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Mobile Devices in the Workplace Essay

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Updated: May 10th, 2020

Most companies today encourage their employees’ using their own mobile devices at work. The modern trend, Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD), is growing in popularity. The phenomenon seems to be easily explicable as the relevant strategy is primarily aimed at reducing corporate expenses on the technologies’ sector. Moreover, letting employees access corporate data from their smartphones means that the latter can carry out urgent tasks outside working time that improves their performance considerably. Meanwhile, using mobile devices in the workplace, likewise, implies a series of critical risks for the firm that pursues such a policy.

First of all, an employer is unable to monitor the workers’ activity as long as the former use their personal mobile phones. In other words, it is highly problematic to define whether a person is occupied by work or is simply chatting on Facebook. Whereas corporate devices might be equipped with specific restricting options, a personal smartphone provides complete liberty of action.

Furthermore, the variety of mobile devices used in a company might create particular difficulties from the technical perspective. Thus, the IT department receives additional concerns as its representatives need to ensure that all the devices used in the firm have same versions of programs and applications necessary for carrying out the corporate tasks. In this light, providing personnel with the similar series of Blackberries or iPhones is simpler as it guarantees that the staff operates within equal conditions.

Finally, one of the most crucial disadvantages of the use of mobile devices in the workplace is the implied security risks. As soon as an employee receives immediate access to corporate data through a personal smartphone, one cannot be sure the content will not be accidentally or intentionally spread beyond the company. According to the recent research performed by Ponemon Institute, most of the companies have had the negative experience of losing valuable information. The relevant incident typically occurs either due to the carelessness of employees using their mobile devices or the managers’ failure to perform the controlling function (Ponemon Institute, 2014). The major problem resides in the lack of opportunity to track the number of personal smartphones within a company as well as to monitor their security level. Thence, statistics shows that the majority of employees do not install valid security programs on their mobile phones. Moreover, a significant part of them tends to download files from insecure sources. As to employers, they admit that problem of the staff’s carelessness in using their smartphones is often overlooked (Rapid7, 2013).

As a consequence, the question arises whether companies should have a strict policy regarding the use of mobile devices in the workplace. On the one hand, the alternative variant of providing corporate devices is likely to eliminate all the risks mentioned above. Nevertheless, one might assume that the benefits of the BYOD approach prevail over the described disadvantages. In the meantime, it seems to be evident that the implementation of the relevant strategy requires careful consideration and taking the measures aimed at avoiding potential risks. From this perspective, one might suggest that data encryption and passwords are, probably, the basic solution for a company that is concerned about the security of its data.

A more complicated and thus, a more efficient, approach implies obliging personnel to install corporate software programs on their mobile devices. The relevant measure seems to be highly reasonable as it provides both guarantees for the essential control and reduces the data loss risks. Thus, the spokesman of the famous pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, claims that the relevant measure is an effective solution as the employers receive an opportunity to monitor the staff’s activity as well as to ensure the necessary level of security (Tibken, 2014).

One should necessarily point out that control measures in the context of the use of mobile devices in the workplace are critical regardless of the field within which a particular company operates. Practice shows that the question of security is properly handled in those cases where the loss of the corporate data might lead to substantial financial damages. Thus, firms that deal with innovations and all kinds of manufacture are particularly concerned about the data leakage issue.

Meanwhile, the use of mobile devices implies risks for other types of organizations as well, even though they might be less evident. In this view, strict policies in the matter of the mobile devices’ use are equally essential for lawyers, doctors, research centers and all the other institutions that deal with privileged information. Thus, the representative of the Hamilton Health Hospital states that the organization has to control the use of the mobile devices with the staff so that the patient data does not spread beyond their center (Tibken, 2014). In either case, whether there are potential financial risks or not, every employer is to bear responsibility for the corporate data as it deals with the personal information about the employees. Therefore, all the organizations should see to the fact that the use of mobile devices in the workplace is reasonable and secure.

Apart from taking security measures, an employee has a right to restrict the use of certain mobile operating systems in case the latter is apt to cause particular difficulties. Thus, one might presume that Android system has a series of drawbacks in the perspective of using it in the workplace. First of all, the owners of Android are especially unprotected due to the relatively low quality of the security options of this operating system. The key problem resides in the fact that Android users do not receive an administrative privilege, which means that a significant part of downloads and updates is likely to take place automatically. Hence, along with endangering their own devices, the owners of Androids will also put the corporate security at a risk.

Moreover, due to the complicacy of the relevant system, one might experience difficulties installing some basic programs, necessary in the workplace, such as Microsoft Word. Therefore, in case an employer is interested in providing corporate software programs, the IT department will have to perform extra efforts in order to make them compatible with the Android system. Thus, despite the fact that BYOD approach does not imply any restrictions on the type of a mobile device, one might suggest that Android operating systems are likely to represent a considerable concern in the workplace.

In conclusion, one might note that the use of mobile devices in the workplace can be efficient and productive on condition that employers keep the process under a careful control. The popularization of the BYOD movement seems to be inevitable in the current context in spite of all the potential risks and drawbacks that it implies.

Reference List

Ponemon Institute (2014). . Web.

Rapid7 (2013). The Rise and Risk of Mobile Devices in the Workplace. Web.

Tibken, S. (2014, September 26). Danger-to-Go. The Wall Street Journal. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Mobile Devices in the Workplace." May 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mobile-devices-in-the-workplace/.

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