Why BYOD is still to fully take flight

Why BYOD Still Hasn't Happened After Two Decades of Work Phones

After nearly two decades of having smartphones and other devices that are exclusively for work purposes, there has been little headway in making Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, a standard practise in the work place. In fact, it is nearly unheard of as a standard accepted business practice. What exactly is preventing this convenient solution from becoming the norm? Here are a few of the major reasons why BYOD has yet to take off.

Data Security

The number one problem of implementing BYOD in the workplace is data security. After all, how can you ensure that people will always use their devices in accordance with company security guidelines?

Time and time again employees have proven themselves to be untrustworthy when it comes to data security. This problem extends from the C-level to even IT professionals. In some instances, the spread of sensitive company information is the result of a malicious intent to damage the company by a disgruntled employee. However, in other cases, employees have simply made the mistake of storing company information on mobile devices that are later stolen or lost.

It also isn’t hard to find a news story that recounts the damage caused by an employee mishandling sensitive data. In fact, it was just last year that Coca-Cola was forced to report a data breach when a Coca-Cola employee stole 55 laptops that contained the sensitive information of 74,000 people, most of whom were Coca-Cola employees.

Privacy Concerns

Companies want to keep their data out of the hands of unauthorized users and hackers. Employees want to keep their personal photos, texts and phone calls away from employers. As a result, the task of drafting policies that cover nearly every type of device and situation while still addressing the privacy concerns of employees has proven so far to be nearly impossible. Mobile devices are continuously being upgraded, which means that company's IT policies would also have to follow suit.

In addition, BYOD has raised concerns with employees and privacy advocates because it is unclear in many cases as to where the line should be drawn with regard to the amount of access that an employer has to a personal device. In the event that the company becomes involved in a lawsuit, work-related items that have been stored on employee-owned devices will be likely required by a court to be preserved for discovery purposes. This leaves employees with little to no control over the personal information that is stored on these devices.

Legal Ramifications

Dealing with the legal issues surrounding BYOD is expensive. Tom Kaneshige, Senior Writer at CIO.com points out that "BYOD is riddled with hidden costs, such as expense report processing, management (including MDM software), employees gaming expenses, zombie phones attacking the mobile budget, messy conversion of phone service liability, among other issues. All tallied, BYOD might end up costing more than corporate-owned devices."

As a result, the costs of compliance in order to ensure that BYOD policies work for the company and are legally viable has eaten away from any potential benefits that BYOD could bring to the mobile workforce. Until organizations determine how to resolve these issues, widespread adoption of BYOD is likely to remain an unachievable goal for most organisations.

However, some experts do believe that change regarding BYOD could come in the form of legislation that is designed to handle these concerns. If that happens, companies may no longer have to worry about mapping out a plan that is fraught with risk in order to implement BYOD in the workplace.