BYODPlenty of us have had jobs where keeping our phones with us while we’re “on the clock”was strictly forbidden. Then there are those of us with jobs that not only encourage, but actually require, the use of the latest mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Company-issued devices are fairly common, particularly among professionals who travel a lot for their company. They’re a way to ensure that every employee is using the same hardware and the same operating system, and to make sure that they all have access to all of the same important features.

As popular as company-issued devices are, the trend that’s sweeping the professional world right now is BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device. It’s exactly what it sounds like: employees are able to use their personal devices as work devices.

It might sound like a perfect solution for all involved, but it’s actually a pretty complicated issue, rife with advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at a few of them here.

Advantages

For obvious reasons, BYOD can be an attractive proposition for employees. It can actually provide a much needed boost to morale. As reported by CIO, employees who use their own device for work purposes put in 240 more hours of work, on average, per year than employees who did not. With BYOD, employees can use the devices they’re already familiar with, instead of juggling a second work-issued device that might come with a learning curve of its own.

Productivity can also get a significant boost from BYOD. Because employees will already be familiar with the devices they’re using, the IT department can focus on more important tasks instead of constantly providing guidance and troubleshooting for people who don’t know how to use their company-issued equipment.

Disadvantages

The disadvantages of BYOD are mostly on the employer side of things. Chief among them are security concerns. It’s fair to say that not everybody takes mobile security as seriously as they should. Company-issued devices come with a suite of pre-installed security features to guard against malware, lost devices, and other threats. When employees use their own devices to work, it may represent an unwelcome amount of risk. If they leave their phone unattended, or lose it, or simply don’t use password protection, sensitive company information may be at risk.

Finding Middle Ground

The good news is that as more companies begin incorporating BYOD practices to the workplace, more and more technologies are developed to mitigate the disadvantages. For example, there are quite a few security solutions available to provide protection for employee-owned devices that are used at work. For companies that rely on Internet phone, for example, VoIP providers are able to offer solutions to businesses depending on their security requirements, whether they’re using company-issued devices or not.

Whether or not a given company has embraced BYOD, there’s no question that mobile devices have been a boon to productivity. Maintaining a secure business telephone system should be high on the list of priorities for any company that takes communication seriously. Because of this, adopting BYOD or not is an issue to be weighed carefully and cautiously.

While some businesses might be more susceptible than others to the sort of security concerns we’ve already mentioned, the advantages may well win out in the end.

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