Workplace rights: Bringing your own device

Employees are increasingly using their own smartphones, laptops and tablets for work purposes, rather than the company's hardware. But what are the legal pitfalls?

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Businesses may regard this as a good thing, as it reduces their technology and maintenance costs while arguably boosting staff efficiency. But before allowing a 'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) regime, it is advisable to implement a formal policy addressing information security issues. It may also be necessary to install software that will remotely wipe company data if the device is lost or stolen, or the employee leaves the organisation.

Another matter to cover in the policy is the ownership of information stored on iPads and the like. It should be specified that documents and other materials created or used for work purposes constitute the employer's intellectual property.

Finally, employers should consider how IT monitoring will be affected by BYOD. Companies normally monitor their own systems, but this is more difficult if employees are using and accessing information from their own equipment. Clearly, there are potential advantages for employers, but it pays to think carefully before leaving staff to their own devices.


Michael Burd and James Davies, Lewis Silkin LLP solicitors, email:

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