Experts preach caution with BYOD, despite benefits

Companies of all sizes are saving money and increasing productivity by implementing bring your own device (BYOD) policies. Employees using smartphones, computers and tablets that they are already comfortable with for work functions allows business to save on new hardware and software options.

The results of a recent a survey by a leading telecommunication company found that  95 percent of respondents allow employee-owned devices in some way in the workplace. While companies are ready to deploy BYOD initiatives, not every expert agrees with the idea.

J.D. Harrison of the Washington Post warns against the adoption of BYOD policies in a new article.

"By allowing employees to bring their own devices, you introduce an element of randomness," Harrison wrote. "Beyond the well-known Apple versus PC argument, there are also many operating systems out there in the land of smartphones: iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry, Ubuntu Linux, and more. Will they be able to work with your own devices and the devices of their fellow employees? Maybe. Maybe not."

Harrison uses the difficulties of accessing documents on different devices running various software selection as a major hold up to BYOD. Formatting and compatibility issues can make it impossible to share projects on an infrastructure that is not uniform.

As with many BYOD arguments, security concerns are Harrison's other point. Aside from the big issues of hacking and viruses, he points out the problems could arise from misplacing a personal smartphone that has critical or confidential business information on it.

While many of Harrison's fears are justified, a majority of them can be answered by partnering with a strong infrastructure. Businesses in Ohio would be wise to partner with an IT consulting firm to get prepared to implement a BYOD policy.

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