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BYOD: It’s Personal

With all of the talk and research that has been going on, it’s tough to ignore BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Lists of organizational pros and cons have been popping up in newspapers, tech reports and blogs attempting to educate private and public employees before their agency dives head first into a BYOD program.

While using your own device at the office may provide a comfort and convenience, it also runs the risk of further muddying the line between work and home, between personal and business information.

Whether they are for or against BYOD, employees need to take precautions to protect their own information, and that of their agency.

Many agencies have not yet created concrete security policies; policies that have been set in place may only address protecting agency information form the public, not necessarily protecting your personal information from the agency’s server. The last thing you may want is for the company to have access to your personal e-mails and photos.

Because many of us store our lives on our phones, it may be a good idea to take a step towards security on our own. There are more and more personal mobile security programs popping up. Below are two examples from the private and public sectors.

Blackberry Balance

Blackberry Balance is being released a part of BlackBerry Enterprise Service Mobile Device Management Software. It addresses the issue of data security on mobile devices which is “welcome news for employers who want to take advantage of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) savings but are concerned about data security — as well as employees who want to bring their own device to work but are worried about private information being exposed.” It ensures that work data is only available on work applications and that personal data cannot be access from the server.

Smartphone Security Checker

Created by the FCC, along with Homeland Security, FTC among other public and private agencies, the Smartphone Security Checker is a free program that provides “advice on such best practices as pins and passwords, security apps, remote locating and data wiping, backing up and securing data in the event a device is lost or stolen, and how to use public WiFi networks safely”. The precautions that it suggests could mean a much safer mobile environment for both employers and employees.

Despite taking increased security measures to protect information, the question still remains what the organizational impact is on combining work and play onto one device, and how this affects employee work-life balance.

Though the benefits are numerous, there are still some intriguing questions to be asked concerning the “human-end” of BYOD. .Below I’ve identified 5 important BYOD questions, and would love to hear your about your thoughts and experiences.

1. How does this affect people’s productivity?

2. Will employers expect to be able to contact employees immediately 24/7?

3. How does it affect the quality of life of employees and their families?

4. Will this restrict certain digital behaviors outside of work? (social networking sites, photos, content of personal emails) if companies have access to personal devices (with or without a cloud or other virtualization program)?

5. Are employees more excited or anxious about a switch to a BYOD policy?

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Julie Chase

This has been the whipping boy of every other gov site with the exception of govloop. Reading Government Executive (article by Brittany) not one comment on there was in favor of BYOD. You are correct, the waters are very muddy. I have decided I’ll use the slow IT Uncle Sam provides and keep my personal stuff, well…personal.