BYOD: Bring your own device

Why and how you should adopt BYOD

What is bring your own device?

Bring your own device (BYOD) is an IT policy where employees are allowed or encouraged to use their personal mobile devices—and, increasingly, notebook PCs—to access enterprise data and systems. There are four basic options, which allow:

  1. Unlimited access for personal devices.
  2. Access only to non-sensitive systems and data.
  3. Access, but with IT control over personal devices, apps and stored data.
  4. Access, while preventing local storage of data on personal devices.


Increased productivity and innovation

Employees are more comfortable with a personal device and become expert using it—making them more productive. Personal devices tend to be more cutting-edge, so the enterprise benefits from the latest features. Also users upgrade to the latest hardware more frequently.

Employee satisfaction

Your people use the devices they have chosen and invested in—rather than what was selected by IT. 83 percent of users considered their mobile device more important than their morning cup of coffee. Allowing employees to use personal devices also helps them avoid carrying multiple devices.

Cost savings

BYOD programs sometimes save budget by shifting costs to the user, with employees paying for mobile devices and data services. However, this often results in little to no savings, so do not base your decision primarily on anticipated savings.

45-60 minutes per week
Employee time savings gained from "any time, anywhere" access

Read the Forrester study

Consider before adopting BYOD

Personal cost

Some employees will be unwilling to invest their own money. As mobile devices replace company-provided laptops, certain employees will expect the organization to pay for these new devices as well.

Enterprise cost

Will you have the resources to manage BYOD safely? Are you willing to set up a private app store for maximum control? Will your service desk be able to handle the inevitable flood of support calls?

Enterprise control

Certain job functions require access to very sensitive data, and mobile devices are being embedded into business processes such as manufacturing, transportation and retail transactions. In these roles, IT needs complete control over the mobile devices and applications installed on them.

How to BYOD

Here are the four key steps to enjoying the benefits of bring your own device:


Conduct a cost/benefit analysis while deciding how you will enable mobile and who will have access. Not determining a policy is risky: if you don't, BYOD will “just happen” without controls. Decide on the depth of access to be allowed to each segment of users: “mobile optional,” “mobile enhanced,” or “mobile primary.” Determine mobile device funding and security policies for each segment, then estimate the total IT system and support needed.

Secure and manage

71 percent of CEOs and IT managers say that security is their most significant mobile enterprise challenge. Carefully choose which technologies will be used to manage and secure mobile devices. A smartphone containing confidential data can be stolen or lost—putting sensitive information in the wrong hands. Your mobile enterprise system must be flexible enough to control connections to an ever-growing variety of devices.

Communicate your BYOD policy

39 percent of organizations have already had a data breach due to an employee's or contractor’s lost or stolen mobile device. Do your people understand the risks? Communicate which data may be accessed and which devices are appropriate. Make rules clear to employees up-front—what they may or may not do—and provide lessons on how to comply and get the most out of their access.


Guaranteed, there will be many more calls to your Help Desk concerning and a wide variety of devices, and the answers will take longer to find. This is where you need to invest up-front to gain the long-term benefit of granting your employees access through personal devices.

Why IBM for BYOD

To manage your entire system: A closely integrated system is the strongest. To enhance the productivity of your enterprise, we offer management and security capabilities to help control devices as they connect to your networks, apps, and data. We'll help you ensure secure transactions from an array of devices around the world.

Read about IBM MobileFirst for BYOD