back to article Forget choice: 50% of firms will demand you BYOD by 2017

When you are as bombarded by BYOD good-news stories as El Reg is these days, the central marketing message that emerges is it's all about "freedom of choice." Not for long, it seems, if the Gartner's analysts are correct: they forecast that half of all companies will enforce "choice" as a condition of employment. The biggest …

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but what about....

those employees who don't want a smartphone/fondleslab, or only want a simple one that can't handle the corporate requirements, or who don't want to clutter up their phone with corporate applications and data etc.

If the company says you need a gadget then let the company pay for it - no need to buy, just rent on contract and then if they leave they get the phone back and give it to the next one in line.

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Re: but what about....

Then you buy it yourself, only use it for work and claim it back on tax.

If you are really clever (or an MP) you buy it yourself from a cheap chinese site, lease it to yourself at 100x the cost (using your offshore holding company) and claim the lease costs back against tax

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Anonymous Coward

Re: but what about....

And what happens when one employer standardises on Apple phones and tables, but your next employer only uses Windows laptios and Windows mobile devices, and the employer after only uses Android tablets, android phones and Windows laptops?

Is an employee supposed to have at least one of every single type of device? This is just crazy. Most Gartner articles are pure crap and just push what the big players in the industry want.

Gartner also predicted the future in big business was no phones on desk. The last couple of times big Banks in Australia tried that they were rolling phones out within 2 days of the change. Gartner is full of shit.

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Re: but what about....

"lease it to yourself at 100x the cost (using your offshore holding company) and claim the lease costs"

That's not going to work. You forgot that you'll have to declare the lease income. Which offests the lease costs 100%. So you're only left with the 'cheap' purchase cost to claim for tax.

Really, so many people just don't "get it" when it comes to tax planning.

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Re: but what about....

The US requires you to declare worldwide income. The same is not true in all countries. Or in the US, if you're able to successfully have an offshore holding company that the IRS doesn't know about and leave the lease profits offshore for life, to invest in say a nice beachside villa, or entire island, depending on how big your offshore holding company is.

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WTF?

@DougS

If you're going to commit US tax fraud, as you described when you discussed hiding (putatively substantial) offshore assets in contravention of US FATCA regs, then why bother with such arcane machinations? You've already accepted that you're committing fraud, so just lie: just make up some inflated costs/expenditures, or just decide not to report income.

Blatant lies are easy; the exercise only becomes nontrivial when you attempt to twist the interpretation of the law in order to be able to argue what you are doing is legal.

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Anonymous Coward

If BYOD means not being forced to use a crap, work supplied Dell laptop with Windows on it then I'm all for it.

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No

BYOD means having pay yourself for a crap Dell laptop with Windows on it.

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Devil

Re: pay yourself

Paying myself I don't mind, it's paying someone else that worries me.

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FAIL

Re: No

Yeah, it's when BYOD inevitably morphs into PFYOD (Pay For...) that scares me.

My own machine is sacrosanct: no work on it but my own gamedev stuff

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Gartner

If you are going to post Gartner crap, I think you should try and dig up some old ones that say "By 2013 everyone..." so we can all have a good laugh.

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Re: Gartner

...and at the very least put a disclaimer on the article stating that it has been "sponsored" by XYZ vendor who happens to foist / sell BYOD management services.

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Why not make this a regular slot

Let's have a regular slot where an El Reg journo looks at previous predictions from Gartner etc. and sees how they panned out.

Should be a recurring source of good laughs!

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Not interested, personally

The issue at the end of the article works in reverse, especially in light of "BYOD" really meaning "Buy your own device from a list of certified options". If I buy a device for a job and don't end up staying, I'm stuck with an out-of-pocket investment in a device that might not be something I would have chosen without that job's likely restrictions on what I can buy.

On the happier note that I stay at the job, this doesn't save me any money, because I'm not going to use a work device for personal things. Sure, if it's a phone I might be OK making calls on it, but at this point I don't have any interest in using a work device to chat with with the gang, post my personal opinion on forums under a pseudonym, or exchange racy texts with a girlfriend. If I want to do any of those things, I'm going to want a truly personal device anyway, so BYOD becomes a pure cost overhead for me.

