The following is a guest blog post by Perry L. Segal, an eDiscovery attorney with more than 25 years of combined experience in law and technology. He regularly writes on the subject at eDiscovery Insights.
In a side-by-side comparison between the benefits and detriments of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), there’s no doubt that allowing BYOD might seem likely to yield productivity gains and other benefits for the company. But from a technology-management standpoint, BYOD causes great difficulty. If I were consulted, here’s why I’d likely fall into the “against” group.
Imagine coming into work one morning and all of the desktops are different brands and chipsets: Some are Windows, but a mix of XP, Vista, Seven, and Ten; others are Macs with various versions of the O/S; and still others are Linux boxes.
That would be hard to manage, wouldn’t it?
Most attorneys are ok with their clients allowing BYOD, but they’re not thinking about what will happen when litigation arises and they have to figure out how to gather up every employee’s personal device and extract data from it. And there has to be a way to back up every one of these devices for eDiscovery purposes, which is much more difficult when there are so many platforms in use. Everything seems fine until one has to reverse the process.
There’s also the tech support issue. Most of the articles I read on BYOD speak to locking down various functions on a device, such as email via Exchange. But that’s not how employees will be thinking: If it’s a device supporting their job, employees will expect everyone up the chain to be able to support the entire device, not just components of it. The company should expect this as well, because a non-functioning device will ultimately affect productivity.
This means that the company’s help desk, field service technicians, and higher-level tech support will have to be proficient with every make and model of Windows Phone, Blackberry, iPhone and—if you’ll pardon the pun—every flavor of Android. Oh, and someone should give thought to how to back up these devices in such a way that the company owns/controls the data.
So, for companies considering allowing BYOD, I hope the decision makers take this reality into account and formulate a comprehensive policy. Note that I didn’t get into the fact that, if litigation arises, staff may have to turn over their personal devices for imaging or examination. I also didn’t get into how growth highly affects BYOD (we all know the person who runs out and purchases the brand-new, untested, unpatched version of X the moment it’s on the market).
I hope you bought the 1000-count aspirin bottle…
If you’re going to take the plunge on a BYOD policy, check out CEB’s Advising California Employers and Employees, §11.30A.
Other CEBblog™ posts you may find interesting:
- Your Employees Are Probably Doing It, So Have a BYOD Policy
- Who Pays for Employee Cell Phone Use?
- Don’t Hit That Delete Button!
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