What Does BYOD Mean?

This acronym is often used in workplace settings

BYOD is an acronym you might see used at your current workplace or from a potential new employer. Here's what it means.

BYOD stands for:

Bring Your Own Device

How BYOD Is Used

BYOD is used in company/organization employment programs or policies to describe the use of personal electronic devices by employees. Instead of supplying devices like smartphones (as well as laptop computers and tablets) to employees, organizations might require them to use their own at work.

Traditionally, organizations would supply devices to their employees. These days, the growing trend in mobile work and the greater likelihood that people already own and carry personal devices with them has led to more BYOD policies and programs being put in place. Some organizations offer both options, allowing employees to choose between BYOD or supplied devices.

Despite the growing trend in BYOD policies and programs, the risks are not always worth it for some organizations. Check out some of the main benefits and drawbacks below for putting BYOD policies and programs in place.

An image graphic of a computer with "BYOD" text on the screen.

Benefits to BYOD Policies and Programs

The benefits of a BYOD policy or program include:

  • Not having to invest in new equipment for each employee
  • Not typically having to pay for maintenance, repairs or replacements because employees are responsible for their own devices
  • Enhanced employee satisfaction and productivity with use of their preferred devices and software programs
  • Greater flexibility for employees to work at home or on the road

Drawbacks to BYOD Policies and Programs

The drawbacks to letting employees use their own devices include:

  • Security risks from personal devices that aren't using the appropriate anti-virus software, firewall or password-protected WiFi connection
  • Security risks from personal devices being lost or stolen
  • Employee expectations to be compensated for device use at work—such as having organizations cover the fees associated with mobile data plans
  • Incompatibility among specific software programs or other technological products/services

Despite the benefits of BYOD, many organizations are not willing to risk putting the security of their data and information at risk. And although it remains a popular trend, a 2018 study from Samsung and Oxford Economics says that the cost savings associated with BYOD policies and programs are not very significant in the long run.

Other Interpretations of BYOD

BYOD as Bring Your Own Device appears to be the most popular interpretation of this acronym, but since it's belongs to the general BYO- expression (with any letter tacked onto the end to represent almost any word at all), there are lots of different ways that this acronym could be interpreted. These include:

  • Bring Your Own Drink
  • Bring Your Own Data
  • Bring Your Own Disc
  • Bring Your Own Dessert
  • Bring Your Own Dice
  • Bring Your Own Deck (of cards)

The above interpretations of BYOD are typically used in casual conversation—especially those involving invitations to events or social gatherings. Any time BYOD is used in a professional workplace setting, it should most likely be interpreted as Bring Your Own Device.