Asking your employees to bring their own device to work seems to be a great idea. It saves cost on hardware, software and even maintenance of devices and it is a great way to allow employees to take their work home with them. When they work on their own device, they are always connected to work.
A brilliant idea from the outset, the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model has some serious pitfalls, most of which are not always apparent. If not implemented carefully and rightly, it can go terribly wrong too and CIO tells you how. Here's how BYOD can turn into your worst nightmare:
While the freedom to use one's own familiar device can be a great choice, it can quickly turn into a disaster. When you latch your device onto a secure network, where other devices are also latched on, a single virus in any of the devices can quickly spread to the whole network and from there, to other devices on the network. This can be an expensive 'accident' and you could end up losing precious company resources as well as man-hours that could have otherwise been put to productive use. Formulating the data policies for using your device and the data at the workplace itself can be a rather daunting task.
It seems that asking your employees to bring their own devices to work can help you cut down costs, but you have to provide them with the right kind of data costs. Misuse of Internet for downloading personal or unnecessary content, or data roaming charges can pile up into huge bills, which you will have to foot on the behalf of your employee. A lot of employees tend to create huge bills for using their own devices and there are not many ways to put checks on such usage. If you do intend to put a check on such data usage, you will end up investing a lot of money in creating the requisite infrastructure for it.
When companies let their employees use their own devices with the company's data connection, there is a good chance that something illegal may follow. It could be something as simple as illegally downloading music or other media, to something more sinister like fraud and treason. The spectrum is so large, that it is not always possible to put security checks in place. Even the best of compliance policies and government regulations may fail when it comes to someone who is insistent on misusing technology.
Another hidden disaster of BYOD is data loss. Employees often sync their smartphones or computers with their corporate accounts. Any loss of the device can result in a major data loss. So you don't only lose an expensive device, you also lose all the data stored in it. To really spell it out, it can have disastrous consequences for your business and your organization. Even if you are able to recover your data, there is no telling who else has access to it. You must be ready for the possibility that your data and information may be misused.
From a distance, the BYOD seems to be a model to increase happiness and productivity. However, this seldom happens. More often than not, a personal device has too many distractions for the employee. Though worker productivity is supposed to spike with this, it was seen that employees wasted a lot of time doing personal things and using company time to check out their social networking profiles. You could sort this problem out by blacklisting certain apps, but that too is not a definitive solution to this problem.
The moral of the story is, the D in BYOD may not always be as simple as a device.
What do you think?