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Is It Wise for Employers to Allow Employees to Bring Their Own Personal Devices to Work?

The Center for Communications Management Information (CCMI) research firm recently conducted a survey commissioned by Xigo. The study involved 116 IT and telecom professionals.

Researchers found that 60 percent of employers maintain a corporate-owned mobile device policy. Twenty-two percent of respondents use a hybrid approach incorporating corporate- and employee-owned plans (BYOD). In addition, 18 percent of employers operate full BYOD programs with half of those employers expecting employees to pay their own network charges.

Employers' main goals with BYOD programs are to keep employees happy, to improve productivity, and reduce expenses. According to George David, president of CCMI, however, the main barriers to adopting BYOD policies are corporate concerns about security and support.

In addition, most respondents reported that having a BYOD policy has not reduced expenses. One in four respondents experienced a cost increase from BYOD from loss of discounted pooling plans and added help desk/support requirements.

The survey showed that over 50 percent of respondents report that they have written mobile usage policies and approximately two-thirds said they are already using automated tools to enforce those policies. Khali Henderson for Virgo Publishing, "BYOD Mostly Buzz, Enterprise Survey Shows," www.channelpartnersonline.com (July 17, 2012).


BYOD policies reduce hardware costs and allow employees to work from anywhere. They also allow for remote worksites and flexible scheduling. Because employees use devices they are comfortable using, BYOD policies may increase productivity.

Convenience, although considered one of the primary benefits of BYOD, does not come without a risk of loss. For this reason, employers who allow employees to bring their own devices should make sure employees understand BYOD policies and that enforcement of the policies are a priority. Employers should offer training for employees on how to avoid security breaches, what acts violate the policies, and the possible consequences of violating these policies.

Furthermore, risks associated with BYOD are constantly changing. An employer should know that a BYOD policy is not a "one and done" policy. IT professionals should work with management on a regular basis to review and revise BYOD policies so that the policies address the latest threats to data security.

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