With the Bank Holiday weekend fast approaching many Datonomy readers are likely to be taking some work home, checking into emails and looking at other work functions over the break.  And the chances are that you will be doing this on a personal device, such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop. As Datonomy readers are no doubt aware, working off your own personal device is an increasing trend known as ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD).  In September 2012, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, stated that iPads were in 94% of Fortune 500 companies, and tablets represent just one wavelength in the spectrum of technology infusing the workplace.

Along with the potential benefits of BYOD, such as working from your favourite coffee shop with a latte in hand, comes increased data protection and data security risks.  The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recently commissioned a survey that YouGov conducted in February this year which found, rather worryingly for the world of data protection, that fewer than 3 in 10 employees who use a personal device at work are provided with guidance on BYOD despite the prevalence of these devices in work environments.  However, the good news is that this risk can be managed, provided organisations have clear policies. 

Naturally, in pole position for championing a comprehensive BYOD strategy to avoid data protection breaches is the ICO, with its first piece of specific BYOD guidance, issued a couple of weeks ago. We assume that most Datonomy readers will be aware of the guidance already but Datonomy’s colleagues have been examining the guidance – you can see the full article on Olswang LLP’s website here.

From a quick straw poll of Datonomy’s European colleagues, it seems the UK is the first to provide specific guidance on this issue.  However, the issue is a hot topic around the globe –  Datonomy’s colleague Rob Bratby, Partner at Olswang Asia, recently spoke at Questex Asia’s BYOD and Mobile Security conference in Singapore on the subject (see the slides here).  And in a post on his Watching the Connectives blog, Rob strongly advocates a holistic approach to BYOD policies; going beyond the legal department – changes must be implemented by senior management, HR, IT services, and, crucially, all members of staff in order to be effective. 

Datonomy’s correspondents will continue to monitor any developments (on the BYOD landscape) with keen interest from their mobile devices, naturally!

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