Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of the Bring Your Own Device Approach

When it comes to technology in the workplace, businesses have always placed efficiency as a top priority. Because nearly all transactions, record keeping, communication and other functions are conducted on computers, speed and safety are essential. In recent years a trend has developed that many companies are finding helps employees conduct their work in a much more efficient way. This trend is called “Bring Your Own Device” or BOYD. Companies who implement this system allow employees to supply their own mobile devices, laptops and tablets in the workplace.

This practice has several obvious advantages but there are also negative side effects that companies need to be aware of. According to one market research report, BOYD will expand to more than 88% of enterprise by the end of 2013. As more companies jump on the bandwagon they should consider the following.


Employee preference and satisfaction

Everyone has their own individual preferences when it comes to laptop or mobile device use. For example, some are adamant that Macs are more efficient while others would rather stick to the familiarity of their PC’s. The benefit of BOYD is that it allows room for personal preference. Employees aren’t forced to automatically switch to something they don’t like the second they walk through office doors. This increases employee satisfaction which often translates into more efficient work.

Cost reduction

The BOYD system also leads to reduction in funds companies spend for new equipment, as well as IT services to keep the technology functioning smoothly. Individuals will update and keep their personal devices running smoothly. They can update their own software and rely on manufacturer support, which largely eliminates the need for a specialized IT team. While it’s impossible to predict exactly how much a company will save on equipment, one study claims that employees cover 50% of costs in BOYD environments.

Working Environment

A BYOD system can radically change the working environment of any office. No longer will employees need large desktop stations. Offices may decrease employee productivity by isolating workers in cubicles. Some offices are even switching to pick your own seat system, which allows workers to get out of the monotonous routine of sitting in the same place every day. While companies may adjust the environment according to their individual circumstances, the BOYD system certainly allows for creative possibilities.

More cutting edge technology

If employees are allowed to choose the devices they bring to work, it is likely they will invest in the most cutting edge technology. Employees who know they will be using devices both in the workplace and for personal use will want a high quality product. Enterprises benefit from the use of these cutting edge devices.


IT oversight

While IT oversight may be reduced for improvement purposes, BOYD requires that companies implement proper security measures. Employees will be dealing with important company data, which can potentially be tampered with or stolen on a personal device. While mobile devices and tablets generally don’t suffer from as many viruses as desktop and laptop computers, they are still vulnerable and will likely become more so in the future. Mobile device management can allow IT to provide adequate security, limit access, and protect important data. However, employees must be willing to accept these new limitations, despite the fact that they are using their own devices.

Restricted usage

Companies typically provide their employees an acceptable use policy, which dictates which actions are acceptable on company devices, as well as the consequences for violating these policies. This becomes challenging when employees are using their own personal devices and feel entitled to use them however they want. Companies who implement this new system will need to establish new policies that outline expectations and adhere strictly to them.