Maybe eventually I'll be mollified by the internal work/life firewalls of the sort Blackberry and Samsung are working on, but at this point they are too new and untested for me to trust very much to truly keep my prospective employers out of my personal life.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not interested, personally

Ah, I think you misunderstand how this will play out. It won't matter if you're interested or not. if you want to work you will comply. Simple as that.

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Re: Not interested, personally

No, really, it's not that simple. I know there are plenty of people *think* it's going to work like that, but they won't be hiring me, and I'm not at all concerned about that. I recognize that not everyone has that luxury.

This isn't quite as bad as people insisting on access to personal social media log-ins, but it's certainly in that general area for me. With the social media access thing, if I'm asked or told about it in an interview, it means I'm done with the interview and I'll keep shopping. Mandatory BYOD means I'm going to have a lot of questions, and *might* keep looking depending on the answer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not interested, personally

"BYOD" really meaning "Buy your own device from a list of certified options"

Sounds like it will go down the same route as some US companies who decided to be all modern and trendy and introduce "dress down fridays" .... only to decide after a few weeks (or perhaps even in advance) to issue guidance on what stores/brands sold clothes that we deemed "acceptable" for "dress down friday". This was then shortly followed by such stores seeing a market opportunity and offering to run "training" on what the acceptable options were.

So cue the "you're free to bring your own laptop to use at work ... this afternoon our Dell sales representative will be coming in to show you the range of laptops that they, in collaboration with our management have determined as being suitable for your needs"

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Re: Not interested, personally

Isn't it more likely to work on the company-car model? Choose from a list of "acceptable" devices selected for your level in the organisation, supplied by work and wholly owned by them so that it is returned when the contract is over. I don't see any organisation wanting a whole raft of disparate devices, nor the workforce (outside the USA at least) accepting this paying for extra work devices out of their own pockets.

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Re: Not interested, personally

...coincidentally they're all 20% more expensive than identical non-approved models...

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End of Job activities

I think an important thing here is exactly what happens to the device and the data on it at the end of the job. If it's my device then I'm unlikely to consent to my about-to-be-ex-employer wiping the storage. I happen to use my own netbook for work purposes because for a long time it was a convenient Linux machine in a sea of Windows, and when I took it to the US on holiday, I did actually archive the work directory elsewhere and deleted the copy on the machine, then restored it when I came back. However, this was as much to free up space for photo storage as any thought of US customs imaging the disk or me losing the machine.

Now I've got a (employer-supplied) PC capable of running a VM, so I have a Linux VM instead.

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Anonymous Coward

BYOD - The other side of the coin

BYOD could be where the fortress 'Corporate IT' gets finally defeated. That is all well and good BUT

BUT BUT BUT

What happens when your BYOD device just does not hack it?

I have a semi BYOD laptop. The Corporate shackled device might be ok for Sales but for people who have to develop real 'stuff' it is totally inadequate. for example, the serial port is disabled by group policies. so I can't connect to things like CISCO routers etc which happen to be part of my job. Pah.

So we've declared UDI and bough some laptops that enable us to do our job.

Sadly the IT dept Nazi's have declared our new Laptops to be a threat to the company and have blocked our MAC addresses from the corporate network.

Gunfight at the OK Corral has nothing on what is going on at the moment.

It is really getting nasty. My dept runs really big systems for our customers. If we fall down.. then I shudder to think of the implications to many parts of the world.

How do you get past this impasse? Corporate IT HQ seem to be oblivious to the real problems in the company.

Thank god I retire in 4 months.

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Re: BYOD - The other side of the coin

If you've got an 'approved' MAC address, turn off/unplug that machine and set up the laptop to spoof its address.

I'd probably also be dropping the occasional email to higher-ups, pointing out that the IT policy was leaving me unable to do my job properly and that they needed to sort out an acceptable compromise. At least that way there's an audit trail for when shit hits the fan.

I've worked in places where the IT policy was pretty strict, but the IT people were always reasonable enough to grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis when a need for something outside the policy was demonstrated.

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Meh

Re: BYOD - The other side of the coin

Group policies stopping you doing your job? Then play the thicko card and state you can't do your job with the current policies (conveniently forgetting the work around you found). Maybe even wait until it's preventing a repair taking place. It's not until manglement have an issue staring them in the face that they finally comprehend the impact of their policies and act accordingly.

