The international wireless association that represents the wireless communications industry is officially recommending to employers to let workers "bring their own device to work." I put that in quotation marks because its actually the name of CTIA's formal campaign being pushed at this week's Enterprise & Application conference in San Diego.
So, do you agree? Should employers let their workers use their personal smartphones and tablets for work? Should employers provide the device, so it's strictly for business?
The issue comes with trade-offs.
Employers that let their workers use their own devices have the advantage of saving money. It's on the employee to pay for the device and the accompanying wireless contract. Some bosses may allow certain employees to expense their monthly wireless bills. At the very least, employees can write off their devices as an unpaid business expense.
From a morale standpoint, employers may face some grumbling from employees who don't want to foot the bill for what is at least partially a work tool. Then again, some are relieved to pick their own devices. I can't tell you how many people I know with a corporate Blackberry and a personal Android or iPhone.
Network security is also an issue. IT departments are often loathe to have company data living on a device that they don't ultimately control. For the worker, do you really want your employer to be able to wipe your phone clean in the name of protecting its own data? What if that data is co-mingled with your data?
AT&T is offering a new solution called Toggle, that basically partitions smartphones and tablets in two. Users can flip between work and personal life. So far, this is available only for Android phones. It may make it easier to keep your professional contacts, apps and e-mail separate from the personal. But, I'm not sure how this will appease IT departments who want to keep company data safe, encrypted and controlled remotely in case it gets lost or stolen.
What's your company policy—and what do you think of it?
Last updated: Oct 13, 2011
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio