Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Bring your own device (BYOD) — also called bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own phone (BYOP), and bring your own Personal Computer (BYOPC)—refers to the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace, and to use those devices to access privileged company information and applications. BYOD usage is primarily driven by perceived enjoyment. The phenomenon is commonly referred to as IT consumerization. The term BYOD first entered common use in 2009, courtesy of Intel when it recognized an increasing tendency among its employees to bring their own devices (i.e., smartphones, tablets and laptop computers) to work and connect them to the corporate network. However, it took until early 2011 before the term achieved any real prominence when IT services provider Unisys and software vendor Citrix Systems started to share their perceptions of this emergent trend. BYOD has been characterized as a feature of the "consumer enterprise" in which enterprises blend with consumers. This is a role reversal in that businesses used to be the driving force behind consumer technology innovations and trends.[1]

Why is BYOD Important[2]

  • Increased productivity and innovation: Employees are more comfortable with a personal device and become expert using it—making them more productive. Personal devices tend to be more cutting-edge, so the enterprise benefits from the latest features. Also users upgrade to the latest hardware more frequently.
  • Employee satisfaction: Your people use the devices they have chosen and invested in—rather than what was selected by IT. 83 percent of users considered their mobile device more important than their morning cup of coffee. Allowing employees to use personal devices also helps them avoid carrying multiple devices.
  • Cost savings: BYOD programs sometimes save budget by shifting costs to the user, with employees paying for mobile devices and data services. However, this often results in little to no savings, so do not base your decision primarily on anticipated savings.

Benefits of BYOD[3]

  • Increased worker satisfaction: Rather than being stuck with IT issued devices, employees are a lot happier using the mobile devices they already prefer and love.
  • Up-to-date devices:Technology is constantly changing, so it can be almost impossible and costly to keep up with the latest mobile device trends. Since BYOD devices are usually more updated and cutting-edge than the IT issued devices, the company gets to reap the benefits of the most modern features, capabilities, and upgrades
  • Saves money With a BYOD program on an enterprise wireless network, businesses can transfer operating costs to the user. Companies can save a lot of money with the worker paying for the majority or all of the costs for the mobile devices, services, and other associated expenses.
  • Enhances productivity By allowing workers the opportunity to use a device they are used to and more comfortable with, they can respond to requests faster, and are more comfortable working in their desired environment, thus leading to a significant increase in employee productivity.
  • Less stress on IT With BYOD, employees are more responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the devices they personally own, so it lessens the strain on the IT staff and they can actually spend more time focusing on more important issues than just help desk tickets.
  • Attracts the best applicants: Offering a BYOD on your enterprise wireless network can help to attract top performing applicants, who seek to work flexibly and often work on-the-go.
  • Increases engagement in the workplace and after hours Employees are more likely to work outside of the office and their responsiveness is increased when employees have the means to communicate outside of the office. This means they are more available outside of the office to answer emails and complete other tasks.

Risks of BYOD[4]

  • Sunk costs: Some companies choose to offer employees a partial reimbursement for the costs of purchasing and using a mobile device for work. That said, a Good Technology study revealed that half of all companies using BYOD make their employees cover all of the costs – and they’re happy to do so! But for companies that do choose to cover device costs, there is a risk of running into sunk costs. For example, let’s say your company just set up an employee with a new smartphone and service plan. Now let’s imagine that they end up quitting a few months later, leaving you to deal with an administrative mess. A great way to avoid this situation is to only cover the costs (either all or part) of the service plan and not the phone itself. That way when an employee leaves, they can keep the device and work out their own service plan. There needs to be a plan in place for recovering data from personal devices when an employee leaves your company AND keeps the device. Some BYOD service providers will have built-in processes for this.
  • Security: For many CIOs, security will be the top BYOD concern. Data leakage – during the transfer of information from devices to the cloud – is a real possibility. However, smartphone providers and IT departments are advancing their mobile security capabilities, so this is less of a concern than it used to be. Security risks may be mitigated by ensuring that employees understand and are invested in safe usage guidelines when using a device with work-related data for personal use. Security is a particular concern for smaller companies, who may not have adequate IT resources or capabilities in place. For these companies a mobile device management (MDM) or mobile application management (MAM) solution – even if it’s just a freemium trial version – is an ideal way to protect your data and reduce the risks of hacking and viruses. Working through a virtual private network (VPN) is another way to protect company data. The real risk is when employees are accessing data without using approved processes and company-sanctioned security tools.
  • Higher IT costs: Although BYOD policies are meant to reduce costs; however, without the right policies in place you run the risk of actually increasing your IT costs after switching to a BYOD approach. For instance, without a robust BYOD policy in place, you could face ballooning expenses in an effort to manage the diverse range of employee devices with different operating systems and hardware capabilities. Similarly, BYOD can be a productivity killer. It’s possible that knowledge workers armed with new BYOD capabilities might be inclined to take more international business trips or vacations. And if they’re paying for their own service plan, they might not be willing – and are under no obligation – to pay roaming fees to stay in contact with the office. This could eliminate the ‘free’ work that employees with corporate phones do while traveling. A solution to partly or fully subsidizing international data packages for frequent travelers could easily mitigate this risk.

See Also

Mobile Application
Mobile Application Management (MAM)
Mobile Content Management (MCM)
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
Enterprise Mobility
Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)


  1. Definition on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Wikipedia
  2. Why and how you should adopt BYOD IBM
  3. Benefits of BYOD SecuredGENetworks
  4. The Risks and Benefits of BYOD Policies at Work BullsEye Telecom

Further Reading