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In today’s always-connected world, people frequently use personal electronic devices to complete work-related tasks, a phenomenon called “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD).

“Employees generally prefer the convenience of being able to use their own devices to work from any location, increasing efficiency, productivity and flexibility,” said Tina Loraas, the Taylor Associate Professor in the School of Accountancy at the Harbert College of Business. “In client-focused businesses, many view being responsive to clients 24/7/365 as the hallmark of good client service, and a competitive advantage.”

Despite these benefits, BYOD can also expose firms to data security risks. According to James Long, associate professor and the Atlanta Alumni Fellow in the School of Accountancy, “Personal electronic devices are often less-secure than corporate devices that are controlled and maintained by a firm’s IT department. Therefore, these devices may provide hackers and malware with an easier avenue of attack on corporate networks, potentially compromising a firm’s confidential data.”

To address this threat, firms have begun to adopt official BYOD policies which detail standards of behavior and security for employees who engage in BYOD. However, many employees fail to fully comply with these policies, rendering them ineffective. “One employee might be highly inclined to follow a company’s BYOD policies, while another might feel like compliance is burdensome and not worth the effort,” said Loraas. Read more about their research online