The acronym BYOD stands for ‘Bring Your Own Device’. This practice is relatively recent and it allows staff to use their own mobile devices to carry out their duties in the workplace.
Origin and development of BYOD
Although the term was first coined in 2009, it became more widely used from 2010 onwards, due to the increase in the number of personal devices that staff were bringing to work, often in contravention of company rules.
Considering the increase in the violations of these rules and the impossibility of stopping a phenomenon deriving from the exponential tech expansion generated by smartphones and tablets, some companies decided to change their policy and adopt BYOD instead.
By 2014, the practice had become so widespread that the acronym BYOD had given rise to other sub-categories and terms, used to indicate functionality types authorised to enter company premises. Some examples are:
- BYOA – bring your own app;
- BYOE – bring your own encryption;
- BYOI – bring your own identity;
- BYOT – bring your own technology;
- BYON – bring your own network.
With this system, members of staff are authorised to use their favourite mobile device to carry out their daily work more efficiently, without any particular restrictions. However, is this really an entirely positive development or are there any disadvantages to be taken into account?
The advantages of BYOD
Companies choose to adopt a policy of BYOD for their workers mainly to help reduce costs. Imagine the potential costs of purchasing a smartphone for each individual employee and keeping it constantly updated in terms of hard- and software.
On the other hand, by allowing workers total freedom to use devices they already possess, costs are kept to a minimum. Furthermore, the transversal benefits should be considered; a person who is familiar with the device he is using to work from, for example, is bound to be more capable when using it and will be able to carry out tasks much more quickly and efficiently.
In addition, such devices (being their users’ property) are generally treated with more respect than devices issued by the company. It should also be noted that as workers are more at ease using their own devices, stress levels fall and productivity rises.
Disadvantages of BYOD
Despite representing an innovative step, BYOD also opens the door to new types of risk, connected with security. The lack of complete control over the devices which are connected to the company network creates new vulnerabilities, potentially leading to sensitive data leaks or worse.
It has therefore become necessary for companies that allow BYOD to create:
- Specific IT departments;
- Ad hoc policies which stipulate which data may be accessed via personal devices and to what degree this data may be remotely deleted in the case of smartphone loss etc.
Of course, the inevitable price of this more rigid form of BYOD is the privacy of workers, which is often compromised due to the monitoring of data traffic, sites visited and the number of accesses carried out.
In conclusion, we might say that despite its enormous potential, Bring Your Own Device still needs some fine tuning and more detailed regulation in order to render it 100% efficient in the workplace.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith