What is BYOD? Pros and cons

Businesses are always looking for ways to save money. Rather than buy more devices for their employees, some businesses may implement a BYOD program.

In this post, we'll talk about what BYOD is, and the pros and cons of such program.


What does BYOD stand for?

BYOD stands for "bring your own device."

The term most often applies to smart phones. Depending on the specifics of the job or field, the term may apply to tablets or laptops as well.

Most employees have their own smart phones. So rather than buy a new company-owned smart phone for each employee, some companies instead ask their employees to use their own personal devices for work.


Pros of a BYOD program


BYOD is cheaper than buying new devices.

A company incurs quite a few costs when buying a new device such as a smart phone:

  • The cost of the device itself.

  • Activation fees.

  • Monthly service bill.

  • Accessories (case, screen protector, chargers, etc.).

    Insurance.

  • Cost of replacement if the device breaks or become obsolete.


But a BYOD program can help companies save on these costs. Many companies will offer to pay part of their employees' monthly service bill, creating a win/win situation for the companies and their employees.


Employees are familiar with devices.

Company devices are useful only if the employees know how to use them. Any time a company determines what devices all employees must use, there's a chance they'll choose the wrong one.

Maybe your company decides to buy Android devices because you can find cheaper alternatives. But if all your employees use iPhones, you can expect to hear a lot of grumbling as they adjust to a new operating system or ecosystem. And this lack of familiarity will result in lost productivity and errors as your employees adjust.


Employees don't have to carry multiple devices.

Most people don't want to carry multiple versions of the same type of device. This is especially true of a device that most people now expect to carry in their pockets. Carrying two smart phones takes up valuable pocket space and weighs a person down.

When your employees use their own devices, they will most likely always have the ability to communicate if urgent business pops up.


Cons of a BYOD program


BYOD security

By relying on an employee's personal device, you may be giving up a certain degree of control over security. Malware attacks have been increasing in recent years, most notably on mobile app stores.

As we've pointed out time and time while advocating for end user security training, users are the weakest link in security.

If not implemented correctly, BYOD security is a majority security concern for the modern web.


BYOD further blurs the line between work and personal life.

You may not like the idea of your employees browsing Facebook on company devices. But your employees probably don't like the idea of sending work emails from their personal devices.

Employees will probably save business contacts in their personal address book, rather than the company's address book. And employees may send personal files when they meant to attach a business file in an email or other communications.


Recommendation: Create a BYOD policy

While a BYOD program might be the right choice for your company, it does bring its own share of issues and concerns.

Be sure to take the time to lay out the details and expectations of such a program so that everyone can be on the same page.

BYOD policy is just one of the internal policies companies need to develop and enforce.