By Amanda Richter

Bring your own device (BYOD), using personal mobile devices at work instead of company-issued equipment, is moving into workplace training. More people want to access and receive workplace training on their own devices. But it’s a dual-edged sword, with security and legal concerns on one side and the need to gamify or socialize training to make it more appealing and more likely that employees will complete all training.

There are several options when it comes to using BYOD in workplace training. Full adoption of BYOD for training access supported by the company’s IT department, providing low-cost devices dedicated to training access or a combination of BYOD for those with their own devices and issuing devices for those without their own to ensure equal and consistent access to training materials.

Additionally, technology to separate personal from work use on one device such as the BlackBerry Enterprise allows users and IT departments to easily access training and manage security. It also gives employees a higher level of comfort, as they can learn easier on a device they already know how to navigate. This service is a nice way to ease into training, as it doesn’t force either side to compromise on what they want and need.

Full BYOD for Training

The range of operating systems and devices accessing the company network for BYOD for training makes IT support essential. IT must manage which devices are accessing its networks, document logins and access assignments, provide support for devices, prepare networks for additional bandwidth for BYOD and develop and manage a security framework.

If it has only supported one type of company-issued device, IT will need to train on how to manage BYOD. These all represent additional costs for implementation and maintenance of a BYOD environment, but the alternative is security and legal risk. Costs to implement may be offset by realizing training cost efficiencies and a better trained workforce.

Concerns about BYOD

While BYOD is a growing trend, whether it’s supported at work or not, and it causes a variety of issues. IT and management concerns about BYOD include policy and enforcement for BYOD rules, how BYOD will impact network security and performance, data protection procedures and management of diverse devices.

Moving from Employer-Issued to BYOD

Matthew Sakey of the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences encourages training managers to embrace BYOD rather than resist it because of security and maintenance concerns. He reminds them that employees are more comfortable with their own devices and have access to them on a much wider basis than corporate equipment. He says there’s a disconnect between formal policies about the corporation owning and supporting equipment and what today’s mobile technology users want to do. He recommends training accessed from the cloud with BYOD as being cost-effective because it’s more accessible and very productive at keeping everyone up to date on the latest training.

The Future of BYOD

BYOD isn’t going away. It’s a quickly developing practice, and it will only gain more traction as time goes on. Training managers should talk to attorneys to develop the proper documentation for BYOD in training. Sakey emphasizes documenting and communicating rules for BYOD in training so everyone understands and safeguards confidential data and information. He suggests a disclaimer for training managers to use with trainees in the BYOD environment. He says the disclaimer should inform trainees of security issues when using their own devices and what they need to know and do for device security and protection or the company isn’t responsible for what could happen if they don’t comply.