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The Risks and Benefits of Bring-Your-Own-Device Workplaces

Business Technology | October 12, 2012

Are you allowed to access your computer network at work with your personal iPad? What about your personal iPhone or your laptop computer? This trend, known as bring-your-own-device or BYOD, is on the rise in the workplace. It’s a wise idea: When companies encourage employees to bring their personal devices to the office, these same businesses do not have to spend as much on desktop computers and other high-tech equipment. The move also is practical for workers. Employees may well be more familiar with their own devices. And if they bring their own laptops and tablets to work, they can more easily carry their files, emails and important documents back and forth from home to work.

The Risks of BYOD

There are some risks to embracing a BYOD work environment. Darragh Delaney, a columnist at
ComputerWorld, discusses this in a recent column. Delaney wrote that there are some IT risks to think about when allowing personal devices to connect to your company’s network. The risk of being attacked by malware increases as the number of devices connected to a network increases. Particularly because a company cannot manage how much protection an employee has on their personal devices.

Company Information at Risk

Another aspect to consider when a company is deciding if you should allow employees to connect their devices to the network concerns information. When people leave the office, what information are they bringing out of the building with them? If they drop their device, sensitive data about the company could be at risk. There are a couple approaches to this. One, a company can make restrictions around what type of information can be stored on personal devices. Another idea is that an organization could train their employees to better protect their devices.

The BYOD Trend

It is unlikely that the BYOD trend will fade, especially as more and more individuals have tablets and smartphones. If companies want to take advantage of the benefits of allowing employees to connect their devices, the thing to strive for then is more training around safely connecting and storing data on these devices.


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