- is our organization mature/prepared enough to allow external devices coming into our ecosystem?
- is our workforce trained and educated enough to understand their possibilities, actions and consequences?
- is our overall culture and strategy aligned with the new world of BYOD?
What's the point in blocking Facebook, twitter etc. when clearly your employees likely have a smartphone in their pocket and will use these services anyway?
Having said that, I believe we need to understand the motivations and the cost x benefits that BYOD would bring to an organization.
For example, it is common practice that content created on company's computers are intellectual property not of the employee but the company itself; however what are the implications if the employee creates his material in a personally own laptop? who has the IP of the production? you see...that's already raising big questions and yet this is not even the tip of the iceberg. The lines between IP and behaviour are getting blurred by the minute.
and here's the raw truth. 67% of the people are already using it and the majority of people is in favour of bringing their own devices to work anyway.
How did the BYOD thing started?We live in a social world, and the technology reflected this in many ways, mimicking across the virtual world. Now we have Facebook, tweeter etc. So when people went to work, they felt the need to adjust their new virtual persona across the boundaries as well. People don't want to wait until 6PM to live their online personas, they want full experience, control. So, BYOD started from the employee/worker's perspective.
The next step was then to use the devices they felt more confortable with. Your company might have a preferred mobile device such as BlackBerry for business, HP for laptops, encrypted USB drives for data transfer. And more often than not, these are pushed via company policies. However, some workers did not like BlackBerry, they want to use iPhones, they prefer using a Samsung Series 9 instead of HP, and they prefer to keep their stuff in pocket hard disks. People were then using the company's recommended devices and side-by-side using their own preferred ones. Almost like a parallel reality.
And for a whole new generation which was born with a myriad of technological options, being able to choose their own hardware and software platforms makes them more satisfied. More satisfied workers likely makes more productive people. More productive people increases the chances of a project success. Project success makes companies happy. Win-Win for companies and workers.
Sounds like simple joining the dots. It isn't.
Research has shown more majority of organizations are against BYOD , and in fact some organizations actually ban workers bringing their own devices to work. But don't blame the corporations for it, some of them have very good points to back their policies.
Look at this research and you can see that almost 60% of U.S. IT professionals view mobile devices owned by employees as posing the greatest risk their organization face . If you work in the healthcare or finance, this is even more real.
Mainly this happens because some industries are highly regulated by very strong code of practices when it comes to sensitive and privacy data such as company and customers. These industry regulators stand a very strong stance and it an organization is found breaching some of their obligations they can easily face fines and some cases even jail.
See now? the iceberg tip starts to show up and the conversation is not focused anymore just on gadgets but how a business is run and their obligations with the market, government and citizens.
Overall, all this is great. It opens up the canvas for discussion around the pros and cons of adopting BYOD.
Just accepting BYOD as the coolest thing ever at the workplace is not the smartest route. As in any project, all the risks and benefits need to be weighted.
By Edge Pereira