BYOD: a Right or a Privilege?

It used to be that there was a certain amount of pride in having a company-supplied computer or cell phone. Nowadays, for those I know with this perk, it just means having two computers or two cell phones. It seems that company devices are unnecessary in a world where every competitive employee already owns a computer or smartphone, something which certainly was not always the case. So what’s the big deal with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?

A sample of the future workforce, college-educated employees ages 20-29, were surveyed regarding this issue. Their feelings regarding BYOD were overwhelmingly strong– the workers felt it was a right, and not a privilege, to utilize their own devices at work. In fact the workers answered that, regardless of company policy, they currently engage their personal devices at work. 1 out of 3 said they would break company policy to do so.

So why are companies against BYOD? Well for one, with employees engaging their personally-owned devices, companies lose control over the IT hardware and how it is used. How does a company tell an employee what they can and cannot do with their personal devices? The lines inevitably become grayed. Security of company data is also an issue. The same rules must be followed with personal devices as when using company-owned devices, but when an employee is let go, retrieving the company’s data becomes trickier.

This considered, two-thirds of the young workers surveyed believed they should be responsible for the security of devices used for work purposed, not the company.

Are these employees simply being selfish, or is there something to BYOD? CIO.com says there are benefits. The most obvious benefit being the money saved–up to $80 a month per user. With BYOD, the users cover most, if not all, costs related to their devices, and in most companies with BYOD policies, they report being happy to do so. This is most likely because of the second benefit: employee satisfaction. Workers chose their personal devices themselves, and usually for good reason. Therefore, they are much happier to use a device of their personal choosing than one chosen for them by the company, with which they may or may not find themselves compatible.

Users are also more likely to be frequently updating their personal devices, keeping the company on the cutting edge of technology. With BYOD, the company benefits from the latest technological features without having to constantly update each device themselves–or foot the bill. For users, this is also less hassle, as many company updates are slow and tedious.

Could it be that what on the surface seems a selfish demand of young employees, could actually be mutually beneficial to them and their employer?

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9 responses to “BYOD: a Right or a Privilege?

  1. The company I’m interning for is actually rolling out BYOD. The thing is that it’s pretty much unavoidable, or at least from what I’ve been told. Too many people were asking to link up their devices and even their iPads and stuff so there was a point where IT just threw up their hands and said “alright, we’re doing BYOD”. For my supervisor at least, it’s going to be the first time he’s owned a phone on his own since he’s always used a company phone.

    I definitely think it’s a good change. I know I’d rather use my own phone rather than a company issued Blackberry (ew…). It is a headache for the people setting up BYOD since there are a lot of logistics to be considered. If it’s not implemented correctly, then BYOD could end up being a huge security risk. However, if implemented with the correct security policies, I can see how it’s beneficial for the users. The old company-issued phones are a relic of days past when decent cell phones were expensive; now we get them for free with our phone contracts.

  2. For me, I think that it will all depend on where you work and what your job entails. I think it may also be different between having a job and having a career. I work at a driving school and if they required me to use my own cell phone and laptop to do what I need to do, I don’t think I would be very happy about it. I think because it is just a job and I don’t think that my personal information and my work information should be mixed. However, I think if it is your career then you should definitely be allowed to use your own personal devices. Your personal information should be more public at that point, I think at least. But I do understand if you have a job were you interact with highly classified information. For example, if you were in the CIA you would most likely have to use the devices they provide you.

  3. I’m entirely against a BYOD policy and this is why: work is work; employees should absolutely have the chance to completely unplug themselves from their job. As soon as a company requires me to have my work email on my personal device, I’m answering emails and putting out fires at three in the morning. If you’re a workaholic and want your work email everywhere you go, then suit yourself, but it should not be a company requirement. I venture so far as to say that it is healthier to have two devices — we have previously discussed that we spend too much time dependent on our own hand held gadgets. But with two, there’s always the option to just put it away and to unplug from the office after hours. Then maybe waste your time on your personal device, but at least your not obliged.

