BYOD 2.0 – Separation of lives

The benefits of letting employees bring their own devices to work are clear and well documented – and about 60% of us do already (Ovum, November 2012), But that doesn’t stop it from being a personal and IT headache.

Outside of the fact that the device is owned by the employee rather than the business, limiting what IT can do to ensure security policies are adhered to and that sensitive, business-related data is protected, often overlooked is the effect on our personal lives. People are mixing personal and business work on one device, with no separation between the two. If something goes wrong with the device and it has to be wiped then all data is gone.

That might be valuable from a business point of view but it means a worker risks losing potentially years worth of photos, videos, emails, contacts and messages. Imagine losing pictures from your last holiday, or photographs of your children. If you don’t backup your mobile device (and many people do not) then that is a real possibility.

It’s not just about securing the data that’s on the device. Being constantly in contact with the business through your own mobile device means the lines between work life and private life are blurring to the point of extinction. Weekends and holidays are no longer a chance to get away from work to recharge the batteries. Instead they become an extension of office hours, with workers picking up their mobile device to answer a couple of emails, or finish that piece of work that wasn’t done on Friday afternoon.

The ideal of course is a separation between the corporate context and personal context of a mobile device, whether it is a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop. This means the device is still fully managed, with IT controlling which apps are downloaded and even restricting certain functions of the device that may not necessarily be conducive to productivity.

This separation of the work and the personal also affects the mind-set of the user. When the user is operating the device for work purposes generally they are much more likely to think and act like a representative of the organisation, just like they would if they were sitting at their desk. This is likely to save the company from any embarrassing episodes, such as unsavoury Tweets sent in error that may reflect badly on the organisation.

This approach to BYOD – at F5 we call it BYOD 2.0 - really gives businesses and workers exactly what they want. The freedom to use a single device of their choosing for work and pleasure, with a clear distinction between the two identities on the device, coupled with the knowledge that enterprise data is secure and that IT retains a measure of control.

Updated Feb 01, 2023
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