And if you only have four months until retirement, the company has very little to hold over you, so why not sh!t-stir a little on issues like this and leave your co-workers the legacy of a slightly better work situation?

Management can be managed from down below, you just have to know how to push the right issues while minimising blow-back on yourself.

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Re: BYOD - The other side of the coin

Companies that really care about security are using 802.1x. Unless your personal/private computer has a corporate certificate installed your WiFi or Ethernet connection is not going to be much use.

Heck, one place I worked even had 802.1x installed on the printers so you couldn't 'borrow' a printer's Ethernet jack like you could in the past. Just like a fax line for was great for long-distance calls when you could arrange 'approval' in time (yeah, that's it).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BYOD - The other side of the coin

When I read this kind of thing I am reminded of Germany in WW2.

What really did for them was internal empire building. Each of the Nazi top bods tried to carve out a private empire. They often seemed to be spending more time trying to outmanoeuvre one another than the Russians.

There was only one person in charge, and of course he had no way of knowing what was going on other than what his deputies told him.

Large corporates seem to work exactly the same way. IT wants a power base, and it doesn't like people who have to use computers to do actual work because IT can't understand or control it. OK, guys, let's see you apply corporate policies to this Unix-based CAD system.

Meanwhile a single person - the CEO - is somehow expected to know what is going on in the whole organisation, which is impossible, and so has to rely on what he gets told.

So: your corporate IT is not oblivious to the real problems in the company. They are fighting a war, but on a different front.

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Trollface

Re: BYOD - The other side of the coin

Large corporates seem to work exactly the same way. IT wants a power base, and it doesn't like people who have to use computers to do actual work because IT can't understand or control it.

Yes, and then when some idiot plugs his porn filled virus magnet into the corporate network behind the company firewall, the first question IT will be asked is why did you let........

Corporate IT is fighting a war, and sometime it had to tell the difference between enemies and allies. Put a IBM 3270 on everybodies desk I say....

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Re: BYOD - The other side of the coin

So do we have to expect the chief of IT security (Abwehr) supporting assasination attempts on the CEO (Hitler) with HR (The SS) spying on both while supplying cheap labour?

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Joke

Do

the business savings cover the cost of user training required to stop private information becoming public?

Or are they going to take the data home by public transport to think about it?

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Stop

After...

...the Exchange Server at work pwned my phone (well all the bits that really mattered to me) I swore `never again'. BYOD is one of those shiny glittery concepts that turns out to be dangling in front of an enormous mouth full of snaggy teeth. No thanks.

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wonder what the ratio is now

I haven't had a company issued cell phone since early 2008. Companies since have offered to cover some of my cell phone bill(rarely all of it - current plan with mifi option is around $140/mo with ATT - sort of ironically cheaper than Sprint was when I had a dedicated mifi device(both combined being $175/mo vs sharing w/my phone now). Though I have never taken advantage of it. Just too lazy to fill out the form each month. Part of my job is being on call. My co-workers and boss are similar, I don't believe they expense that stuff either. Many years ago before "unlimited" plans I did expense my bills as they were frequently significantly more per month.

Not sure what my current company's policy is on cell phones. I also provide my own laptop too (bought it to replace company laptop at my last company - couldn't stand to use a Mac, kept same laptop for this job too). Also supply my own work chair (Aeron - again bought for last company their chairs made my legs feel numb after a long day - I don't want to keep the Aeron chair at home due to cats).

I could get a company laptop at my current place (been using a desktop at the office). I have opted not to-date because I walk to work(1 mile), and I don't like to carry anything with me that doesn't fit in my pockets. I'm sure laptops are a more tempting target to steal from an office after hours so I opted for a boring desktop instead.

I could probably get part of my broadband expensed, if not all of it since I work from home a lot- again not sure what the policy is there if we have anything. Those sorts of things are fairly disorganized. The only stuff I have expensed has been travel related.

I don't nickel and dime my companies for everything, and they don't nickel and dime me for everything either (vacation time etc). In the end everyone's life is simpler and most likely happier. I realize I am probably in the small minority when it comes to this kind of thing..

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WTF?

Re: wonder what the ratio is now

How is life in the ant farm?

