Bring Your Own Device

// Cloud Computing, IT Processes and Organisation

Bring Your Own Device is still among the most discussed trends in the IT industry. What‘s making BYOD interesting for companies? Or is BYOD just an acronym for „Bring Your Own Disaster“?


Bring Your Own Device is still among the most discussed trends in the IT industry. What‘s making BYOD interesting for companies? Or is BYOD just an acronym for „Bring Your Own Disaster“?

These days, an important task of CIOs is to analyse and assess mega trends and hypes in IT with respect to their company. Topics such as Big Data, Cloud Computing and Mobility have to be reviewed and assessed in order to stay on top of important developments. One current technology trend is „Consumerisation“, also referred to as „Bring Your Own Device“ or „BYOD“, in short. In this, BYOD builds on the concept of allowing staff to also use their privately purchased smartphones, tablets and notebooks for business purposes.

At first, BYOD seemed to be just another IT hype. By now, however, analysts are of the opinion that Bring Your Own Device has developed more and more into an established IT strategy.

BYOD – a young topic for young staff?

With respect to their future young staff, companies will have to deal with this topic in order be able to persevere in the „War for Talent“. The young people have grown up with the digital world and expect from their future employer the same matter of course approach to dealing with mobile devices and social media that they apply to their own use of these technologies. Cisco is characterising this new type of employee as „Anytime, Anywhere Young Worker“.


At many companies, staff are already today using their private devices also for business purposes. This does, however, in a lot of cases take place without the internal ID department‘s knowledge and without the employer‘s express consent. In this, private smartphones and tablets, including installed apps, are used for business purposes. They are integrated into the business network and constitute an independent, uncontrolled Shadow IT. A well thought out BYOD strategy, in which staff can utilise their private devices in accordance with internal security guidelines, can counter this development.

Since hardware that is tried and tested but is also starting to show its age is used at many companies, a BYOD strategy may prove quite attractive to job applicants. Based on a Cisco study, currently four out of five students would like to be able to pick their work devices at their future company themselves. According to this study, companies that allow their staff to bring their private hardware are significantly increasing their attractiveness to job applicants.

Through the use of private devices, companies are in part saving considerable sums for the procurement and maintenance of company-owned hardware. A lot of companies that are already actively using BYOD are contributing towards the costs for the private purchasing of hardware by their employees. Nevertheless, there are significant savings for the company at the bottom line.

Since the users have purchased and setup the hardware themselves, in a lot of cases they are correspondingly quite familiar with the devices. As a result, a reduction of simple 1st level support requests is to be expected. Another side effect of BYOD is the increase in employee motivation, which often goes along with an increase in productivity. Not to be underestimated is also the role of IT equipment as a status symbol. Identification with attractive technical equipment implicitly becomes a driver for the identification with one‘s own company.

Adhering to the rules

At first glance, multiple classic win-win situations seem to result for both companies and employees.

However, especially with respect to legal, security-engineering and financial aspects, there are numerous questions and risks that the company has to address before potentially utilising BYOD:

Is BYODeven an IT strategy that would be a fit for the organisation?

  • Which devices are permitted by the company?
  • Who is going to handle the support for the hardware?
  • To which business data is access granted or denied?
  • How can data security and integrity be assured?
  • Which services can be used via BYOD?
  • For which of the company‘s employees is BYOD a sensible concept?To what extent does the works council have to be integrated in the planning?
  • Which organisational start-up costs are caused by BYOD?

The solution for clarifying and eliminating these issues is the development of policies for regular BYOD operations.

From the aforementioned questions, the most important contents of the BYOD policies can already be derived. For this, it would make sense for the internal departments Personnel, Legal and IT to sit down at a table and to jointly develop and coordinate the policies.

In summary

BYOD can significantly increase the motivation and productivity of the staff. Especially with respect to the search for new staff, a well thought-out and attractive BYOD concept can be an interesting criterion for job applicants to tilt their interest in an employer‘s favour.

The challenge will be to not dilute the standards for security, integrity and availability in business networks and thereby cause problems, whose removal is being worked on diligently in another Department.



Tim Gerigk


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