BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a trend that’s fast becoming a de facto norm and it’s time to tackle it. Even where BYOD practices are not officially sanctioned, there’s a good chance that some employees are using personal smartphones, tablets, or laptops to get some of their work done and to stay in touch with co-workers and customers. That’s why BOYD demands your company’s attention.
Maybe you’re part of a cross-functional team charged with sorting out BYOD for your organization or maybe as counsel, you need to advise a client on the legal implications of BYOD.
Figuring out the technical infrastructure for BYOD is typically the domain of IT. Our goal here is to talk about why taking a clear position on BYOD makes sense and to set the stage for a series of posts about:
- Strategy: Why you need one and how to create one.
- Logistics: Making sure the legal and human aspects of the strategy will work.
- Future: How to make your BYOD policy nimble in anticipation of developments in both tech and human resources.
Why BYOD and Why Now?
In February of this year, TechRepublic, a resource and marketing site for IT professionals, conducted a BYOD Business Strategy Survey of over 1,000 respondents. Touting BYOD as “unavoidable,” the site reports that “62 percent of companies either already have Bring Your Own Device allowances in place, or plan to by the end of 2013.”
But allowing for (or simply avoiding or prohibiting) BYOD is not the same thing as defining a strategy and executing it.
Earlier this summer, two technology and services providers with big stakes in the BYOD ecosystem, Cisco and BT Global Services, described results from their 2013 “Beyond Your Device” research.
They report that only 36% of companies have BYOD policies and that “BYOD reality differs a lot depending on the region and function of respondents (workers versus managers).” You can review the Cisco/BT Global research and related findings from Forrester and Kinsey here.
So why is tackling BYOD a must and why the urgency? It’s a matter of not sticking one’s organizational head in the sand and of acknowledging employees’ reality, which is always a respect-winning move in itself. What better time to let your employees know that you’re invested in them – than now?
Whether or not a company elects to offer device choice and flexibility to employees or to prohibit BYOD, the important thing is that an organization makes its stance clear to employees and reflects it in the configuration of its infrastructure and HR practices. This prevents surprises and protects both employees and company information and reputation.
Reports are mixed about whether companies that support BYOD are seeing meaningful savings in the form of lower device provisioning costs. But a BYOD policy that describes whether company systems and data may be accessed from personal mobile devices will almost certainly reduce confusion. Policies will also make data collection for eDiscovery more streamlined and cost-effective.