The economic arguments for bring your own device (BYOD) working are multiple. The first one is that if employees fund their own terminals (smartphones, tablets, portables), their employer does not have to.
The second, slightly subtler but possibly more important, is that employees working with their favourite devices tend to be more productive. On the other hand, mobile security issues may keep IT managers awake at night.
What might help them to sleep better is to consider that a psychological element of BYOD might be helping to improve security, instead of hindering it.
People who use their own, personal devices for work are less likely to do something ill-considered on those devices than on a device issued by their employer, according to a recent survey. After years of employers beseeching employees to treat company property “as if it were your own”, BYOD has employees doing just that, at least for computing devices.
After all, when you’ve spent time in personally narrowing the field of contenders to finally choose the terminal that you like the most, you have a much bigger affective stake in the matter, than if you were to use a device handed out by your company without consideration of your feelings on the matter.
This psychological advantage, fuelled by the likelihood users will want to protect their own personal data on their BYOD machines, is a big step forward to being more secure. IT security is still as much a matter of attitude and behaviour, as it is of technological prowess.
That said, smart BYOD technology can now help organisations manage each individual company or private device, and insist on anti-virus software, up to date operating systems and even geographical whereabouts, before granting access to any virtual inner sanctum.
This psychological-technical pairing might also work in other areas, where employees have an emotional stake. However, there are limits. For instance, BYOM (bring your own mainframe) doesn’t really sound very feasible, does it?