Dispatch from the Head Sherpa

The Great Debate: Bring Your Own Device to Work?

As the quarter progresses, companies are contemplating the next technology investments for flexible mobile solutions. Enter the term BYOD or Bring Your Own Device. Simply put, BYOD is the concept of letting employees buy and bring their own devices (laptops, tablets, mobile phones, even some desktops) for use in a work environment.

This concept, while novel, brings up a whole new set of security and management concerns once in place. If the company helps purchase the device, a policy and management strategy also needs to be developed; acceptable use needs to be defined both for the safety of the company’s data, and for the privacy of the employee.

Many factors do make the BYOD a convincing argument for companies – the ability to reduce costs by having employees cover their own devices and maintenance and boosting company morale and productivity because employees have a preferred device. In addition, companies gain an edge with access to all of the latest devices, not just one or two company-approved models.

The flip side of the debate, of course, involves managing the all the devices and potential security risks as well as supporting day to day operations. For example, how does a company support employees using Windows laptops versus Macs or Linux? Can a company’s proprietary software or processes support multiple technology interfaces?

And what about device management? Would an employee feel comfortable putting family pictures on a company device? Or surfing through social networks knowing that devices might be monitored for particular types of activity? It can be tricky to devise policies that explicitly spell out what is acceptable use for employees and what isn’t.

Also, there is the topic of compliance through regulation – PCI DSS, HIPAA and GLBA have requirements that must be followed, regardless of device ownership. Violation of these rules can lead to consequences for both employee and employer.

And lastly – what about reclamation? If an employee quits or is fired, retrieving or locking down company data can be a big headache without proper policy and/or software in place.

Bottom line, if you are considering adopting a BYOD policy at your company, you should consider all the potential problems as well as the benefits of such a policy. Managed well, a BYOD company can reduce technology cost and provide a technology gain; mismanaged and it could cost you your business.

Feel free to call MySherpa® at 302-781-3006 to discuss your company’s BYOD plan or to get a recommendation on the best way to manage your mobile devices – we’re always ready to guide you!



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