A new phenomenon is changing the way many workplaces relate to IT, although it may also present new risks and vulnerabilities.
BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is an approach that is increasingly being embraced by organizations and their employees.
According to a recent San Francisco Chronicle report, the smartphone revolution of the last few years has brought about a radical change in the way many mobile workers operate.
Previously, an IT department would determine which mobile solutions are to be used by employees, who would have no choice in the matter.
In recent years, a growing number of workers purchased their own smartphones and tablet devices, intended for personal use. Many, however, quickly recognized the value of these devices for work productivity. As a result, they looked for ways to use them in a work environment.
According to the report, many organizations have decided to respond to this trend by implementing a BYOD policy that officially enables workers to use their own devices.
Many employers believe this improves overall productivity, since it allows employees to remain connected to work when away from the workplace.
Furthermore, BYOD solutions can help to reduce expenses, since employees are using their own devices instead of business-owned IT hardware.
While BYOD programs have obvious benefits, organizations must also take account of the challenges. According to many IT security experts, allowing employees to use their own devices on a work network opens up new vulnerabilities to organizational systems and data.
In order to minimize these risks, many experts recommend instituting a BYOD policy in a manner that maximizes security, by using encryption, protected accounts and ensuring all private devices used for work purposes are registered with the company.
Many organizations have succeeded in finding a balance that increases productivity while also protecting against vulnerabilities. According to a ZDNet report, 75 percent of organizations now have BYOD policies.