A few weeks ago we touched on the upcoming trend of organizations letting employees bring their own device (BYOD) to work. In the survey cited, Fortinet found that employees were excited for the flexibility and felt more productive when working on their personal device. But know, recent reports are showing that company officials are shying away from instating this previously positive policy.
On a positive note, organizations are looking at one advantage – rather than having to mass-distribute smart phones and tablets, employees would be responsible for providing them- a huge investment that could save companies thousands.
But, this is also a problem, without getting into the security issues surrounding BYOD, just think about how little the line separating personal and corporate life would become. Although it would be saving the company money, would it be costing them more in the long run?
Why the concern? When employees are allowed to bring personal devices for business use, the fear is that business-related activities may take a back seat to personal activities (i.e. answering personal emails and/or personal social media updates).
Not surprisingly Gen Y seems to be the leader of this trend in the work place, with most in the twenty-something age range expecting to be free to use their own devices at work, and a third that stated they’d ignore security policies if they barred use of personal mobile devices in the workplace.
But what does this mean for security issues? Well, the biggest concern is protecting company data. With corporate devices it is more easily monitored, whereas on personal devices there is no way to track what is happening without being intrusive (unless it is stated in the company policy that it would be one of the trade offs). When you think about it though, BYOD has been happening for years. Think of all the times you opted out of a software your company insisted to use, instead you went with one you knew or just liked better? That’s basically the same thing, though it would probably be called BYOS (bring your own software).
So really the question is: Are we afraid of the security issues associated with the Gen Y work force?
While the answer leans to yes, we shouldn’t be. Not only is Gen Y bringing team work back to the work force, they are also embracing new efficient technologies more willingly – a huge plus for when you need to sick someone on learning a new process. The key is to play on Gen Y’s strength, and not to be intimidated by their need to mesh personal and corporate life instead work with it.
BYOD may not be for everyone, but it also might not be the main concern. What do you think?