BYOC: Would You Bring Your Own Computer to Work?



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I was part of an IT org. supporting comp. engineers in a computer company (anybody remember "Data General"?).  It was "the Good Old Days" when PC's were at a premium, and given only to Exec's and their secretaries - Excuse me "Assistants".  The people, like me, who had to keep them working and connected to the "intranet" had to share PC's in un-used cubicles until a new-hire moved in.... I bought a PC from the company itself just to prove it was needed to keep track of the others' problems and research solutions and up-to-date with threats, like viruses.

Bring a PC?  -Try doing your job having to Share one....



I'm an erstwhile big company IT architect.  K E Jeweler is correct.

Check your state employment laws.  Employers must provide employees wages, equipment, materials, and space to work.  In exchange employees must take (lawful) orders from employers about what work to do.

Use of personal equipment in the workplace may imply the worker is a consultant or contractor.  The work agreement changes under these conditions. Employers may deny certain pay and benefits (bonuses, healthcare) to workers who labor as non-employees.  Contractors and consultants are subject to contract law, not labor law, and lose many protections.

Second, large organizations that deal with significant information risk (banks, health care, insurance, credit cards, and other personal information subject to regulation) and military or defense companies absolutely ban personal equipment on site.  The chance of information walking out the door at night is too high, as is the importation of malware.   And its not just computers.  I've visited defense contractors who necessarily confiscate mobile phones and USB keys because of their cameras and data storage capabilities.

Last, when employers cannot get employees needed equipment -- of any kind -- they may have capital planning, cost control, or cash flow problems. You might want to consider looking for employment elsewhere if this problem lasts longer than a year.

Keep your stuff at home.  Keep the line between home and work very bright and clear.




The reality is this. Most of the work that general office people do is minimal. Run Outlook or Lotus Notes, work on a Word Document or Excel Spreadsheet, and have a browser open. Where I work, we have about 13 computers on a network, Laptops have a 4yr cycle and desktops a 5 year cycle. The desktops we have are P4 2.8ghz HT intels with 1 gig of ram running XP Pro. These computers really are fine for the tasks that they are intended. Being both the Local Executive Director and the Local IT person, I rarely spend time maintaining them. They run well all by themselves. Aside from the occasional drive by spyware/virus there isn't much maintainance needed. The one thing I will say is that in order to speed them up, I have gone through most of them after 2 or 3 years and nuked and paved. Most notice that the computers are much faster afterwards.

All that being said, I have been provided a laptop to use by our Coroporate offices and I often augment that laptop with a netbook at work running Linux. I find it invaluable to have. However there isn't anyone else in the office who has the expertise to maintain their own computer.

I think for the average company with a limited IT budget and people doing normal tasks BYOC is a bad idea. However for the companies that have a larger IT budget, and people with higher than average computer knowledge BYOC might be a good idea.



Give me an allowance, and let me roll my own.

Now, the obvious question, especially in an Corporate IT setting, is support.  There's no way you'll have corporate standard images with a plan like this.


s1r 70nk

For some companies I think bring your own pc would be great and for others it is just a bad idea. Not to mention all the trouble the IT department would have to go through to make sure everyone's pc worked on the network and keeping track of who has what, but allowing to much freedom can cause employees to not work effiencant enough.

I'm currently in college to become an I.T. professional, but I did an internship when I got out of high school at a long-term pharmacy. I was allowed to use my own laptop cause the company didn't have an extra for me. It was nice having my own tools and software to help fix problems. I agree with that if a company is to allow their employees to bring there own machine, the only one's to do it is the I.T. department.



I augmented my work computer with additional kit a while back (radeon 4670, 24" monitor since what was provided was driving me insane), and I'm thinking of building my own box (a mini-itx job with a 95W 1055T, 8GB, Radeon 6xxx) as well.  But, I am IT, so I can support my own box.  I know what software the organisation needs to have running (security, etc.) and I know what I need to get my work done happily.