    • I can see where you’re coming from and like you I’d want to unplug from my job. Unfortunately it really depends on what kind of job that you’re in. Since I’m looking to get into IT, I would need to be plugged in all the time because off power outages or server crashes that may occur that I need to be aware of (I know the people at my work rotate on-call weekends).

      So since I do need to be plugged in all the time, having one device would probably make it easier; I don’t feel like having my work Blackberry and my own Android phone with me all the time, so one device makes it easier.

      In addition, at least the company where I intern at, BYOD has been requested over and over by employees so they’re converting over to it. So this isn’t a company pushing out BYOD, it’s a result of employees wanting it. Other companies may vary though, I’m not really sure.

      Now of course if you have a job that doesn’t require being plugged in all the time, two devices are fine. Of course I would prefer that, if I could find a job like that. I like not having to worry about anything once I clock out, it’s one of the better parts of working (other than the money).

  4. I agree with Jordan, it really depends on the work environment. For jobs, I think it’s logical if the company provides you with the technology to do what they want you to, especially if an employee cannot afford it. It’s analogous to the university email. You can use it and your personal email separately, or you could have one forward to the other, whatever is more convenient for the individual. The school is providing their students with the technology and resources to learn. Companies are helping their employers do what they’re hired for. So, why shouldn’t companies provide their employees with the technology and resources to work?

    Careers are more along the lines of, “I’m doing this because I want to; getting paid is a bonus!” If they want to use their own technology rather than rely on the company, than it only makes sense if they are allowed to bring their own device. It makes it easier for them and may (possibly and effectively) help the company in the long run. However, just because I think they should be allowed to doesn’t mean I think they have the “right” to.

    It’s a subjective concept, but my definition of a right are “freedoms granted to individuals for a fair and equal opportunity of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Once the individual applies to work for the company, they’re agreeing to abide to the company’s rules and regulations. For this reason, I say, BYOD is more of a privilege than a right. If companies allow their employees to bring their own tech, than great! Everyone is happy and they could go do whatever they want. But companies should not be required to do so, nor should they require others to adapt to BYOD. If anything, companies not providing and giving everyone the equal opportunity to work is against our rights, not the other way around! (you can tell this post surprised me)

  5. I wonder though, even if a company realized that rolling out said policy would save money, could the company handle giving up the control? If the company is paying for your plan and your phone, they call all the shots. For some, I think, it would be too difficult to relinguish the power.

  6. I feel like company devices have always been abused by employees. My father worked at Mayo for many years, and was provided a company computer to bring home and use. Because he had is own computer, his work computer became our (his offspring’s) game device of choice. By the time it was returned, the hard drive had to be completely wiped and defragmented for the computer to take under five minutes to boot up. I honestly don’t see why BYOD would pose a problem, apart from possible compatibility issues with company software.

  7. Working in a company that utilizes email in the same way that a teenager uses texting, I agree with Lauren. Even if it is a career that you love, there is a time where work must be separated from a person’s life in order for them to maintain their sanity. So, I guess I would be against a company making a BYOD policy unless there was a function added into it to allow the user to shut down the company’s applications on the device while maintaining normal functions.

  8. I think there are pro’s and con’s to BYOD. I think it depends on the amount of security the job requires. If you are working at a job where there is a huge risk of private information being leaked, then I think the company should issue its own devices. I say this because if they are paying for the devices then they would have the right to confiscate it or look through it whenever they want. I think there are privacy issues being violated if your boss demanded to see your own personal devices. However, I think for some companies, it would be beneficial to switch over to BYOD. It would save so much money and would be more convenient for the employees. Who wants to carry around two phones or two laptops? It reminds me of that scene from the remake of the movie Freaky Friday where the mom is grocery shopping and her phone starts to ring and she pulls out like 6 different devices trying to see which one is ringing. It just seems more convenient to have one device. And if you don’t want to be bothered by work, then ignore the calls or texts from work and go about your day. If you need to unplug from technology, then unplug from all your technology, work and personal technology both.

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