The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) commissioned a survey to be conducted by YouGov to identify how many workers use their own personal devices to process company information. The survey revealed that 47% of workers do so, however, only 3 in 10 are provided with specific guidance on how their devices should be used when processing company information.

Back in the paper-only days bringing your own device to work was unheard of and would certainly raise a few eyebrows. Nowadays, due to advancements in technology and the widespread use of portable computer equipment such as tablets, laptops and smartphones, it is very much becoming the norm.

What is a BYOD policy?

A BYOD policy gives guidance on how non-company issued devices should be used by employees for work purposes and whether such use is permitted at all.

Why are BYOD schemes good?

  • It is a significant saving in time and increase of productivity – Allowing employees to responsibly process company information on their own devices allows the flow of data to be almost instant and minimising any delays, due to the accessibility of portable devices during and outside of regular working hours. A survey commissioned by Samsung calculated that BYOD schemes save employees 58 minutes each day and also allowing their productivity to increase by 34%.
  • It saves money – not only the benefit of time efficiency and increased productivity can be a significant cost reduction, but also a lower number of Company issued devices can help save costs too.
  • It can help to recruit millennials – Processes done electronically attract and retain the new generation of talent which was raised with the ever-present technology around us.

Why can BYOD schemes be not so good?

  • IT support challenges – when companies issue their own devices, they are usually standardised and equipped with unified software. Allowing employees to use their own equipment can be difficult to manage, especially when the operating systems vary a lot from one another.
  • Data security issues – tackling security on own devices can be challenging especially when employee’s family members have access to devices on which company information is processed. It will all depend on what type of data your company generates and processes.
  • Departing employees – during the exit process, the employer must ensure that no confidential information is retained by the leaving employee. It can prove tricky to separate personal and company information on a personal device and the IT department might not have a choice but to erase all information stored. This might be especially difficult, as many individuals store a significant number of digital data of personal value on their own devices.
  • Customer support – if the departing employee was responsible for interaction with customers, then their own personal number will be retained by those important company contacts and contactable after their departure.
  • Work-life balance – being able to constantly access company information, might not allow employees to fully “switch-off” from their role and impact negatively on their work-life balance, as well as physical and mental wellbeing.

Risks of not having a BYOD Policy?

Lack of appropriate training and guidance for employees in terms of sensitive and confidential data handling can prove detrimental to the business. Quarterly ICO statistics show that four out of five of the leading causes of data breaches involved human errors and process failures.

Non-compliance with data protection legislation could cost the Company 20 million Euros, or 4% of the Company’s global annual turnover, whichever is higher.

Minden U.K. Limited use Aspire Business Partnership LLP. This firm provide Minden U.K. Ltd with practical and commercially sound advice in relation to all aspects of compliance, business strategy and conflict resolution. Original article can be found on Aspire’s website:

https://www.aspirepartnership.co.uk/News/3212/byod-bring-your-own-device-to-work-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly