BYOD: The Spy Who Tracked Me

Have you ever considered the effect that desserts have on those with sweet teeth? The only thing that fills their thoughts is the wonderful effect that the saccharine devils have on their taste buds rather than the havoc created with blood sugar levels.  It’s a similar story with BYOD. The initial promise of convenience and sophistication is eventually overcome by the uncomfortable truth.

So what is the uncomfortable truth you ask? BYOD isn’t as dandy as it first seems. Businesses have slowly begun to realize that there are a lot more complexities involved. Not only is it migraine inducing for most IT departments, it can cause quite a few problems for employees or end users as well.

Here are some of the ways that BYOD can really put an employee in sticky situations.

Handing over the reins of privacy to the employer is possibly the biggest sacrifice that an employee has to make with BYOD. BYOD policies can enable employers to track data and usage in ways that will make any employee cringe with embarrassment if they aren’t being prudent about personal data. Say goodbye to goofy selfies, personal information, crazy videos and everything else that makes your device personal to you.

Data loss
Once you have moved on from a particular job, your employer is going to exercise caution and remote wipe data from your device. No matter what the kind – images, emails, presentations, contact information and so on – they will no longer be present on your device. This will make it annoying especially if you believe in saving e-mails, presentations and other work to show future employers or clients to demonstrate capability (however legal / ethical that is or not).

Legal tangles
In the event of legal proceedings between the employer and employee, the device can be considered evidence along with any data on it. If at all there is personal data on the device, it will be subject to scrutiny. Apart from being a source of embarrassment, it can also end up being detrimental to the outcome of the case. Of course, you may bid farewell to the device forever.

BYOD can sometimes be used to track what employees are upto during as well as after work hours. This has a lot of ethical problems and can cause legal action against companies from their employees.

Equipment specifics
With certain BYOD policies, organizations may like to specify what kind of devices are allowed to access the system. If the devices are on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of prices, it may not be within the reach of certain employees. Wouldn’t it be a complete letdown to know that your peer is getting ahead because he can afford the specified device for BYOD while your’s cannot provide the same results?

Expectations with access
A major concern that employees the world over have is increased expectations from employers when company-owned mobile devices or BYOD devices come into play. It becomes natural for managers to expect their reportees to stretch a little bit more, answer a few e-mails from home, attend a few customer calls and so on. What starts innocently (sometimes) becomes stressful and pressurizing to employees, especially when overtime compensation is not discussed.

So there you have it. BYOD isn’t perfection incarnate and needs to be considered carefully by every employee before signing the dotted line. While organizations are doing their bit and trying to make their BYOD policies friendlier, it is always prudent to know what one is signing up for. After all you shouldn’t have to pay such a high price for convenience!

If you have a BYOD policy in your organization and faced practical difficulties with it, share with us what your experiences have been.


Image courtesy:
I spy a guy with huge binoculars


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