BYOT: Whose technology will rule the workplace?
The ever increasing reach of technology has spawned a new phenomenon in the workplace, and it is slowly but surely raising an uproar. Many technology, human resources and purchasing executives are asking themselves how to handle the influx of employee’s personal gadgets at work.
Employees desire to use the technology at their fingertips, albeit ipads, smart phones and even their own personal computers at work and to do their jobs. It has left many CIO’S wondering if they should set stronger controls around personal technology use or look at the benefits of this grassroots movement.
Some know this phenomenon as ‘Bring your own technology,’ or BYOT. Put simply, employee’s personal technology is used to do the job. Typically, the company will provide some stipend to aid in the purchase of the technology, ultimately providing an additional benefit to employees, while also containing internal technology costs.
BYOT Discussions at Computerworld’s Premier 100 IT Conference
At the recent Computerworld’s Premier 100 IT Leaders conference, IT leaders from Carfax Inc., Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc., Whirlpool Corp. and USAA led a panel discussion focused on the implications of employees performing their work product on their own technological devices. Among topics discussed was who actually owns an employee’s work product if it is created on an employee’s laptop or other device rather than a company-supplied machine. An employee’s right of privacy is another complexity raised by BYOT. How difficult will it be for employers to obtain and review employee communications, work product or anything else stored on an employee-owned device?
While certainly it is not possible to predict exactly how quickly the BYOT movement will pervade the work environment, it is clear that companies are beginning to pay attention. There is a growing recognition of many IT departments that the BYOT movement is here to stay and IT leaders need a plan to address it. Necessarily, however, corporations will likely have to impose limitations on BYOT. For example, employees will have to acknowledge their understanding of corporate policies regarding BYOT. One rule designed to prevent the disclosure of confidential company information is that if a device is lost or stolen, the machine’s entire memory will have to be erased remotely. That means personal data, as well as company information, will be permanently lost.
Another consideration is who will foot the bill for voice and data service plans for employee’s devices used for work. As was pointed out during the panel discussion, corporations will likely impose caps on those costs or face skyrocketing expenses.
With the constant advent of new technologies increasingly relied upon for work and play, it is no surprise BYOT is here to stay.