Technology Isn’t Your BYOD Problem, People Are


When companies allow employees to use personal devices for work, the biggest problem is not hardware — it’s people. “There are fewer technology issues than there are human resources considerations,” said Tim Francis, the head of enterprise cyber insurance for Travelers.

Five years ago, most employees would consider it taboo to download a personal program onto their work-issue laptop. “Now that’s less of an understood rule — or maybe not even a rule,” said Francis. These days, when having any number of tech gadgets lying about the house is the norm, it would not even be surprising for an employee’s eight-year-old son to download a game onto daddy’s work computer.

The Risks of BYOD
Read more in our series on managing the risks of employees using their own devices for work.
Managing the Risks of BYOD
Creating a BYOD Policy
Technology Isn’t Your BYOD Problem, People Are

The line between work and home has been blurred, and that has begun to apply to the devices used for business as well as pleasure. This trend is unlikely to reverse itself, so companies should embrace it and figure out how to enable their employees to be as efficient as possible rather than forcing them to operate under draconian rules that restrict productivity.

“You can’t bury your head in the sand and say ‘we’re not going to allow our employees to engage and communicate with new technology,’” said Francis. That route, he says, isn’t just bucking the tide of inevitable change. It might be creating another risk altogether: talent acquisition and retention.

In 2012, says Francis, the best and the brightest — especially younger workers who can spur innovation — do not want to feel constrained. Instead of following what they feel are silly protocols, they will just go work for the competition.

The better strategy is to understand how modern employees want to work and build a policy based on best practices that embrace new technology. “Open up the highway, but make sure you have clear lanes for your employees to travel down,” said Francis.

Jared Wade

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About the Author

Jared Wade is a freelance writer and the former senior editor of Risk Management.


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