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Definition of Bring your own device (BYOD)

What does BYOD mean?

In tech companies, bring your own device (BYOD) refers to a company’s policy of allowing employees and contractors to access the company's network and other resources using their own device instead of one issued by the company. A BYOD policy is useful for remote-based workers who may not be able to receive a device from their employer and for on-site workers to begin their jobs while waiting for company-issued computers and/or smartphones.

BYOD can be applied to all company work or specific events and operations. For example, employees may not be allowed to perform work on sensitive programs using their own devices but may bring them to a meeting or other company event.

How does BYOD work?

Before implementing a BYOD policy, a company must first define clear rules, guidelines, and restrictions. Keep in mind:

  • Acceptable use: What can employees do and not do or access with their devices?
  • Password requirements: For all employees to ensure strong security
  • Permitted devices: Which devices can employees use for work under BYOD?
  • Will any monitoring/security software be installed?
  • Emergency policy: What happens if a device is lost or stolen?
  • Exit policy: How is company data secured on a device under BYOD during off-boarding?
  • Reimbursement policy: Will employees receive compensation for extra data usage or checking emails and answering business calls after hours?

These are general areas a company should consider when creating a BYOD policy. Industry regulations and a company’s size also influence these policies. For example, a small startup may not require a strict BYOD policy, especially with limited resources. However, companies involved in the government, defense, and finance industries will maintain rigid BYOD policies that ensure the security of sensitive information. Finally, a company can enact a multi-level BYOD policy to govern the use of devices for different employees, such as C-level executives with access to extremely valuable data.

What are the benefits of BYOD?

A company can reap many benefits from implementing a BYOD policy. These include:

  • Increased productivity: Employees using their own familiar devices will spend less time troubleshooting issues with an unfamiliar device. There is also less burden on IT administrators.
  • Attractiveness to potential employees: BYOD policies are seen as a positive characteristic in many companies.
  • Faster onboarding: New employees don’t need to learn how to use new hardware and devices.
  • Cost savings: Purchasing and maintaining company-owned equipment is expensive and time-consuming.
  • Convenience: Employees don’t have to juggle their personal and work devices, and companies don’t need to track hardware.
  • Improve employee satisfaction: BYOD policies demonstrate trust in employees and give them some control over their work environment.

Key Takeaways

  • A bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, policy defines which devices employees can use for work-related purposes.
  • BYOD policies should consider industry regulations and a company’s resources and present clear rules and restrictions to employees.
  • BYOD can help companies save money and other resources, increase productivity and employee satisfaction, and reduce the amount of time required for onboarding.

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