BYOD: Should Your Business Adopt This Policy?

Recently, companies permitting their employees to use their own personal technology devices in the workplace is a rapidly growing trend. This can be especially true for small business as a way to save on costs for a work computer, laptop or cellphone for each employee.

This policy is commonly referred to as “Bring Your Own Device” or “BYOD”, and developed out of employers’ inability to bar employees from bringing and using their personal devices to work and rather embracing that trend. And while there are certainly benefits for your company to give in to the BYOD phenomenon, they of course do not come without significant risks to your business.

Pros: Cost Effective

As stated, the most obvious advantage for your company to embrace a BYOD policy is you do not have to spend as much on technology as you would if you suppled work devices for employees. Further, employees are likely more comfortable with their own smart phone or laptop and because they are personal they carry the device with them after work hours and more likely to continue working-e.g., respond to an afterhours email. Because younger people rely so heavily on their devices, banning or limiting personal devices in the workplace could make it difficult to attract and hire younger employees.

Cons: Security Risks, Misappropriation

However, the use of personal devices at work does not come without risk to your company. Although the most obvious may be a decrease in productivity there are several other risks your company should be aware of before implanting a BYOD policy.

Allowing personal devices in the workplace will no doubt come with company confidential and private information being used and stored on employees’ devices. It may be difficult to require an employee to maintain the security measures you desire on their personal device. Even with a proper acceptable use policy in your employee handbook, there is likely no way to effectively monitory every device.

There is also the issue of what happens to your company’s confidential information on an employee’s personal device after the employee leaves your company. Very little can be done over their personal device after termination. Thus, private information may easily find its way into the hands of a competitor.

Allowing personal smartphones to be used for work will create an even bigger headache in the sales arena. For instance, who owns that phone number? Customers calling that phone number after the employee has left your company will be unaware if that former employee is now with
a competitor.

What Can Be Done?

You will need to consider these factors when deciding whether or not to implement a BYOD policy. For smaller businesses it may be easier to manage. You will need to create a BYOD policy specifically tailored to your company, and having proper non-compete and non-disclosure agreements in place with all employees may limit the risks described in this article.

If you are in need of assistance drafting a Bring Your Own Device policy or other employee policies and agreements, we recommend that you consult with an attorney.

Joseph Rust is an Associate Attorney with the Sullivan & Ward Professional Corporation. He can be reached at (515) 247-4721 or