Few people would be willing to live in a home or stay in a hotel that failed to offer a connection to the internet. Most consumers now consider to be as important a utility as gas, water and electricity, and it’s becoming increasingly important in the workplace too.

Due to the rapid growth of “Bring Your Own Device” schemes in which employees use their personal electronic devices for company business, many companies are having to upgrade their infrastructure, replacing landline telephones and cable-based internet connections to enable their staff to connect from anywhere in the building.

While a firm may be saving money in terms of the cost of buying equipment for employees, some of those savings are being lost to the cost of providing fast, reliable broadband connections that enable employees to be fully productive. Although BYOD brings a number of benefits to employers and employees alike, there are also some potential drawbacks.

Benefits

One of the key benefits of BYOD is that you get to use the machine of your choice. Companies will often keep old tech for longer than is ideal because the cost of replacing the system for every employee is prohibitive. BYOD means you can invest in a state-of-the-art machine that is the envy of your colleagues, or else make do with a cheap notebook, just so long as it meets the minimum spec.

Blurred Lines

Once you stop working for a company, it’s only right that you immediately lose access to restricted information such as files, databases and email servers. This is done because it may be tempting for some former employees, especially those who are planning to seek work with rival firms or set up in business on their own, to take sensitive company information with them when they depart.

The theft of trade secrets became a federal crime back in 1996 and a 2016 federal law, backed by several major companies, and it now allows firms who’ve lost such secrets to seek compensation. However, the situation becomes more complicated if you’ve been using your own device and it contains a mixture of personal and company information.

Gray Area

Even if you have no malicious intent, a personal laptop used at your job could be caught up in a litigation action taken against the company as a whole. Insisting that the company employs the services of a reputable electronic discovery service will ensure a proper record of all the files on your computer is obtained in the quickest possible timeframe.

Though some companies have rigid policies and even insist on installing software that enables them to remotely wipe the contents of a BYOD device at will, the majority of employees using their own equipment are operating in a gray area. Almost 90 per cent of U.S. businesses have fewer than 20 members of staff, which means they are likely to be too small to have any kind of BYOD policy to protect both themselves and their staff.

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