September 04, 2012, 12:29 PM —
Last week the White House, along with the Digital Services Advisory Group and the Federal Chief Information Officers Council, released a toolkit to help guide federal agencies considering implementing BYOD programs. As our colleagues at CITEworld describe, the toolkit offers case studies, sample policies and a general rundown of the issues involved with BOYD so federal agencies can make informed decisions about whether and how to implement such a program. It’s an excellent resource, not just for government agencies, but for any organization considering BYOD.
As the Federal Times points out, however, there’s one potentially significant aspect of the guidelines that could easily be missed: the potential mandatory employee participation in BYOD. Agencies aren’t mandated to implement BYOD, nor if they do implement it, to make it mandatory within their organization. The guidelines simply say to, “Consider voluntary vs. mandatory participation in BYOD program and impact on terms of service.”
This, of course, raise the specter of requiring workers to participate in BYOD. No government agencies currently require it, though there is precedent in the private sector. In these days of budget cutting and deficits it’s not hard to imagine a time when government workers would be required to provide their own devices. The new guidelines encourage agencies to at least consider it.
What would mandatory BYOD (in government agencies or elsewhere) mean for employees? I’ve written recently about the downsides to BYOD from the employee’s perspective, and those issues would all apply in this case. However, they take on a whole new meaning if employees have no choice but to BYOD.