I wouldn't want everyone with their own rig, unless they can support it themselves.  If my rig goes down, I bring it back up...I don't take it to the shop.

So, probably not a good idea for everyone.  But for your IT guys (not the wannabes, mind you, the folks that know their ****) it should be a no brainer.

There is just no way the organisation can keep me happy when it comes to buys in bulk a bunch of cookie cutter rigs to meet most needs, has a long replacement cycle (5 yrs...mine is 2), and anything outside of that is red tape.  So, I'll Build My Own Computer, thanks.  I guess that's why Intel and M$ can do it...techheads...

Further, with encrypted system drives, and encrypted messaging available (truecrypt, gnupg, etc.), I'm pretty secure on the privacy end.  Sure the organisation has a right to inspect and monitor traffic over its networks...go right ahead guys...hope you like gobbledy-gook.

I choose my own anti*, because the enterprise mcafee really bogs down the machine (probably be better with my own rig).

I just want to do my work, without frustration and hassle.  Building it, and supporting it myself will give me that.  But, it can potentially be a headache if the general population does it...



I've worked on both sides of IT, repairing hardware and fixing software, as well as helping teachers use tech in the classroom to teach students, (all of this on a campus where every student had a laptop, w/ over 2,000 students alone) the idea of every student being able to bring their own computer is a nightmare. Even the idea of letting all staff members bring their computer would be over the top. This may not be the situation to allow for BYOC.

But what about another situation, where say the line between work and home are a bit more fuzzy? A news reporter who works in the field? I would say they need a laptop, as a desk top might weigh them down. If news happens at 4am they are off, they work some from home, some from the office. That have a hankering for the occasional game, why not let them have a top of the line laptop where they pay the difference between what they need for work, and what they get.

In that situation IT can say you can only get this brand, this model, this OS, etc. but other than that it is up to you. Some places can offer more freedom, others less, it depends on the situation, I wouldn't mind my next job allowing me to pay for a nice graphics card to do a little gaming on my laptop when I am on the road. I guess we will see.



Watch productivity swan dive as everyone compares the size of their, erm, multimedia collections.



And what happens when you need support?  Are you just SOL because there are 40 different models, no spare parts, and you are running some strange Linux distro?  This would be a support nightmare.  Who replaces a stolen laptop?  What if the laptop falls and breaks at work?  At home?  At home while remoted it to work?  All of these questions make too much grey space in terms of responsibility and support.


Would you really want your employee down for a week/month while their laptop with work information on it is at the Geek Squad?



How does a large IT firm manage all those devices?  You can't just say "keep your AV up to date" or "apply all your updates".  Most companies that would do this would require the purchase of Windows 7 Pro if domain access and management are equired.  If done right, companies could subsidize the purchase of a laptop every couple of years, but managing and depoying software would be a nightmare.

Of course, a lot of companies probably do this because users of the equipment beat the hell out of their machines and cause constant headaches to IT.  I'd rather not see this "BYOC" thing take off.  I'm sure there will be cheap-asses out there that will try to do Photoshop on a $300 netbook and then complain to IT.



I work in my firms IT department and I would not bring my own equipment to work, as my firm has it's owm modified Windows image. We have over 300 software applications that we support as well, plus we are on a 4 year upgrade cycle for laptops, and 5 for desktops. Our current equipment is 2 years old and newer than what I own. Since the ipad released, if given teh oppurtunity to bring their own equipment in, half the firm would bring in a Mac, and then wonder why that could not get any work done and blame IT because Apple does not have 10% of the applications that Windows does. That is a headache I do not need or want.



I agree 100%, macs are fine for basic browsing and the special applications that are made for it, but getting them networked with Windows environment can be very hard, let alone getting PC programs to work on them.



People at Intel and MS aren't working on a five year old PC running Windows XP. Hell-ooo, you're lucky if an MS admin doesn't quarantine your box while logged into the Redmond domain, considering all the fluff on people's machines these days. Nah, those who BYOC'd brought muscle, not sedatives, to compile their latest creations.

