The Risks and Benefits of Bring-Your-Own-Device Workplaces

October 12th, 2012

Are you able to access your computer network at the office with your personal iPad? What about your personal iPhone or your laptop computer? This movement, known as bring-your-own-device or BYOD, is on the rise in the workplace. It’s a good idea: When companies encourage employees to bring their own devices to work, these same businesses don’t have to spend as much on desktop computers and other high-tech tools. The move also makes sense for workers. Employees are often more accustomed to their own devices. And if they bring their own laptops and tablets to work, they can more easily carry their files, emails and important documents back and forth from home to work.

The Risks of BYOD

But the BYOD movement does come with risks, risks that ComputerWorld columnist Darragh Delaney illustrates in a recent column. Delaney writes that IT security personnel are growing more worried about the risks of letting employees use their own devices to access workplace networks. The greater the number of outside devices connecting into a network, the higher the risk that a network will become a victim of some sort of malware attack. Naturally, not all employees take the proper steps to safeguard their computing devices.

Company Information at Risk

Another thing to consider when a company is deciding whether or not to allow employees to connect their devices to the network concerns information. When people leave the office, what information are they bringing out of the building with them? If they lose their device, confidential data about the company could be in jeopardy. There are a couple solutions to this. One, a company can make restrictions around what sort of information can be saved on personal devices. Another idea is that a business could train their employees to better protect their devices.

The BYOD Trend

As more and more people have tablets and smartphones, it is likely that more businesses will face this decision. The most significant benefit to allowing employees to use personal devices is the boost in productivity. This is due mostly to the fact that they know their devices and they always have them. If BYOD seems like it will work for your company, just be sure your workers take appropriate measures with their devices to keep your company’s data safe.