Bring Your Own Disgruntlement: the New Meaning of BYOD


This article will cover the following:

  • Introduction – BYOD vs. BYOB
  • Bring Your Own Platform
  • Bring Your Own Disgruntlement
  • Atmosphere of Honesty
  • Welcome to On-Call Nation
  • Conclusion – Plug BYOD Leakage

Introduction – BYOD vs. BYOB

Bring your own device sounds innocuous enough. Typically shortened to BYOD, it’s the computing version of BYOB. Sure, in many cases you have to foot the cost of the phone yourself, and no one likes that. However, you have the freedom to choose whatever phone you want, just like you can bring whatever beverages you want to a BYOB party.

That’s typically where the analogy ends. After all, we aren’t talking about beer here. We’re talking about mobile devices that collect big data based off our use. More than that, we’re talking about a blurring of the line between business and personal. Workers have had enough.

Bring Your Own Platform

I have referenced the rise of the third platform – especially as it’s expressed via Mark Neistat for the computing professional association Technology First – repeatedly in this blog. The report describes the third platform, considered to be the next major computing environment following a 20-year reign by personal computing, which was in turn preceded by mainframe computing.

As Neistat stresses, although there are three other core components of the third platform – cloud systems, social media, and data analytics – mobile computing is the centerpiece. Cell phones and tablets are the tools often used to access the other three technologies. The nature of the device is often based on the individual preference of the worker through a BYOD policy.

In other words, BYOD is a debate that’s pivotal to a changing web. How big is mobile? Many experts have forecast that by 2015, more people will get online via mobile than via a PC.

Bring Your Own Disgruntlement

Ostensibly, BYOD is about freedom. At least that’s part of how a “bring your own” policy is often framed. However, stories from both of the coasts suggests that these policies can damage careers and leave employees feeling like they are being watched by the all-seeing Eye of Providence. Two Manhattan financial professionals were sacked for failing to notify IT immediately of mobile device theft. In California, a GPS tracking app enabled a law firm’s CIO to monitor the movements of attorneys 24/7, revealing that one associate was running off to hit the links frequently during the business day.

Tom Kaneshige discusses BYOD backlash in a November 7 report for CIO. Tom mentions that although we don’t have information on how many people have been hurt, “there’s simply no denying a slowdown of companies adopting formal BYOD policies.”

Tom notes that central to the BYOD debate is concern with personal privacy. Although the issue is valid, sometimes industry thought leaders become either excessively paranoid about purported threats. Tom gave the example of Yaacov Cohen, the chief executive of collaborative software-as-a-service firm Cohen said that Apple Pay and other virtual wallet applications thwart the “bring your own” movement because no one wants their business’s IT staff to see all their purchases. However, that type of software has protections in place that would disallow IT access.

Atmosphere of Honesty

The fact that your coworkers can’t access your transactional data may sound comforting, but BYOD isn’t about technical specifications, says Cohen. Instead, it’s about honesty.

Essentially, employees don’t want to be told their employer has initiated BYOD to make their lives easier, then misuse GPS or usage information – such as apps downloaded or browser history. No one wants to be accosted by a manager with kind words about their fight against cancer when the source of information is a cancer-themed app kept on a phone.

Developers are figuring out ways to create demarcation between company and personal environments on mobile. However, these efforts don’t resolve employee fears. After all, writes Tom, “We live in an age of conspiracy where our private information is bartered with.” The computing professionals at any organization first and foremost represent the enterprise, not their coworkers. In some cases, their advice can (and should) be difficult to believe.

Welcome to On-Call Nation

Another reason people hate the BYOD movement is that they don’t want to be accessible at all hours, which accelerates stress – as evidenced by a poll of hundreds of tech pros by TEKsystems.

Usability is also a concern. It can become clunkier to operate on mobile when enterprise safeguards and administrative capabilities are involved. Developers are at work on solutions that would push hassle and sophistication to the server side.

To make matters even dicier in the BYOD arena, though, a California Court of Appeals decision dictates that cell phone work calls must be paid by the employer. As Tom reports, “The US justice system has just waded into BYOD’s already murky waters.”

Conclusion – Plug BYOD Leakage

Another growing trend is “shadow BYOD,” in which workers use mobile even though it’s not allowed. A shadow environment represents vulnerability for leakage.

Protecting all your devices can be tricky, but we have you covered on the backend with cloud servers run in our SSAE 16 certified data centers. Mike Belton comments on our support: “I’ve been with Superb for a long time, and I have never been disappointed by the technical services staff.”

By Kent Roberts