BYOD Challenge: Who’s Responsible For Replacing Damaged iPads?

BYOD Challenge: Who’s Responsible For Replacing Damaged iPads?

In a BYOD program, who's responsible for replacing a damaged iPad or other device?

The principal at my elementary school was fond of saying that every privilege comes with a new responsibility. That phrase often comes to mind when I think about BYOD programs. The ability to use your personal iPhone, iPad, or other mobile devices in the workplace is a privilege. Even though it may make you a happier and more productive employee, using your personal device means that you take on certain responsibilities once taken care of by your IT department.

Tasks and costs like cell service, supporting technical problems specific to your device, choosing and purchasing apps, and even maintaining some aspects of data security become your responsibility. Then there’s the ultimate responsibility question – what happens if your iPhone or iPad is damaged?

While most BYOD programs are designed to incorporate issues around support, expenses, and security, many don’t include a policy for physical damage to a device.

Mobility engineer Brian Katz recently looked at the implications of catastrophic damage to a personal device being used within a BYOD program (for both the device owner and his or her employer). In examining the issue, he identifies the worst case scenario in a BYOD model – an employee on a business trip with just a iPhone and iPad (or some other smartphone and tablet) where both devices get damaged and need replacement.

That scenario raises a number of questions that aren’t addressed in many BYOD policies:

  • Who is responsible for replacing the device – the owner or the company?
  • If the owner is responsible but unable to replace the device at an unsubsidized price because of the cost, should his or her company help defray the cost?
  • Should the company offer a loan for device replacement that the employee can pay back over time through payroll deduction?
  • Should the company provide mobile device insurance for employee devices or require that employees purchase it on their own?
  • Not having a laptop on hand, how will an employee be able to work during the remainder of the trip?
  • Should employees be required to carry a company-owned laptop on trips in addition to their personal devices?
  • Should companies implementing BYOD include a pool of emergency loaner devices for use in a situation where an employee’s device damaged or unavailable?

Those are some pretty big questions and ones that might not be easy to answer. They really get to the heart of defining responsibilities between the employee and the employer. While there isn’t a single ideal solution, these are issues that businesses need to consider. Ideally, these should be thought out ahead of time and added to other BYOD policies before a program is rolled out to employees.

Flipping the situation around, if your company offers a BYOD program and policies around responsibility for damage aren’t spelled out, it’s in your best interest to ask questions and get a solid answer about those responsibilities before joining the program and bringing your iPhone or iPad into the office.

  • Frank Lowney

    Both parties (employer and employee) benefit from BYOD.  Therefore, both parties should share the costs and other responsibilities involved.  That’s not as easy to calculate as when one party is 100% responsible.  When I drive my car to someplace other and further than my office (e.g to deliver a presentation), my employer reimburses me for mileage at a figure that approximates fuel and maintenance costs.  BYOD should entail the same kind of thinking.

  • joewaylo
    • Who is responsible for replacing the device – the owner or the company? – The owner is responsible unless their property was damaged while on company grounds due to no fault of their own. However most companies require to supply you with the hardware as they are required to maintain an asset tag on their property and recover stolen property costs.
    • If the owner is responsible but unable to replace the device at an unsubsidized price because of the cost, should his or her company help defray the cost? – If the property the owner held was damaged, lost or stolen on company grounds and the company agrees to reimburse the damages, they would cover the full price. That is if it was an employer’s fault such as they were on ground, bumped into the customer and made them drop the BYOD thereby destroying the property, the company is responsible.
    • Should the company offer a loan for device replacement that the employee can pay back over time through payroll deduction? – Possibly but it would be under agreement to dock their pay if the employee was responsible for damaging the other person’s property.
    • Should the company provide mobile device insurance for employee devices or require that employees purchase it on their own? – It would be their responsibility under the BOYD program. Unless the employer purchased the BOYD and insured it, it’s generally the third party. The employer purchases, insurances, and asset tags their own property.
    • Not having a laptop on hand, how will an employee be able to work during the remainder of the trip? – Generally the employer supplies a CITRIX or Outlook website network for you to login to the service on the go. Many companies upon purchasing a Microsoft Exchange network have an Outlook website network to maintain emails anywhere they are, but at risk of using other people’s networks secured or unsecured.
    • Should employees be required to carry a company-owned laptop on trips in addition to their personal devices? – Depends on the security severity. Top Secret and Q like wouldn’t be allowed to carry a company owned laptop though as they generally store PII data or top secret data that thieves snatch up from time to time.
    • Should companies implementing BYOD include a pool of emergency loaner devices for use in a situation where an employee’s device damaged or unavailable? – Probably not. Since the asseted property gets turned into a main supplier and it generally takes a week or less. It wouldn’t be necessary to contain emergency loaner devices since they’d be UPS delivered.
  • Andrew John

    Considering that in Australia, a woman was awarded compensation for injuries sustained while having a wild sex romp with a colleague in her hotel room, whilst on a business conference weekend, I guess anything is possible.

  • technochick

    It’s your device. You choose to buy it and you choose to you it. If it gets damaged it is your responsibility. The only exception would be if you were required to turn it over to some IT tech to install a VPN or some such and that is the person that dropped it, got it wet etc. And then he or the company is responsible for the costs of replacing. 

    Now that Apple has done their whole Apple Care+ it really isn’t that huge of an issue. Cost to replace an iPad without it starts at $249 plus tax. Two damages with Apple Care+ is a total of $197 with no taxes to be paid. With math like that it is insane not to get it, especially if you are using it BYOD and traveling around with it. Even with an iPhone the math works out, especially if it’s an iPhone 4 which will cost you $199 plus tax each incident (versus $197 total)
     

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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