With the rise of remote work, businesses and users are rethinking company-issued devices for work-related purposes. A BYOD plan can reduce company expenses and give employees more flexibility to choose a device they are familiar with and prefer. According to a recent study, nearly 9 in 10 respondents prefer to select their work device. However, it is essential to understand the risks you and your users may encounter with BYOD and implement a plan to reduce the risk to company data and user privacy.
This blog will explore BYOD, what it is, how it works, and how you can formulate a seamless plan to implement your new BYOD business phone solution. We will also discuss choosing an exceptional communication partner for your business phone system.
What Is BYOD?
Bring your own device—BYOD—is a practice that allows users to use personal devices for business needs. Instead of investing in specialized equipment and handsets, users can download an app and use their existing device without issue. If you have used a mobile phone service that offers BYOD, you may already be familiar with the basics of the program.
What Are the Similarities and Differences Between BYOD Business and Mobile Phone Services?
Mobile phone carriers have allowed users to bring their own devices for some time. Users can use an existing device compatible with the carrier’s SIM card and frequency to send and receive calls, texts, and data. When you use BYOD with a business phone, the concept is similar, but there are some distinctions.
In most cases, you will still be using your device for personal and business use, unlike a mobile phone that you probably won’t use multiple carriers on. Typically BYOD for mobile carriers means buying an unlocked device or bringing an existing phone over to a new carrier.
When you use a BYOD business phone number, you install an app on your device to use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) for phone calls, texts, video meetings, and fax. Your device can still be used for personal applications and communication, but those calls made and received on the business phone app will have a different phone number and plan.
How Does a BYOD Business Phone Work?
Using a BYOD business phone is simple. Typically it involves the following five steps to get started:
- An administrator logs into a web-based dashboard and populates the new user’s information.
- The administrator adds the new user to their phone plan.
- The new user downloads the app for whichever compatible devices they wish to use for business, including tablets, computers, and mobile phones.
- The new user logs into the business phone app on their device.
- The new user can make and receive calls, fax, text, and video conference, on their applicable devices.
The process is similar to downloading a phone or messaging app like WhatsApp or Skype. It allows the user to use their phone for business and personal life without any additional costs or challenges to overcome. Business usage is charged to the business phone plan, and contacts and phone numbers are separated within the borders of the app, so there is little risk of unintentionally making calls on the business or private line. Coworker phone numbers will be saved and backed up in the app’s address list, so switching to a new device is simple. Administrators can manage users and phone numbers from the web dashboard.
What Are the Best Practices for Implementing a BYOD Business Phone?
Now that you know how to get started with BYOD, you can begin implementing your business phone plan. Allowing employees to bring their phones will enable them to use a device they are already familiar with while reducing costs associated with purchasing new handsets for your business. The following best practices will help you implement your BYOD plan seamlessly:
Make a Policy for the Business and Users
As with a device you purchase, a BYOD device should have a policy to protect users and business data from getting into the wrong hands. While apps do not interact without permission, your users may not be as tech-savvy as you or your IT professional.
Ensuring that users know using their devices for work purposes means exposing their device and business data to certain risks and requires responsibility and diligence on the user’s part. Let the users know you are using a fully vetted app that will not spy on them or risk their safety and privacy. For transparency, you can even provide technical details about the app and service they will use. Get the user’s full consent before asking them to install the app.
Lost Devices and Remote Wiping of Devices
When a user loses their device—whether stolen, destroyed, or lost—ideally, they have already enabled device tracking and the option to wipe the data remotely. While some users are reluctant to turn on tracking settings, you should encourage users to turn on their lost device feature and be able to wipe the data in the worst-case scenario. Include terms in your policy that give the user instructions when they lose their device and how the company will proceed to keep data from falling into the wrong hands.
If a user loses a device, ask them to report it to you or your IT professional immediately. If the user left their device somewhere, like in a ride share, they might be able to get it back with all the data intact. Ensure users take proper steps to secure their devices, such as a complex pin, password, or pattern.
The Federal Trade Commission suggests locking the device with a 6-digit passcode, downloading the latest security updates from the manufacturer, backing up the data, and enabling Apple or Android support to help get their device back without risking their personal and business information. In a worst-case scenario, the device may need to be wiped remotely, but your user or company cannot do it without the latest updates and the feature enabled.
Promote Securing Devices and Educate Users on Good Data Practices
Always promote the safe and responsible use of the device. Educate users on the risk of downloading software from unknown sources and lending their devices or credentials to third parties. Let them know that they may risk their privacy and the business’s data by taking risks.
Train users in data safety and refresh their knowledge annually with newsletters, quizzes, and courses from a trusted source to ensure they are up to date with the latest threats and scams. Remain consistent, and never assume that a user knows how to remain safe in a changing landscape of exploits and attacks.
Manage Access to the BYOD Business Phone App
When users are onboarded or introduced to your BYOD policy, ensure that they know their access to the business phone app may be restricted or removed if they violate a policy or their employment with the company is terminated. Create an exit strategy that allows your business to remove a user’s access to the app when necessary.
While most users will uninstall the app from their device and leave gracefully, you need to protect your business information from users with malicious intent by stopping them from accessing the app and any backups that could be misused after the user resigns. Your business phone app should allow an administrator to remove users’ permissions remotely when they leave the company.
Choosing a BYOD Business Phone Provider
When you have a BYOD plan to secure your business data and users’ privacy, you can select a phone provider that suits your needs. If you are a small business or startup looking for a cost-effective and flexible solution to allow your users to communicate seamlessly, look for the following qualities:
Ease of Use
An ideal BYOD phone solution will make it easy for you or an administrator to manage phone numbers, users, and devices. Look for a business phone service that allows you to add or remove users and phone numbers from a simple administrative portal. The portal will allow administrators to give permission to users and assign phone numbers and credentials. You can also use an administrator portal to revoke access when a device is lost or a user resigns.
A flexible BYOD business phone solution will help your business scale and add phone numbers, users, and devices without requiring on-site infrastructure or costly devices. While flexibility is typically inherent in a BYOD plan, ensure the service will work well with your small business, whether you have one user or 100. Pricing plans can also have a significant impact on your ability to scale.
The pricing should make sense for your organization when looking for an ideal BYOD business phone solution. While some platforms offer a one-size-fits-all pricing strategy, a tiered pricing plan will allow your service to scale as users, phone numbers, and devices are added to your business phone system.
As your business grows, you can upgrade your plan based on your preferred features, such as video conferencing, transcription, and call analytics. You only pay for the features you need and each user you add to the plan.
Start Your BYOD Plan With a Reliable Platform
This guide lets you know the best practices to transition to a BYOD business phone system. You have all the information you need to choose the right business phone platform to implement your BYOD solution.
Phone.com offers VoIP phone service, video conferencing, text, and fax from your preferred device. There is no need for costly on-site hardware or infrastructure, only an internet connection and a business phone plan.
We make it easy to implement your BYOD plan and maintain seamless communication between your team. You can manage users, phone numbers, and devices from a simple web portal. Our flexible plans offer cost-effective and scalable calling options backed by our 24/7 support. Sign up to collaborate with a BYOD business phone system from Phone.com.