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Put Your Own Tech Devices to Work at the Office

Be sure to safeguard your data if you use your cell phone or computer for the boss.


Gadget lovers no longer need to distinguish between business and pleasure. Many offices are adopting a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy, encouraging workers to use the mobile electronics they already own (cell phones, tablets and laptops) for business tasks, whether users are on the go or in their cubicles. Technology research firm Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of employers worldwide will require employees to supply their own mobile devices.

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It may sound like an imposition on employees, and reimbursement policies differ. But many workers prefer using tools they personally selected rather than corporate-issued ones. Bosses like BYOD because it can save money and boost productivity by skipping the learning curve required to master a new device. Before you plug into the trend, ask about restrictions (such as tampering with the operating system or using cloud software) and rules for securing company data. Be aware that you risk losing personal photos and files if you leave the job. The National Workrights Institute says the most common complaint they receive is from employees whose phones have been wiped remotely. Mitigate risks by clarifying how much control you’re giving up and by backing up data frequently.