It is arguably the hottest tech trend ... corporate tech trend at least. BYOD.
Bring Your Own Device refers to an emerging fad where businesses allow team members to use their personally owned devices - in our case, mobile devices - to access privileged or proprietary company information and documents.
Sure, there was a time we would be excited when our employers provided us with a work handset. Sure, there was a time when we seperated our work and personal phones. But those days are on the way out. And those days are being ushered out by both employers and employees.
Mobile devies come in all maner of varieties these days; from phones, to phablets to tablets and then some. We all have our preferences, which may not be the device our boss provides. Being locked into a company provided phone means you need to know their system, their set up and their rules.
It may mean that you can't (or shouldn't) use for make personal calls, check personal emails or browse personal stuff; even those the device is on your person all the time.
In effect, it is restrictive. BYOD allows you the freedom to use whatever device you chose to do your job. No learning curve, no multiple devices, no problem.
Schools, small business owners and even large organizations love it too because it increases productivity and it improves morale; it is remarkably convenient, cost effective and flexible.
Now, before you run out and threaten to quit if your bosses don't immediately implement BYOD, bear in mind that the acronym can easily be interpreted to mean, Bring Your Own Disaster.
If you loose your device, leave the company or have it damaged on the job you could be in hot water and your employer up a creek. It is so easy for data (personal and privileged) to fall into the wrong hands weather by accident or deliberately.
Be smart when you approach your boses to pitch for BYOD. Suggest that they implement BYOD policies that include data backs up, encryption, location tracking and remote lock down. Agree on how to handle access to your personal data verses company data if there are issues. And finally, change your habits to keep in line with the mutually agreed policies.
It's so easy these days to implement BYOD policies. All the major mobile operating systems address business/personal security issues. Blackberry offers Balance for their handsets and extends Balance to iOS and Android devices via Secure Work Space. Samsung is pushing hard with Knox and even Apple offers enterprise solutions for personal phones and tablets.
BOYD can be extended to include just about any type of technology including hardware like laptops and software like apps. The possibilities are limitless. It is harder for larger organizations to implement BYOB because it can give nightmares to IT administrators. For small to medium sized organizations, they may find that its the best option for equipping a team with the lastest gear.
Is BYOD right for you? Well, like everything else in tech, its not the technology, but how you use it that counts.