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Bring Your Own Device: Pros and Cons

With the rapidly accelerating consumerisation of IT since the advent of the iPhone back in 2007, it’s no longer always IT departments who are driving technology forward. The vast majority of industry professionals now buy the most cutting edge devices for themselves, often far outstripping those available to them in the workplace.  This arrangement offers huge potential advantages for staff and managers alike, but there are also a few key pitfalls to watch out for:

Pro: Saving company cash

From a company perspective, BYOD can lead to substantial cost savings compared to HYOD. Some organisations even require employees to cover the costs of updates and repairs, though these are likely to be substantially reduced as we tend to take better care of devices we actually own.

Pro: Familiarity and flexibility

One of the biggest BYOD benefits comes down to workers using devices they’re familiar with rather than having to get to grips with a potentially wholly new system, allowing them to work much more efficiently. This also leads us to another key advantage – worker satisfaction. Consumer users generally own the devices they do because they enjoy using them, often much more so than the laptops and/or smartphones that’s been thrust upon them by an IT department.

Pro: Easy updates

Not only are devices aimed at consumers usually more straightforward to update than those that rely on the frequently painfully slow upgrade cycles at many companies, their users also tend to make sure they keep them up-to-date with the latest hardware, with both users and employers reaping the benefits.

Con: Questions of liability

With the increasingly blurred line between home and office, questions around who should be responsible for repair costs rear their heads. Should an employer be liable for a device that goes wrong when its user is doing work-related tasks at home, for example? It’s definitely a clever idea to consider some worse-case scenarios before implementing BYOD and writing solutions into your organisation’s policy. 

Con: Security risks

While devices issued in-house are protected by security features overseen by the IT department, it’s a lot trickier for companies to start telling workers what they can and can’t do on laptops or smartphones they paid for themselves. This can lead to problems around appropriate use and, more seriously, compromised security. Again, writing agreed usage into company BYOD policy is the most smoothest way round potential issues.

Con: Data ownership and retrieval

Issues of ownership and compliance can arise all too easily when a contract comes to an end or an employee moves on. Again, a written framework makes everyone’s lives easier – make sure there’s a set procedure in place for retrieving company data from personal devices when the need arises.