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The next step

It's only a matter of time before the Gubbermint decides to tax the work tools provided by the company as income. If you have to jet off to some miserable place for a meeting or sales presentation it will be classed as a company provided vacation and it will count toward pushing you into the hell known as 'alternative minimum tax'. Just as corporate accountants come up with new tricks so the company doesn't pay taxes, the IRS comes up with new ways of screwing everyone else because con-gress won't allow them to go after their corporate sponsors.

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WTF?

Re: The next step

What the hell is a Gubbermint ?

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Re: The next step

A government license to print money.

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Holmes

Bad news for Intel and Microsoft

This rate of BYOD adoption means ARM and Google win big. PC desktop and mobile sales will dive fast indeed, since the incentive is to buy phones or tablets to meet your personal mobile needs.

With MS barely scraping into the tablet list with 2 percent share this quarter, and hardly any OEM sales, it looks like they aren't a player. We live in interesting times!

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Re: Bad news for Intel and Microsoft

Been doing BYOD for some time. The requirements IT departments put down left me basically two choices:

Microsoft Windows

Church of Jobs

(Solaris would have been an option)

As an Atheist I choose Windows. BYOD is mostly about clients not about server/infrastructure. Nor about software in many cases. "Must be editable on the bosses maschine" was a killer for the Note 10.1 as a BYOD device since SNote is not generally available while every Windows box since at least Vista has Journal

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Facepalm

What else will they think of getting the employee to pay for?

"This deduction on your payslip? That's just your contribution towards the cost of running the company servers."

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Anonymous Coward

It works in the construction industry... in the US

At least in the US, it's not uncommon for skilled trades (Construction, mechanics, aviation mechanics, etc) to have their own personal tools that they own, and take with them from Job to Job.

Most good employees have a "tools" addon to your paycheck that permits to you keep your tools maintained well. If you suck at budgeting, you don't have the right tools, and have to beg your co-workers.

I have helped a friend that is an aviation mechanic pickup his tools a few times.

I don't see a problem in an IT world that you bring your own tools with you, laptop, cell phone, etc. Heck almost all of us in the team I work in have purchased our own SSDs as upgrades for our corporate owned laptops. The $100-150 was well worth it for us for the speed up. Of course we could try and hide behind the "the company does not want us to be as productive, so when the company buys it, we will do it", but in the scheme of things, if it helps your productivity, and your appeal to the company in terms of worth, and helps justify your job, it's well worth it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It works in the construction industry... in the US

Yeah right, you don't have to upgrade to toolkit 2.0 every 2-3 years, at a cost of 2 weeks salary a pop.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It works in the construction industry... in the US

You can't compare tools like screw drivers to laptops, tablets and phones.

What if you have all the latest Windows devices for your current job, you change jobs and the new place is an Apple only company. Do you think it fair that in order to accept a job at the new place you have to buy yourself an Apple laptop, an iPad, and an iPhone?

This is why BYOD won't work in most places. It will work fine in small places that don't apply group policies and aren't too concerned about security. Otherwise, this is just more Gartner crap.

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Re: It works in the construction industry... in the US

Well given the less than 10 percent chance the next job will use CoJ devices instead of Windows clients this is acceptable. Add in that as a software developer you either

+ Use a OS independed language - in that case working clients have limited problems(1)

+ Use a OS dependend language - in that case you likely won't apply work that job

(1) There can be some when "Can be edited by the boss" is a demand an MS Office does not run on the 1.4 percent system

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From both sides...

As a worker, I want several things to convince me that BYOD is worth it. I want compensation on my device, because if I have to buy my own tools for a job it shouldn't come out of my own pocket. I want to keep complete control over it, I'm not having anyone but me authorised to access it. I'm not having it subject to any corporate policies regarding content, searches or deletions.

As an admin, I need assurances that any device connected to the network isn't crawling with viruses, spyware, gypsy curses and the like. I need to know that data remains under the control of the company as much as possible. That means the ability to prevent copying it anywhere it shouldn't go, and removing it when they leave the company.

The only way I can see to marry these two positions is a combination of BYOD with VDI. Remote sessions that keep the data within the company bounds whilst allowing BYOD to be used. Security holes that come to mind are things like screenshots, but they are fairly minimal. It just depends a lot on the ability to control the VDI context.

Both BYOD and VDI are far from maturity. I'll watch what happens, but I won't be an early adopter of either technology for the next 2-5 years.

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Facepalm

What you talking about Willis!

