BYOD: Good for Small Businesses or Risky

As technology continues to advance, small businesses are beginning to incorporate employee’s own technological devices into their work duties. BYOD, which stands for Bring Your Own Device, means that the business is letting employees use their own devices, such as smart phones, tablet PCs and laptops, for business purposes. An employee brings in his own tablet PC to complete their job functions, and keeps it updated and secure on his own. While this can be beneficial to both the employee and the company, it also comes with some risks that may not be worth it.

Pros of BYOD:

  • Save money – Because the costs of maintaining and updating the electronic devices are shifted to the employee, the business saves money on these costs. While the business may pay for some of the software or security measures, the employee is covering the majority of the costs associated with using and maintaining their electronic devices.
  • Utilization of newer, cutting edge technology faster – Employees tend to have access to the new and cutting edge technological advances more quickly than businesses can provide. This means the business in turn has faster access to this cutting edge technology. The latest technical features and tools will be utilized by the employee, therefore utilized by the company.
  • Worker satisfaction – By offering employees more flexibility in how they get their job done, their satisfaction is going to increase. Many people feel more comfortable using their own devices at work, making this an advantage for incorporating BYOD at your company. You may also notice with the increase in worker satisfaction comes the increase in productivity which is another benefit for the company.

Cons of BYOD:

  • Security concerns – One of the biggest disadvantages to BYOD in the workplace is the lack of security and safety. When employees use devices or computers strictly belonging to the company, you have more control over what is and is not accessed through those computers. However when an employee brings in their own device, they also use it for personal use which increases the security issues. You will also not have immediate access to the device for adding and updating additional security precautions.
  • Lack of technology support for nonstandard devices – Aside from the primary security issues, small businesses also need to be concerned about the lack of technological support on the devices. This is especially true if an employee is using a device that is considered non-standard, such as one that used a different operating system like Linux which the employer may not be as familiar with.
  • Compliance concerns – Some businesses fall under mandates with very specific compliance rules, such as HIPAA, GLBA or PCI DSS in which all computers and devices used for business purposes must have certain standards. This may include software, security measures, and additional safeguarding of company data. When an employee uses their own device, it can be more difficult to make sure they are complying.
  • Liability concerns – When employees use their computers or devices for personal reasons, it opens up a a can of worms regarding a variety of liability issues. For example, if a virus infects their computer, private company information can get leaked. Or if the employee is fired, company data still exists on their computer or device. These liabilities can be protected by cyber liability insurance in order to continue allowing BYOD at your company.

BYOD can be beneficial to the small business and employees, but you should keep in mind the disadvantages as well, before deciding whether or not you will allow your workers to use their own personal devices for business purposes. Be sure to take extra measures for security and safeguarding your company data.