Is Bring Your Own Devices Concept Good?

BlackBerry and Apple are credit with introducing the concept of bring your own devices (BYOD) in the workplace. Under the concept, organizations allow their employees to bring their own mobile devices and PCs to the workplace to use them in performing tasks related to their jobs. BYOD has benefited various companies. However, IT security poses the greatest challenge to the effectiveness of this concept. Improved productivity and innovation, cost saving, and high employee satisfaction are some of the major advantages of BYOD. Generally, employees are more comfortable when using their own devices in the workplace than when using company-provided devices. This improves their productivity and innovation. The concept enables employees to perform their duties regardless of wherever they are. They do not need to be at their desks to perform tasks related to their jobs. The concept of bring your own devices helps in improving employee satisfaction since employees are more satisfied when they use the devices they like instead of using devices that have been chosen for them by the IT department. As such, bring your own devices makes employers seem flexible and open-minded (Egan, 2013).

Despite the fact that BYOD is advantageous to an organization, it has several disadvantages which if not properly tackled may jeopardize the operations of an organization. ‘The Dark Side of BYOD’ and ‘BYOD as We Know It Is Dead’ are two articles that highlight some of the disadvantages of BYOD. The articles highlight the security risks associated with BYOD. Losing vital company data and impacts of malware and viruses are some of the major security risks that companies that use BYOD are exposed to (Koh, Oh & Im, 2014). Companies that use BYOD risk their sensitive data being sent over unsecured emails or devices. Synchronization of the devices with various cloud services would also increase the vulnerability of the company’s data. Sharing of devices and loss of the devices would also expose sensitive company’s data to security threats. An organization may use various security control and technologies to manage the risk that its data is exposed to (O’Hanley & Tiller, 2013). However, for these measures to be effective, an organization should have detailed bring your own devices policies.

They should require their employees to use mobile devices that have certain security requirements, authentication requirements, and transmission requirements. The organization should also ensure that employees use the right apps, which have safety specifications that are in accordance with the organization’s specifications (Koh, Oh & Im, 2014). This would ensure that sensitive company data is not shared with unauthorized parties. An organization should also ensure that the strategy for BYOD aligns with its business case and strategic goals. Organizations should ensure that they involve all stakeholders in the formation of the mobility group during the early stages of its development. They should also formulate a support and operations model, continuously analyze the risks involved in the use of BYOD, and verify whether employees adhere to the security requirements (Tu, Yuan & Archer, 2014).

Bring your own devices has had a negative impact on certain organizations in the real world. The article ‘The Dark Side of BYOD’ highlights the case of a $500 million health and wellness company that was negatively impacted by BYOD. A consultant hired by the company determined that end users of BYOD were sharing sensitive customer data via public email channels. The sensitive customer data included credit card numbers and bank routing numbers. This exposed the data to security threats. The end users of BYOD engaged in these practices despite the fact that the company had an approved and documented communications process (Buckley, 2013).

If I was in charge of an organization that intends to implement bring your own devices concept, I would consider implementing the concept only if there are no issues on security risks and compliance of the concept with the existing business practices. However, I would acknowledge that I would be faced with two major hurdles. This is despite the fact that the benefits of BYOD outweigh its disadvantages. The articles ‘The Dark Side of BYOD’ and ‘BYOD as We Know It Is Dead’ failure to handle the policy and security issues during the implementation of BYOD would jeopardize the operations of an organization. In fact, a significant proportion of security professionals acknowledge that mobile devices poses the greatest threat to contemporary organizations. Using the concept of BYOD would result in a significant increase in data breach. Use of the concept of BYOD increases the risk of loss of intellectual property or sensitive customer data (Koh, Oh & Im, 2014). An organization should ensure that implementation of the BYOD concept helps in improving its efficiency and productivity. Therefore, if the organization can handle the security issues, there is no reason as to why it should not implement the concept. BYOD may be one of the major factors that would make the organization have a competitive edge over its rivals in the industry. In fact, various companies – such as Microsoft – have successfully used bring your own devices to improve their competitiveness (Crossler et al., 2014).

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