The Double-Edged Sword of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Initiative

Information Technology impacts on most aspects of everyday life.

Here are just a few familiar examples:

  • The prevalence of the internet has triggered what seems to be an unstoppable trend in online retail, rendering the traditional high street a mere shadow of its former glory.
  • We now have the flexibility to use online banking 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no longer restricted by inconvenient branch opening hours.
  • The internet provides instant access to invaluable search engines, never before has such a wealth of information been quite literally at the tips of our fingers.

Consequences for business

The use of mobile technology means that texting and e-mailing are now more popular methods of communication than the traditional phone call. The launch of the Blackberry and smart phones has opened up a whole new horizon in the business world. Instantaneous forms of communication contribute to the fast-paced “Global Village” of business.

“Bring your own device” or BYOD refers to the increasingly popular policy that permits employees to bring personally owned mobile devices to their place of work and use them to access company information.

Some argue that BYOD increases both employee productivity and morale, whilst reflecting favourably on flexible employers.

Businesses may well derive cost benefits in that expensive devices no longer need to be purchased as reliance is placed on employees to make use of their high-priced personal laptops, tablets and smart phones. Businesses can gain from state of the art fast technology.

A note of caution

For employees, the ability to remotely access business applications and data on privately owned devices blurs the distinction between professional and private lives. Workaholics are driven to work even harder!

For employers, there is a downside to this fully accessible use of confidential company information on these devices. Data breaches are a real threat and security professionals have referred to this BYOD policy as “Bring Your Own Disaster”.

However, the devotion to this technology is unlikely to falter. Businesses are wise to embrace employees’ love affair with such devices and exploit its uses, as opposed to battling against it!

Elizabeth Zeisel – Audit Team

Westbury Accountants and Business Advisors is an accountancy practice based in London. Westbury have been providing Accounting and Tax solutions to small and medium sized businesses since 1936. Talk to the team at Westbury on 0207 253 7272; or visit http://www.westbury.co.uk.