Original Post Date: June 18, 2015

There is a movement afoot suggesting that there may be compelling reasons for employees to use their own technology (phones, laptops, tablets) in the workplace.  And it may actually be a movement inspired by employees not employers.  A recent survey (http://www.zdnet.com/article/research-74-percent-using-or-adopting-byod/) found that 74% of employers are allowing (or plan to allow in the near future) employees to use their Personal Mobile Devices (PMDs) for business purposes.  The benefits to the employee of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) include the convenience of not having to lug around personal and business devices, the ability to work with a device that meets their needs and that they are familiar with, and the ease of use associated with familiar devices.  There are also benefits for the employer.  There is a potential for some cost reduction (hardware and data plans) along with the benefits of increased productivity, happy employees and an increased ability to attract and retain good people.  Remember the people you are likely to hire today (new hires) have been attached to their PMDs for quite some time, and are unlikely to want to conform to an organizational standard that is different than what they are accustomed to.

But while there are potential benefits for both the employer and the employee, this does not mean the notion of BYOD is not making IT people around the globe shake in their boots.  There are serious IT implications associated with granting employees access to corporate data from their own devices.  Employers that are serious about BYOD need to invest in technology and process to make it possible.  Mobile Data Management or Mobile Application Management are technology solutions that can provide secure access to corporate data and applications. Employers also need to invest time and effort in developing a BYOD policy that will establish boundaries (what data does the organization have access to and what remains private), that determines what mobile devices and operating systems are supported, what data is owned by the corporation, what happens if the device is lost or stolen and what the consequences of misuse are. 

Most pundits opine that BYOD is happening in most organizations whether they embrace it or turn a blind eye. BYOD is an emerging concept that has gained considerable traction recently and will continue to gain traction as more members of the generation raised with cell phones enters the work force.  Organizations would be wise to understand the costs, benefits and IT implications of BYOD before they are overtaken by it.