Friday, October 12, 2012

Bring-Your-Own-Device Takes off in the Workplace

Are you able to access your computer network in the office with your personal iPad? What about your personal iPhone or your laptop computer? This movement, known as bring-your-own-device or BYOD, is on the rise in the workplace. It makes sense: When companies encourage employees to bring their personal devices to work, these same businesses don't have to spend as much on desktop computers and other high-tech tools. The move also is practical for workers. Employees may well be more accustomed to their own devices. And if they bring their own laptops and tablets to work, they can more easily transport their files, email messages and important documents back and forth from home to work.


The Risks of BYOD


But the BYOD movement does have risks, risks that ComputerWorld columnist Darragh Delaney highlights in a recent column. Delaney writes that IT security personnel are growing more worried about the hazards of letting employees use their own devices to access workplace networks. The greater the quantity of outside devices connecting into a network, the higher the risk that a network will become a victim of some sort of malware attack. Naturally, not all employees take the proper steps to defend their computing devices.


Company Information at Risk


Another worry that companies face when employees use their personal devices is that those devices leave the office with them. What if there is sensitive information on those devices and they lose them? It could expose the company. One solution to this is that companies could have restrictions around what sorts of company information is kept on personal devices. Employees may also give training around how to keep their devices safe. Whatever the risks, allowing employees to use outside devices on the network increases productivity.


The BYOD Trend


As more and more people have tablets and smartphones, it is likely that more businesses will face this decision. The greatest benefit to allowing employees to use personal devices is the increase in productivity. This is due mainly to the fact that they know their devices and they always have them. If BYOD sounds like it will work for your company, just be sure your workers take appropriate measures with their devices to keep your company’s data protected.

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