In the mobile age where the increase of remote workers is starting to become the norm, a new policy called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is taking hold.
The writing is on the wall pertaining to productivity. In a Forbes article, Intel reported in 2011 that the 17,000 employees who used their own device saw an uptick in nearly an hour of productivity throughout the day.
There are advantages to BYOD, mainly in reducing business costs, but with that freedom are the inherent risks when people are using their own smartphones.
It’s best to have a strong plan in place to best implement a BYOD policy smoothly, so here are some things to consider before switching.
Your BYOD policy should outline the personal devices that are allowed to complete work tasks, access and send sensitive information, and connect to the secure network. If smartphones are allowed, will they include Android and Apple? Or will you support more programs?
Also, if an employee predominantly uses a laptop tablet, should that be allowed too? You must be crystal clear when telling your employees which devices are compatible and which aren’t eligible to avoid confusion.
The inherent risks talked about earlier primarily revolve around security. If your law firm or therapy practice has a BYOD policy, there will likely be highly sensitive and possibly confidential information being passed throughout the devices.
Your policy has to have security safeguards for each device and your network. Also, if you’re in the medical sector, you need to check with your network and VoIP provider to see whether BYOD is HIPAA compliant.
This pertains both to the company’s side and to your employees’ devices. Lock screens, passwords, and, perhaps in some cases, multi-factor identification are crucial.
Employees may think of this as a needless burden, and that their 1111 password is all they need, but there must be safeguards against unauthorized users gaining access to sensitive data.
Having this policy, as well as VPNs and encryption in place and having good device conduct be clearly communicated to employees is a great method to reduce risk.
What to do when employees leave
People move on from jobs, either from being let go or simply finding something new. Your company has to have an exit strategy for employees in order to clear their devices and reset passwords.
You’ll need to spend time in your policy dealing with this, especially for small companies that are fighting for their survival. Employees have to agree to have their company data removed as well as the pertaining apps upon their departure.
There are pluses and minuses for whether you plan to implement BYOD or not. But as long as you’ve got a clear and well-communicated policy, you’re doing a lot of work on the back end to ensure the risks are as low as possible.
And, according to Microsoft, with nearly 67% of employees reporting that they use their personal devices at work, you’re going to need a policy whether you like it or not.