I’m betting your company has policies (or did) against using personal devices on the corporate network. I’m also betting several of your colleagues (not you, of course) are doing it anyway.
As part of any HR Technology Strategy in todays era, we must include discussions on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), mobile, tablets and remote access to applications in general. You cannot visit a vendors website in this space without them talking about their mobile/tablet applications. Is this just hype? Is this just another case of them saying they are ready for you but you are nowhere near ready for them?
A recent survey from Cisco Systems reveals that 64% of U.S. respondents say employees at their organization use personal devises for work without consent. Forty-eight percent say their company would NEVER authorize employees to bring their own devices to the office for work.
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement is gaining serious steam, partly due to the rise of increasingly easy-to-use and powerful smart phones and tablets and partly due to the mobile, distributed nature of today’s workforce.
The arguments in favor of, and against BYOD are strong, serious, and passionate. Issues ranging from security, control, device ownership and management, data integrity, application development and on and on dominate the conversations – many of them contentious.
Those who advocate for BYOD boil it down to the argument that you can either look at it as taking control away from IT, or as an opportunity to mobilize an entire business in a way that would never have been affordable in the past. Organizations simply would not have been able to purchase or manage the dozens of different devices needed to meet their employees’ mobile computing preferences.
On the other side, IT raises some legitimate concerns. Can the corporate network be trusted without direct control of every device? What does the help desk look like with all these devises to support? Must we become proficient in Android, Ubuntu, Red Hat, iOS, Windows, etc.? How do we address device failure? What rights does the company have to access the user’s personal device? What about the use of pirated software by employees?
One IT professional added this comment to an article on the subject: “Is there full disclosure to the employee that once the device management agent is loaded that “Big Brother” knows where you are at all times? I have seen firsthand an executive force a tech to bring up the map and locate the phone of an employee that called in sick.”
There are even deeper, hidden issues that some have raised including, potential liability for activities employees conduct through the device (such as on social networks and elsewhere online); issues around ownership of work product and data on the device. What happens if IT decides to remotely wipe a lost or stolen device that includes personal content as well as company content?
In fact, remote wiping agreements could be a major issue moving forward and one that both companies and employees need to understand. Employees may not be fully aware that signing a remote wiping agreement gives the company the authority to delete all of their personal data, photos, and information stored on the device.
This means, even if HR isn’t using BYOD apps for HCM, they need to be front and center in effectively communicating to employees what BYOD means in terms of personal data and potential remote monitoring of employees.
There is one other thing I’ve noticed about this debate. Underneath all of the valid arguments is a contentious relationship between technology users and corporate IT. Language like, “forcing IT to give up control,” or “getting IT out of the way,” seem to permeate the discussion. One author of an article I recently read even compared the BYOD movement to last year’s “Arab Spring,” in which people in Middle Eastern countries rose up against the entrenched autocratic leaders. You can imagine what the comment section looked like.
What do you think? Is BYOD about efficiency to get things done in a mobile world, or freedom from the shackles of those darn policy-makers in IT?
Another infusion of knowledge…