BYOD becomes standard - but it's going to hit you in the pocket

Bring your own device will soon become mandatory for many staff, but bosses will expect staff to pay for their own hardware to use at work.

One in three companies will have stopped providing smartphones, tablets and PCs for staff within three years – with many expecting staff to foot the bill for their shiny new gadgets, instead.

According to a survey of CIOs by analyst Garter, 38 per cent of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016.

Gartner said that BYOD is most often found in larger organisations with $500m to $5bn in revenues and 2,500 to 5,000 employees. Companies in the US are twice as likely to allow BYOD as those in Europe, where BYOD has the lowest adoption of all the regions. Employees in India, China and Brazil are most likely to be using a personal device (typically a standard mobile phone) at work.

Gartner said over time employers will stop paying for mobile devices – right now roughly half of BYOD programmes will cover some of the costs of hardware. Employers will gradually reduce their subsidies, and as the number of workers using mobile devices expands, and the number who receive no subsidy whatsoever will grow, it predicted.

"The organisation should subsidise only the service plan on a smartphone. What happens if you buy a device for an employee and they leave the job a month later? How are you going to settle up? Better to keep it simple. The employee owns the device, and the company helps to cover usage costs," David Willis, Gartner vice president said in a statement.

Security remains a concern but the research said that IT is catching up: more than half of organisations rate themselves high in security of corporate data for enterprise-owned mobile devices.

Willis said organisations are finally reaching the point where IT officially recognises what has always been going on: that people use their business device for non-work purposes.

"Once you realise that, you'll understand you need to protect data in another way besides locking down the full device. It is essential that IT specify which platforms will be supported and how; what service levels a user should expect; what the user's own responsibilities and risks are; who qualifies; and that IT provides guidelines for employees purchasing a personal device for use at work, such as minimum requirements for operating systems."

However the benefits of BYOD remain hard to measure for many businesses: only 22 percent believe they have made a strong business case.


Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of

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