BYOD Failure – Five Big Reasons Why Employees Don’t Want To Use Their iPhones, iPads At Work

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Not everyone is ready to jump on the BYOD bandwagon
Not everyone is ready to jump on the BYOD bandwagon

Yesterday, we covered a report that asked whether or not most people really want the option to bring their own technology into the office. That report showed that despite the media hype and the broad interest that CIOs and IT leaders are showing in BYOD programs, it may only be one out of every five employees that’s clamoring for the right to bring their personal iPad or iPhone into the office.

If that’s the case, why are so many users hesitant or even hostile to the BYOD model?

The reasons may vary depending on personal preferences and the corporate culture of an employer, but there are some universal concerns that users have when it comes to BYOD.

IT may restrict access to certain features – This is probably the biggest concern that employees have. With mobile device management still being a cornerstone of most mobility initiatives, many companies will require their employees to add personal devices to the chosen MDM service and install a service agent on their device. That will mean letting IT dictate on-device policies. This can be as basic as requiring a passcode to unlock the device or it can go much further. The iOS MDM capabilities allow IT to block access to the App Store, use of the camera, the ability to play content tagged as explicit by iTunes, backups to iCloud, and even the use of Siri on the iPhone 4S to name just a handful of restrictions. After spending the money on a new iPad, those restrictions can be a bitter pill to swallow.

The possibility of immediate remote wipe – The ability to remotely wipe all data from a lost or stolen device is a key security feature for IT. It was one of the first enterprise features added to the iPhone along with Exchange support in 2008. For users, however, there may be a fair amount of personal content on an iPhone or iPad that hasn’t been backed up. This can be photos and movies, Garageband projects, personal emails, game progress, and almost anything else. Knowing that someone can all delete that content at will can be a little unnerving and no one wants to report an iPhone lost only to find it wedged between the couch cushions and wiped of all data a few minutes later.

It’s worth noting that one solution discussed at last month’s CITE conference was the idea of “remote lock before remote wipe” in which IT departments will immediately lock a device when it’s reported missing but will wait a little while (three hours or less seemed a common timeframe) before wiping the device to give the owner some time to try locating it.

Concern that IT might snoop on personal data – Another big concern is whether or not IT will look at personal data on a managed device. This may actually be a bigger fear than is warranted in many cases. MDM solutions don’t typically let administrators dig into personal emails or photos or watch the on the screen of an iPad remotely, though employees might not realize that. Even so, MDM monitoring capabilities do let IT see details like the apps installed, device name and hardware details, and how much free space is available – things that a user might not feel comfortable sharing.

Potential increased personal expenses – Depending on the organization and BYOD parameters, users may find themselves with out of pocket expenses related to using their device for work. The most obvious ways are in the cost of apps and in the cost of 3G/4G data use. A robust BYOD program may include apps that are paid for by the company using Apple’s Volume Purchase Plan or a reimbursement system. That isn’t guaranteed, however, and even where it occurs, users may find that apps outside of the ones provided by an employer are better solutions. A bigger concern for mobile professionals is the cost of calls and data associated with work.  The cost of data is usually a bigger concern because of i’s greater overall cost and the fact that it isn’t really feasible to break out work data use and submit it as an expense.

Encouragement to work outside of business hours – Probably one of the biggest reasons to avoid a BYOD program is the desire to maintain a healthy work/life balance. BYOD programs do blur the line between home and office and that can include working on projects or fielding calls and emails during off hours. Avoiding using a personal device is one way for employees to make it clear that they aren’t willing to take their work life home with them.

If a company is truly interested in pursuing a BYOD initiative, then IT leaders and management need to consider these reasons that staff might not want to participate and develop ways to address them.