to this problem. With developments in mobile technology employees can work from anywhere and at any time that suits them.

In a white paper from Intrinsic Technology entitled “BYOD: Realising the Business Benefits” they claim: “40% of CIOs believe companies will stop providing physical desktops for their employees – within five years.”

Obviously there are serious security issues to be addressed when considering a BYOD policy, not to mention how the IT department handle different devices, manufacturers and systems.

Let’s take a look at the top level benefits and risks of BYOD:

Benefits

Businesses can take advantage of newer technologies faster

Businesses can potentially save money because employees are purchasing their own technology

In a business with a BYOD policy, employee’s can choose their own technology

Employees have the flexibility to work anywhere at anytime

BYOD is reported to raise employee morale and productivity

Risks

Potential increase in security/risk threat because of increased use of mobile devices

Employee’s can potentially not have full access to their devices because of the company’s security policy

Business has to service devices which are used outside of work

BYOD is a growing trend and is unlikely to go away as our lives become ever entwined with technology, both at home and the workplace. BYOD also has a large dependence on the individual. Sophos, in a recent white paper on BYOD, sum this up rather well:

”Ultimately, the success of your BYOD program is measured by your employees’ willingness to use their personal devices within the rules you set for them. Your organization’s security procedures and policies should determine whether and how you adopt BYOD.

You need to have the ability to enforce security policies on a device level and protect your intellectual property if that device is ever lost or stolen.”

As someone familiarising themselves with BYOD I’m going to continue researching the issue.  What experiences, risks or benefits do you see from implementing a BYOD policy?

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