BYOD? What’s that?

B Y O D. Have you heard the term yet? If there’s been one big acronym in the business world in 2012, it’s BYOD: Bring Your Own Device. After decades of telling users that their cell phones, computers, and other technology from home has no place in business, there has been a big turnaround. Businesses of all sizes are embracing the BYOD model as a way of increasing worker satisfaction and lowering IT costs.

This means that the next time you ask IT if you can get your work e-mail on your iPhone, they might actually say yes. On the other hand, say goodbye to that work-issued laptop; it may be a dog but at least it was there for you when you need it.

If you want to bring your own device to work, you should be aware that things may be a little different. First you will probably be required to do a bit more of your own maintenance, especially if you have a tablet or other device that IT isn’t familiar with. You will need to cooperate when something doesn’t work, rather than just handing it off the house geek to fix.

Your IT staff may put rules in place that you don’t like. If you are using a Microsoft device — even a Surface tablet — your IT department can put remote restrictions on whether or not you keep a password on your device, how long it can stay active until it locks, and all sorts of other little things that you’ve been taking for granted. This extra level of control is the cost you’ll pay for using a device that you like.

And, speaking of price, that’s the big factor for a worker. If you want to use your own device, you’ll be required to buy that device. You may have thought that budget Android tablet would be enough, but it may turn out that you’ll want that top-of-the line device with 4G LTE… and that cost comes out of your pocket. Some of it may be tax deductible, but you’ll have to consult with a tax professional on that.