What is BYOD and why is it important?

BYOD means Bring Your Own Device and refers to the policy or practice of allowing employee-owned devices to be used in the workplace for the purposes of carrying out tasks and duties associated with an employee’s work.

In many Australian workplaces, for both convenience and practicality, it is anticipated and almost expected that employees will use their own mobile phone and sometimes laptops or other devices for work-related tasks. It’s an important topic as there are some significant benefits to both the employee and employer, however also many risks and pitfalls which employers should consider.

What devices are we talking about?

When we talk about BYOD we are mainly talking about smartphones and laptops, but BYOD refers to all devices and accompanying media such as:

  • Laptop/notebook
  • Tablets such as iPads
  • Mobile/cellular devices
  • Smartphones
  • PDAs
  • Digital Cameras
  • Dongles

Essentially, any mobile device that is capable of storing or accessing data and connecting to a network.

What are the benefits of BYOD?

When an employee can bring their own device to work, there are potential efficiencies in that they are familiar with using the device and won’t be required to learn how to use a new (work supplied) device.

Risks and considerations for employers

If not well managed, allowing employees to use their own devices for work can expose the business to IT security breaches, make it easier to access and replicate company IP, and put sensitive business systems at risk.

Further, using their own personal phone or laptop for work means there is little separation between work and personal tasks, meaning employees may spend time on social media or responding to personal emails on work time.

How can employers manage risks associated with BYOD?

When businesses allow employees to use their own devices to access privileged company information and applications, employees and contractors need to strictly adhere to relevant policies and procedures to protect company IP and confidential information.

There are many ways to do this including having systems and processes for registering devices, having an agreement to access personal devices for work-related administration of IT, employment contracts and policies outlining expectations and education around what is acceptable use of personal devices at work.

BYOD is popular for many good reasons, and if managed well, can deliver cost savings to employers while providing employees with convenience and ease in their work.

Have questions around devices at work, privacy concerns, or need to implement policies for your team to formalise the BYOD policy to reflect what is already happening in your workplace? Our team can help. Get in touch with us today.