BYOD: Where tech, employment law meet

Bring Your Own Device programs offer an array of benefits in the modern workplace, but also raise some daunting concerns, both legal and practical. More

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BYOD: Where tech, employment law meet

Posted 2/17/14

Bring Your Own Device programs offer an array of benefits in the modern workplace, but also raise some daunting concerns, both legal and practical.

BYOD is the growing practice of allowing employees to use their personal devices – smartphones and tablets – to access and use corporate content.

Implemented properly, effective BYOD policies can improve employee morale and convenience, reduce business costs and boost productivity and revenue. A formal BYOD program can offer an organization significant cost savings through eliminating the burden of selecting a data provider, administering a plan and purchasing mobile devices.

However, in blurring the line between our professional and personal lives, implementing a BYOD program may also create a conundrum around the security of confidential information, data retention, employee privacy, wage-and-hour issues and beyond.

From the employee perspective, BYOD programs are popular. They provide the convenience of having only one device; increase job satisfaction by allowing employees to select their personal device and service provider; and, ultimately, create the potential for a more-efficient workflow during travel or even at home. BYOD programs can also be helpful in talent recruitment, as tech-savvy employees appreciate the ability to use their preferred device. In fact, close to half of college students and young professionals say they would accept lower pay in exchange for flexibility on device choice, mobility and social media.

Organizations eager to reap the benefits of BYOD programs are wise to create and adhere to a carefully crafted BYOD policy aimed at protecting corporate data and respecting employee privacy.

On the corporate side, the most obvious risk is loss or theft. If you are a bank, for instance, lost data could result in a reportable security breach. Even if you are not in a regulated industry, lost data may trigger a duty to inform customers, if their personal information is no longer secure, or business partners, if confidential information is released.

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