Cisco Canada Blog

Demystifying the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Trend

June 21, 2013

As part of our ongoing Future of Work campaign with the Globe and Mail, we are asking Canadians for their opinions on BYOD, technology and remote working. And the results from our latest poll made us stop and take pause.

We asked Canadians if you wished your company had a BYOD policy, and 41% of you said no.

With all the buzz and hype around BYOD it’s easy to get the sense that everyone is open and accepting of the trend. But our results show a virtual tie between people who would want their company to have a formal BYOD policy (38%) and those who don’t (41%). The question now is – why?

The 41% who are still resistant to the idea suggests there are still lingering concerns with the adoption of BYOD at work. But what are these concerns, and are they valid?

To answer this question and dispel some of these concerns, I decided to address the most common BYOD myths that I hear from our Canadian customers.

Myth #1 – I will be expected to provide more of my own technical support

One of the challenges for IT departments within organizations implementing a BYOD policy is providing end-to-end support on an increasing array of devices. However, organizations often introduce BYOD without removing the option of a corporate-provided standard.  What does this mean? On one hand, there may be certain support elements that employees are required to perform themselves, several of which exist when the device is your own asset (updating to the latest software, for instance).  On the other hand, you will often be adding a certain amount of formal corporate support to a personally-owned device that you previously had no support for beyond the manufacturer.

Myth #2 – All my personal data will become property of my employer, and my employer will keep tabs on everything I do online and monitor my personal web-browsing habits, I will have no privacy.

It is very important that you clearly understand your organization’s policy around the information that is contained, produced, and accessed from your device. This is true regardless of whether it is a corporate or personally-owned device, however. You should be aware of your organization’s acceptable use policy, and of your organization’s ability to wipe information from any device you use professionally (corporate or personally-owned) should you lose it.  Some devices are emerging that allow the separation of work data from personal info, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that your organization takes advantage of these capabilities. They may still insist that the entire device be wiped if lost or stolen, despite that they could erase only the work partition.

You likely would not agree to an organization owning your personal information or even having access to it, but be aware that even independent of BYOD policies some organizations claim the right to any creative content produced while you are employed.

Myth #3 – I will be expected to fund the device of my choice, and potentially require that I purchase a device that I wouldn’t otherwise own.

This is of course up to the individual organization. But remember that a big reason BYOD is taking off is because the power is shifting to the individual to make decisions around the technologies that are most effective for them. As companies set these policies, they need to remember that their mobile strategy can be a make-or-break factor in attracting and retaining talent at their organization. Sometimes the policy means employees receive a credit from the company towards a device of your choice, sometimes it involves the employer paying for some (or all) of the mobile service fees, and sometimes BYOD doesn’t mean you have complete freedom to choose any device. Luckily, we are certainly heading towards more choice for the individual rather than less. 

I believe that increasingly decentralized decision-making and funding around all sorts of technology choices will be the trend across Canada for the next 3-5 years. Your opinion as an employee in this space really matters, and your organization is probably trying to figure out your position on the matter!

Hopefully with more discussions like this we can help everyone see how a proper BYOD policy can help increase productivity, attract new talent and allow companies to keep pace with the future of work.

Have you heard another BYOD myth that you’d like to share?  Leave a comment below.

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