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Bring-your-own-device (byod): the Problems of Security and Confidentiality

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Bring your own device identifies as a company policy that allows its employees to use their personal mobile devices for work and started in the American workplace. Bringing your own devices at work can allow different levels of access to the company data and systems according to the company’s policies: so, there can be access to non-sensitive systems and data; access to sensitive data with IT control over your personal devices, unlimited access, or access to sensitive data without storage capacity on your personal devices.

“Bring your own device should be a standard now. Before it was extremely expensive to set people up, but now with cloud services you can pay almost nothing and have as many users as you want on your own technology. It will be industry standard soon.” (Chief Technology Officer at Sofology, Jon Cleaver). But before adopting this policy even though it is appealing cost wise as the company avoids purchasing hardware and the inevitable depreciation that comes with it, the experts in network and IT security are advising the companies to implement a clear politic of how these should be used at work to avoid security, and confidentiality issues which can put the organization at risk through reputational damage and legal proceedings.

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In my paper work I will be debating these two issues that can come along with bringing your own device for work: security in terms of leaking out sensitive information about the company and the confidentiality of your personal data stored on those personal devices.

Company Data Security

In a normal work environment, where the employer provides the work devices there is a certain simplicity as there is less variety, so everyone would have approximatively the same devices which decreases the possibility of human error therefore an increased security protection. By being allowed to bring your own device, as we are different human beings with our own diversified needs, there will be a bigger variety of devices so a bigger exposure to human error and therefore a “easier breakable” security.

In terms of connecting these devices on a network I don’t think it makes such a big difference if there are company’s devices or your own, but when it comes to using the internet, connecting to wi-fi there is where issues can appear.

Usually on the work devices we have limited access to Internet exposure by using a Gateway architecture while on our own devices we have access to an infinity of different applications that we all use in our day-to-day routine which can make us an easy target to being hacked so there are bigger chances to allow a hacker into the company’s network.

As I was saying before, cost wise there is certainly a bonus for the companies as there is no need to provide devices to the employees, on the other hand they need to consider the risks that may appear together with adopting the BYOD practice.

Confidentiality of Your Personal Data

At first the companies carefully controlled the use of the mobile devices hanging off the corporate network, but soon the employees got tired of caring along their own devices and the work devices, they also didn’t like the fact that were forced to use a certain device with particular configuration, so they started to use their own device for work and then a trend took off. But by using your own device at work there are two sides of the coin, on one side the company data security can be weakened as I was explaining before on the other one your personal data can be exposed to the company as your device must be properly integrated in the company’s IT infrastructure. The concern here is that the employer can have access to your medical records, private pictures, private conversations, etc. Starting with 25th May 2018, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented which comes to give us more power over our own data and this could be a good tool to use when adopting BYOD policy to keep your data safe and private.


“By worrying about a BYOD set up, a company is highlighting that they still have a limited belief on what technology can achieve. We don’t talk about it just being a device that is mobile, but rather it then promotes a mobile experience. Staff are able to progress work without having to be in the office.” (James Akrigg, Head of Technology for Partners at Microsoft).

Every single one of us have their favourite software and devices so, by giving your employees a choice of what tools, they can work with, you attract better talent and make them happier and more productive as well as helping promote flexible working.


  1. Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) Survival Guide, Jessica Keyes 2013


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