BYOD: The Risks and Rewards of Personal Digital Devices in the Workplace

using privacy filters in public

As the lines between personal life and work life blur, so too do the usage of our digital devices for both.  Many companies are embracing the BYOD trend (Bring Your Own Device) for its many benefits, including the reduction of inefficiencies that come with juggling corporate and personal devices.  Digital technology supplied by employers mean doubling the number of devices an employee may have to carry with them, along with the inconvenience of having to switch from corporate devices to personal as needed. Employees using their desktop or laptop computers  on work-from-home days to check emails and follow up on assignments improves productivity. And business travelers using their personal phones and tablets to conduct business on the road improves the efficiency of communication between on-the-go employees and the home office.

BYOD Policy Basics for Business

  • Implement cloud platforms for remote business operations so lost or stolen devices do not compromise important data
  • Provide privacy filters to help prevent visual security breaches
  • Provide and train employees on remote data management applications, including software that allows for remote wiping of data, scanning for malware and data leakage and archiving company information

Studies including Harris Interactive, Osterman Research and  Gartner Research have revealed key details to the BYOD trend.  In a study by Harris Interactive, it was revealed that nearly two-thirds of companies have no policies regarding the use of personal mobile devices at work, and 33% tolerate personal devices for business. In a Osterman Research white paper, the majority of both iPhones and Android phones used for corporate business were owned personally rather than by the corporation.  And Gartner research estimated that almost half of the world’s companies will no longer provide computer devices to employees in the near future, 40% will offer a choice between corporate or personal devices and only 15% will remain outside the BYOD model.

Why Companies and Employees Like BYOD

Companies save when employees use their personal devices. The average cost of supplying mobile computing devices is estimated to be $600 annually per employee. Also employees are more likely to upgrade their personal devices to the latest and greatest technology, offering faster performance and greater security.

Employee prefer their personal devices. A Unisys report found that 44% of employees find a job offer more attractive if they can use their personal devices on the job.

Risks to the BYOD Trend

With rewards come risks. When defining their BYOD policies, companies need to take in account the potential hazards of personal devices. The Harris survey revealed the following:

  • 31% of employees connect to their company’s network from an unsecured free or public Wi-Fi
  • 46% share their personal devices with others
  • 25% have been victims of hacking or malware on their personal devices
  • 52% of laptop users are simply ignoring the problem of shoulder surfing, potentially exposing sensitive, corporate information when accessing their devices in public

As it appears that BYOD may become a business practice more than a trend, companies need to review and implement policies that both protect sensitive company information while still offering the flexibility of the modern work/life balance.



Managing Mobile Device Security in Healthcare



The use of mobile devices in healthcare is growing. More than half of doctors use tablets for their practice and 74% also use smartphone for professional purposes. However, with the efficiency that mobile technology brings, there is also risks of data infringement. Tablets or smartphones set down momentarily in an examining room leave private patient information exposed and with more devices in play, the more vulnerable becomes a healthcare network to breaches.

These best practices for healthcare workers using mobile devices help prevent data breaches.

  1. Implement auto-locking features on devices. When a tablet or smartphone is set down it should automatically require password access to open. Activating this feature ensures information remains protected in the device.
  2. Use privacy filters. Physicians may be wary of their digital device use in the office, but may feel more comfortable outside work using the same device. Prying eyes can see screens which may contain patient information. Blackout privacy filters ensure that no one can see the screen from side views. Only the user of the device can see the contents of the screen. Learn more about blackout privacy screens for mobile devices
  3. Use remote lock features. If a device is stolen, a physician can implement this feature to completely lock the device after several failed attempts at guessing a password.
  4. Use encryption. Transferred data from phones to tablets to laptops is becoming the norm in healthcare, which can leave emails and attachments exposed. All transferred data should be encrypted to prevent breaches.
  5. Update security software. Once hackers identity a device as used by a healthcare professional, they may be more persistent in their hacking attempts to access the confidential data. Updating security software across all devices helps prevent harmful apps and malware from infiltrating networks.