Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Many companies are allowing employees to participate in the growing initiative: “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).” The initiative allows employees to select and use their own mobile devices for business rather than a company-issued device. Some experts state this type of program provides a greater impetus for business owners to take care of devices since they will be financially responsible for the device. Despite the benefits, there are some concerns about the BYOD program which has some companies reevaluating the concept.
Benefits of Bring Your Own Device
Reduced Costs. Companies reduce the costs related to purchasing devices for employees. With cell phones ranging in costs from $50 to $1000, business owners could pay an exorbitant amount providing devices to employees. With BYOD, companies are only responsible for the monthly service fee. In some instances, employees will offer to handle these expenses also. Savings could be passed on to employees through other company-issued benefits.
Challenges of Bring Your Own Device
Liability Risks. There are increased liability issues for companies if company-sensitive data or customer data is leaked to unauthorized personnel. Business owners must invest in the infrastructure to ensure customer data or company data is not breached. This is more difficult when the devices are not uniform across platforms. Lawsuits are more likely if companies do not invest to prevent breaches on disparate devices.
Financial Risks. With BYOD, the financial risks related to security is increased. When companies issue mobile devices, information risk and related expenses are lower. Many companies underestimate the associated costs and may spend more. For example, a company supporting 1000 devices may spend an additional $170,000 annually for the convenience of BYOD. Companies must identify potential hidden costs before investing in BYOD programs.
Other Areas of Loss. Companies may also experience loss in productivity, competitive advantage, response times, reputation and replacement issues. If an employee is responsible for replacing a device from personal income, the delay in replacement may be longer. An employee with tattered equipment may give customer’s the impression that the company is not professional. This hurts a company’s reputation.
Response on a personally-owned device is also more difficult. Legal risks such as fines and judgments may also increase since data will be transmitted outside of a controlled environment. Businesses should perform a legal analysis to reduce risks and lower costs.
Business owners should have a plan to deal with search and seizures and personal data loss. Both issues are a significant challenge with BYOD programs.
Employees should sign documentation to ensure they are aware of how the company plans to manage their device and how this affects their privacy rights. The BYOD program can be beneficial in certain business spheres, but business owners should review the advantages and disadvantages prior to implementing it within an organization.