The X-YOD Factor: Pros and cons of personal devices

We all know the acronym BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Increasingly, however, I’m starting to see “CYOD” (Choose Your Own Device) and – particularly in government, where security issues remain paramount – “DBYOD” (Don’t Bring Your Own Device) as well. There is no shortage of folks debating which policy is best for your company.

But you need to consider how video conferencing will be affected by your policy. And I’ll tell you how it will be affected in a bit. First, the three policies.

BYOD: Letting your employees bring their own devices to work is fine for a lot of organizations. Your employees show up with his or her device and plug into your network to work. Most of the times it’s limited to their smartphone or maybe now tablet. (Generally laptops fall into the next category, CYOD. More on that later.)

The major pro to BYOD is cost containment. A small company doesn’t have to buy smartphones and tablets for every employee.

The con (there has to be a con when the pro is saving thousands of dollars) is the question of who is responsible when things go wrong. If the company never bought the smartphone but it malfunctioned on the job, is the company liable for it? If an employee’s smartphone brings a virus into the company’s network, is the employee liable for damages?

CYOD: You know what your employees need to do their jobs, but you also know that some people want an iPhone and others want a Droid. So you give them a list of devices the company provides from laptops to phones, they pick it and you buy it.

The pro is you control what devices are used and what software is on them. And you own the devices, so you can monitor them and make sure they stay out of trouble.

The con with this is cost. For a 500-person company, you’re talking about at least a couple thousand dollars of technology for each employee by the time they are equipped with a smartphone, a laptop or a tablet and a maybe a printer.

DBYOD: We’re talking about high security concerns here – as I said earlier, most likely in the federal space or among companies that work with federal agencies. You’re basically telling folks to leave the devices they use for work at work. Don’t bring in your own; we’ll give you what we want you to use.

I’m not going to go into pros and cons of Don’t Bring Your Own Device because, quite frankly, it’s a small group of companies and organizations, and they do what they do because they have to. There is no room for debate.

In general, I’d wager that 99 percent of the private sector – from small businesses to Fortune 500 firms – are actively discussing their policies on employee technology use.

It’s not like the old days when a company supplied employees with a laptop or a desktop and said, “There you are. Deal with it.”

So where does video conferencing technology fit into this debate? Fortunately, it’s all good news.

For the most part, video technologies are device-agnostic. A web-based video conferencing system just needs to have devices on either end that are capable of accessing the web and putting video on a screen. What devices are used and who owns them or picks them isn’t that important to video conferencing systems today. The concerns are further minimized when you settle on a system that’s based on open standards, rather that any proprietary technology.

That’s certainly a plus when it comes to the debates that -- if they have not already – will be going on inside your company as you deal with the X-YOD Factor.

What is important to remember is that putting the best devices for the job in the hands of the people doing the work should be your top priority.