Willis said that the maturity of the market in BYOD administration tools should solve any nagging problems – so it's up to IT managers to sort it out.

So people shell out loads of money to Gartner and the best they can say is it should be okay.

For the price they charge I'd want a cast iron guarantee it "WILL SOLVE ANY NAGGING PROBLEMS" apologies for shouting!

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"What happens if you buy a device for an employee and they leave the job a month later?"

Then you give it to their replacement as has happened everywhere for years. Duh

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Anonymous Coward

Free voice and data

Should be fun after a few years and I have a 3-4 cell phones laying around with active cell and data plans on them because some dimwit forgot to cancel the plan with the carrier. True story.

Bring on BYOD.

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Long tradition of bring your own tools...

This is justing going back to the tradition in many trades of needing to supply your own tools. Typically, auto mechanics, contractors and repair men all have a significant investment in small tools--and the shop only supplies the big tools or fixed-mounted ones. It's really just a way for the employer to save money.

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Re: Long tradition of bring your own tools...

Contractors, yes, employees, not so much.

And the client never gets to "manage" your tools.

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IMO, BYOD == Break Your Own Defences ... However, that said ...

... let us explore this a trifle.

Where I come from, if you are required to bring personal tools to a job-site, you are a "contractor", not an "employee".

Here in the US, that changes your tax status from "W-4" to "10-99". In the former, the employer handles all the accounting for taxes, insurance, FICA, etc. In the later, YOU handle all that paperwork, and the employer hands you a check for your flat-rate.

Contractors typically receive 5+ times the pre-tax take-home pay of an employee, in order to cover the overhead of managing the tools, paperwork, etc. involved.

So a simple programmer, making US$50,000/year, costing the company probably close to US$100,000/year, instantly becomes a quarter million dollar+/yr bit of overhead.

This is cost effective?

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Re: IMO, BYOD == Break Your Own Defences ... However, that said ...

A 5x difference in pay is on the high side for a contractor working on a long term contract. 2.5x-3.5x is more typical even for shorter term contracts.

Employees may be required to bring their own tools to a job depending on the tradition of the industry, but independent contractors MUST bring the greater percentage of tools used on a job. There are a list of items that the US Internal Revenue Service uses to determine whether a person should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor. The real bitch is that there is no absolute score. The IRS can be completely random in their decisions. However, whom is providing tools is generally considered a major factor. Another large factor is which entity determines how the work is to be done. A contractor is usually just given a goal to achieve, but can't be told how to get there. Contractors also set their own work schedule.

Companies have to be exceptionally careful in classifying somebody as an independent contractor. If the IRS performs an audit and classifies a worker as an employee, the company will likely be fined and required to pay all employment taxes retroactive to the date the worker began regardless of any taxes the worker has paid. The worker not paying taxes as required may trigger such an audit.

As a former business owner, I would rather provide tools to employees so I can be sure that the proper tools are being used. I can also replace employees without having to find an applicant that has all of the tools required to do the job. Computers are not expensive and amortized over a couple of years life, they are a minimal expense. If I own the computers, I can make sure that they are used for company business, have properly licensed software on them and applications are of the same version. If somebody wanted to bring their own chair, I'd be happy to let them. If they wanted to bring their own computer, I would probably say no.

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SYOD - Surrender Your Own Device

Not paranoid enough, are we? Do not assume that mandatory BYOD means the devices you pay for, keep when you leave, take to another job, etc., and the DATA on them will remain your own.

I suspect that one intent is to spread the employers' IP tentacles to the stuff previously known as personal, and to invade the employee's private space for other purposes. That would apply even to "BYOD by choice", not just "by policy". Every employment contract contains clauses saying that everything created using company resources belongs to the company. My nasty suspicious mind thinks that in the Dilbert Future one should never connect a personal device that contains one's next big startup idea (this is just an example) to a corporate network, since BYOD - mandatory or not - will blur the boundaries, and contracts will likely reflect the situation in so many subtle ways. I have no doubt that personal devices that use company resources (e.g., network) for work or any other reason will eventually be included in the scope in articulate legalese.

Even today the only personal device I bring to work is a phone. I never connect it to the company's WiFi or to the company laptop's USB port (even though I installed the OS and the VMs myself and IT don't have passwords or accounts on it). Sure as hell I am not going to start tomorrow.

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