What are the benefits and risks of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

Author: Ashley Shaw, XpertHR Legal Editor

The practice of allowing employees to use their personal devices to conduct business has many benefits to the employer. However, there are many risks against which an employer should caution. The following are some of the potential benefits and risks that could be the result of allowing BYOD in the workplace.

Benefits:

  • It could save an employer money.
  • Employees are happy with the technology they have because they got to pick it.
  • Employees may be more responsible with the technology because they paid for it.

Risks:

  • There are many security risks associated with loss of the device or theft of trade secrets.
  • Employees may feel as if they are losing their privacy rights when their employer has access or rights tied to the employee's personal device.
  • Employees may not get the most up-to-date software or device when choosing their own technology.
  • Devices may not be adequate for specific work environments (e.g., easily breakable technology in a rugged work environment).
  • It may become less clear whether a social media account or a creation, such as an invention, writing or design, belongs to the employer or the employee when it was created and accessed on a device used for both work and personal matters.

These are just some of the benefits and risks associated with this growing trend. An employer should consider both sides of the trend before allowing BYOD in the workplace and then create a policy to address the risks and be strict in enforcing the policy.