Many CIOs dismiss the BYOD (bring your own device) trend as little more than hype.

When asked, they give the security issues as a reason for not offering BYOD.  The so-called “hype” trend simply refers to employees taking their own personal computerized devices to work, it could be one or more of a smart phone,  laptop or tablet, in order to interface with the corporate network. These devices suffer from split personality disorder, being used for both work and personal use.

I think there are many positive as well as negative aspects of BYOD. A couple of points on the positive side, employees have personal ownership of the device and take better care of their own device than a corporate one as well as it increases productivity as the employee uses a device that she likes. On the negative side, there is  the dreaded security issue of losing corporate information as well as possibility of data leakage.

Photo by Stellan Boivie
Photo by Stellan Boivie

But I don’t think CIOs should be focusing on positive and negative features, but should instead develop a BYOD strategy or framework. This is how guidelines, expectations and accountability will be managed. The strategy should include items like:

  • The type of devices permitted (such as only BlackBerry and Apple or also Android)
  • Levels of security (for example policy on what to do when the device is lost or stolen, virus issues)
  • The management and maintenance of personally owned devices (how to keep track of the devices; who is authorized to repair such devices)
  • Help desk support, where does corporate support for an iPhone stop and the manufacturer’s support start?

But BYOD is not just a concept or a strategy, it is a change in the way we balance work-life commitments as well as a change in mentality on how and when we use mobile devices.

Do you have a BYOD strategy that you’d be willing share? Did you have an “eye opener” when BYOD was implemented? Do you think BYOD is all hype with little substance?  Let us know by commenting on this article.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
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Catherine Aczel Boivie
Dr. Catherine Aczel Boivie is a widely respected executive with over 30 years of experience in the leadership of advancing the value of information technology as a business and education enabler. Prior executive roles includes: CEO Inventure Solutions and Senior Vice President of Information Technology/Facility Management for Vancity Credit Union; SVP of IT and Chief Information Officer at Pacific Blue Cross and Canadian Automobile Association of British Columbia. Catherine is also an experienced board member serving on several boards, including those of Commissioner for Complaints for Telecom-television Services, Canada Foundation for Innovation and MedicAlert Canada. Dr. Boivie is the founding Chair and President of the Chief Information Officers (CIO) Association of Canada that has over 400 Chief Information Officers as members across Canada. She has been publicly recognized for her contributions, including being named as one of Canada's top 100 most powerful women by the Women's Executive Network in the "Trailblazers and Trendsetters" category and the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal for being a "catalyst for technology transformation".