RC: Could you outline the recent influx of mobile and personal devices used in the workplace? How is this trend blurring the line between work and home life?

Brennan: The ubiquity of mobile devices has started blurring the line between work and home. For example, International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that 175 million workers globally will bring their own smartphones to work by the end of 2014, and that number will reach 328 million by 2017. These activities create some risk for both organisations and individuals, as the norms that govern our personal and work lives do not always align. For example, when an employee communicates with friends and family via social networks and messaging apps using the same device that is used to access the employer’s proprietary information, there is a risk that the employee will use the device in ways that fail to meet work norms or expose the employer’s information to unnecessary risks. These actions create potential security incidents that can threaten an enterprise.

O’Reardon: The use of mobile devices that serve a dual function for business and personal use are nearly ubiquitous in the workplace. Using personal mobile devices at work has become so common that BYOD can no longer be treated as a mere trend. A recent Cisco study found that 90 percent of full-time American workers use their personal smartphones for work purposes. Use of BYOD has made 24/7 access to business communications virtually seamless but raises significant privacy considerations regarding the extent to which employers may control and access content on personal devices. The use of BYOD can also raise significant employment issues – especially in the non-exempt/hourly context. From a corporate standpoint, this highlights the importance of having clear, practical and defined rules and policies in place related to BYOD.

Jul-Sep 2014 Issue

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Poyner Spruill LLP