In the interconnected age, the line between personal/professional mobile use is gone. YouTube now syncs with your Gmail account, providing your search and viewing histories, amongst other information, to the general public. Looking at puppies on your lunch break? The whole world will know unless you manually clear it from your YT user history.
And with BYOD (bring your own device) just getting started, employees are now using the same devices for work as they are for pleasure. Last year, we interviewed Verivo Software CEO Steve Levy on this subject for AppBeat . “Technology now is enabling people to be more productive all the time,” he told us. “More and more people are mobile, making decisions away from their desk, and more and more decisions are being made by your customers—by other parties that aren’t in your offices.”
But is letting employees use personal laptops, smartphones and tablets a privilege or a penalty? When you send/receive email under a company-owned domain, they often have full rights to not only access your inbox, but to make a host of other changes as well; I once had a boss change my email signoff and give a co-worker access to my email account whilst I was on holiday. Email regulation should be addressed in individual company policies, so if that sounds invasive—and I felt it was at the time—take it as a lesson to do more than just skim your contract’s terms and conditions.
With BYOD growing so quickly, many companies’ legal frameworks haven’t caught up. SearchStorage.co.uk Bureau Chief Antony Adshead has said that the storage capacity of iPads, smartphones, et. al means that being available for work 24/7 via these devices also merges employees’ instant access to personal activity. His interview in full is well worth a read, concluding that unless your company has a comprehensive business case for why BYOD makes sense, you ought to avoid it altogether.
As technology outpaces legal evolvement, rarely have handsets included features that work to separate data into respective personal and professional categories. Blackberry 10 will change that. The now dated “CrackBerry” phase might make a comeback, as the new model’s many features include BlackBerry Balance. Balance allows you to host apps, email and documents based on their status as personal or professional data, separating the respective categories to offer completely separate experiences. ZDNet’s Matthew Miller says this could be key not only for smaller enterprise, but larger corporates as well:
”Boeing is a major company in the Seattle area and I know many people that are issued BlackBerry devices for this company, yet still carry a separate iPhone or Android device for their personal phone. BlackBerry 10 looks to finally allow these people to have a single device for both worlds.”
The Q10 handset won’t see US shelves until May, so predictions about how Balance will play out remain just that. But with UK retailers struggling to meet consumer demand—and a strong number of UK users switching platforms to become BlackBerry customers —it’s impossible to ignore what Thorston Heins and co. have done to not only meet consumer demand with apps, etc., but to exceed them by addressing a specific consumer need on behalf of business and employees alike. As a BYOD user, it’s much appreciated—and when my own contract is up, Balance may be enough for me to jump on the BlackBerry bandwagon.
This guest post has been kindly written by Lauren Maffeo.
Lauren Maffeo serves as Product Manager of AppBeat, a digital publication and newsletter offering exclusive news, events and interviews covering London’s mobile scene. She is a regular contributor to The Next Web and earned her MSc from The London School of Economics and Political Science.