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Why your workers hate BYOD

Tom Kaneshige | Nov. 10, 2014
At a New York banking firm, a couple of executives lost their jobs because they didn't report lost phones within 24 hours, in violation of a draconian BYOD policy. At a California law firm, the CIO knew every time one of its lawyers slipped away to play golf, exposed by watchful BYOD management software.

Another problem with BYOD: the user experience, or rather lack thereof. As IT puts more management and security controls on BYODs, the consumer-ish ease of use begins to suffer. Again, tech vendors are working hard to come up with ideas to make security and management seamless to the end user, which means more complexity on the backend.

"The technology is out there, but then you come down to another level of complexity," David Schofield, partner at Network Sourcing Advisors, an Atlanta-based mobile consultancy that advises companies on both BYOD and corporate-owned mobile device policies, told me this summer. "At what point does it become too complex that it's just not worth it anymore?"

Then there's a new California Court of Appeal ruling that states: "When employees must use their personal cellphones for work-related calls, Labor Code section 2802 requires the employer to reimburse them employees get paid for work." It's the first binding ruling in the BYOD space; the U.S. justice system has just waded into BYOD's already murky waters.

There's no question BYOD is at a tricky time.

Despite the slowdown of formal BYOD policy adoption, there's compelling evidence that shadow BYOD, whereby employees covertly use their personal devices for work purposes, is on the rise. The risk of corporate data leakage from these stealth devices has never been higher. CIOs don't want to bring a formal BYOD policy to bear, but they might not have a choice.

The irony is that the employee with the stealth BYOD phone or tablet might fancy himself a modern-day James Bond fooling the company, but he's not. A friend told me that his company doesn't have a formal BYOD policy, but IT told him: "We know who you are."

 

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