BYOD may sound like a party acronym, but it’s actually a new policy sweeping many professional spheres that stands for “bring your own device,” meaning you bring your own laptop computer, tablet, or smartphone to work. The twist is that you bring the device to work with the intent to use it for company business.
The benefits of a BYOD policy are obvious for the employer: portable devices are expensive, especially if you want to keep up with the newest technology. If employees are willing to supply their own solutions, many companies won’t stand in the way of those savings—especially when the devices also promote efficiency. Employees also benefit from bringing their own devices. They can get rid of outdated company Blackberries and opt for the iPhone, Android, or Windows phone with which they’re most comfortable. This also allows the use of apps to communicate and manage daily work. (You can access information about these types of apps through the Beyond.com clerical community.)
Not everyone is happy in the BYOD waters, though, and a number of people are bringing up valid concerns about security, privacy, and fairness. Research conducted by Gartner indicates that around 50 percent of companies may require staff to bring their own devices within the next few years. Currently, most companies offer an optional BYOD policy; employees can always turn to office-supplied PCs for work. Requiring personal devices for work purposes may allow companies to shave expenses by refusing to replace office computers, which means even employees who haven’t made technology a personal priority will be forced to make this type of purchase.
Setting aside debates about whether BYOD requirements are financially fair to employees still leaves issues about privacy. If your cellphone or other device is linked up with the company’s network, how much of your personal information does your employer have access to? Many employers are concerned that BYOD may weaken security and increase the risk of data leaks or hacks. Personal data is important too. Do you really want your employer to have access to your personal contact list, browsing history, and financial data or the pictures you store on your device?
BYOD requirements may also cause roadblocks for job seekers. If numerous companies are requiring employees to supply their own devices, what happens when you switch jobs? Your first job might have required a device with one set of compatibilities; if the next job doesn’t have the same requirements, you might need to make a new purchase. The contracts associated with some of these devices mean you could rack up hefty expenses in the name of furthering your career.
Allowing BYOD has provided many companies with an edge in productivity, communication, and creativity. Whether or not mandatory BYOD is effective still remains to be seen. If you have concerns about your company’s policy on BYOD, it’s probably best to speak to your boss now rather than waiting for a mandate.
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Nancy Anderson is the communities and article Editor for Beyond.com. Nancy has 10 years experience in the online job search business with Beyond. Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites. Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on https://twitter.com/BeyondJobs.