BYOB to a Party and BYOD to NJ Business

Quite like the concept of BYOB parties, New Jersey businesses are increasingly asking employees to BYOD, or “bring your own devise” to the office. The devises that businesses often recommend include smart phones and iPads. However, the concept of BYOD often poses a seldom understood threat to the workplace.

With so many employees working outside of traditional 9-5 hours, it makes practical sense to encourage them to bring their own smart phones, iPads, and other mobile devices. In fact, ninety percent of all employees report using their personal smart phones for work-related tasks, such as sending e-mail, setting up a meeting, or scheduling a reminder.

While carrying one device may be convenient for workers, many businesses and their employees fail to appreciate the risks of BYOD. For instance, many employees fail to take the proper precautions to secure their devices.

A recent survey by CTIA found that 11 percent of smart phone users have fallen victim to cyber attacks, while another 12 percent have lost their devices at least once. Similarly, a Cisco survey revealed that 39 percent of employees do not password protect their personal devices and more than half are guilty of using unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

For employers, these can often be costly mistakes. In addition to the loss of valuable business information, companies and organizations may also face lawsuits and government penalties. Last year, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary was fined $1.5 million after a doctor lost a laptop containing confidential patient information.

BYOD policies also pose problems in the event of a lawsuit, as discovery requests may include information contained on employee-owned gadgets. For employees, that means personal devices can be seized as evidence. Many people can’t be without their cell phones for an hour, never mind weeks or months. For businesses, retrieving the requested information can be a gargantuan task. In some cases, employees may have even deleted e-mails or files that should have been retained.

BYOD policies ultimately come down a number of competing concerns, including convenience, privacy, security and liability. Not surprisingly, many New Jersey businesses continue to struggle with how to properly weigh all of these factors in a way that protects their interests and keeps employees happy.

Donald Scarinci is a managing partner at Lyndhurst, N.J. based law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck.  He is also the editor of the Constitutional Law Reporter and Government and Law blogs.


BYOB to a Party and BYOD to NJ Business