And my wife has the third-most powerful box in the house. It has quite a bit more horsepower than your smartphone.



i like how my desk has a P4 2.6MHz, and 1GB of DDR1 RAM with xp loaded with extraneous software i never use, but i work on my own pc so muhc, sometimes i have to bring it to work to finish. in my case its my tower PC, not a laptop or notebook, but a tower. i still use my work pc, but its just too slow, and if i need to install an app to test it on my main PC i take to work, i can see if it works when time permits.

just be smart  enough to unplug the porno drive and change the dsktop wallpaper to something neutral, and work does not complain about me - makes more of a conversation piece if anything.





That is exactly the same way I feel.

I want my Power and Privacy :)

Your solution would provide both



I would.

With the stipulation that my employer may monitor the traffic in and out but may not have access to my physical machine.

I think that's pretty fair.



The computers provided by my corporate company at work are 5+ years old and are running software that is debilitating to it. With only 512 MB of RAM and a processor that would make anyone at MPC cringe, I constantly hear from coworkers that their computer takes minutes to close a program or 15 minutes just to start up.


Part of the problem is the hardware, part of the problem is the programs that is required to run in a corporate/any business environment, and part of the problem is people that just plain don't understand you can't have 20 IE windows open with 30 emails, a messenger program, and company software all at once.


That said I have been using my netbook since I started working with the company I'm at and I hook it into a monitor, mouse and keyboard. Like the article says, the netbook is much faster than the work computer and I love it. I think right now it really isn't the right time for companies to be spending money on capital that isn't absolutely necessary, and unless you cannot do your job sufficiently with your current computers then there really is no reason to not upgrade.


Steve Stone

Every year the company I work for reminds everyone that nothing done on the computer used for work can be considered private, it may be seized and searched by approved company personel, just like any personally owned items brought into the office, such as a briefcase, a cellphone or a suit pocket.  E-mail is not private, chat history is not private, files are not private. Every couple of weeks magic back door software combs the computer for questionable software and valid licenses and changes in hardware configuration, reporting findings to the mother ship.

No, I would not use a privately owned computer for corporate business use. 



I have both a desktop computer and a laptop, while I do not use my laptop that much I will not use it for work, we sell laptops at my work and provide hot spares for customers, which are the ones that we use when we need to use a laptop.

Its your works job to provide you with the correct equipment to work and I can see how everyone having a different laptop would be a problem, not just networking but hardwarewise too.

Who is responsible for accidents while at work? Who is responsible for paying repair/upgrade cost? What happends when the employee leaves the company?

Just a few questions to ask yourself.



It'd be tough bringing a 70 pound beast of a desktop in between home and office.



No I won't. My computer is my personal property.

Companies are supposed to supply you with the right equipments to work sufficiently.

Comment By KE Jeweler



if I get an increase in pay, for bringing an outside empolyee/partner (lappie mcportable..)

that saves corporate $ of buying software, cuz i got my own bootlegged version installed (just kidding?)


otherwise, it is nice having an old computers 'slowness' allows me to go make a coffee when it does its thing.  Used to be a 3D animator had lots of time to do D&D role playing and joint rolling, while the 'puter was buisy rendering.

nowdays renders are done either in ablink of an eye or they are passed on to another department (farm). companies are so tight assed about sucking the most out of an employees life juice, they expect you to multitask like a mofo!

 which makes your ass more static in general, causing health issues to crop up. there is a inverse correlation between the responsiveness of your system and your health. when your system is slow, it makes you move more, sometimes in the form of agressively waving your fist and pulling out your hair..

if I brought my lappi to work, it would be to play FPSs on it, while the work computer 'did its thing'....

another reason NOT to have your lappie acompany you to work, is that a potential condition will be created that your work will follow and acompany you into your /home personal realm....

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