Bring your own device, or BYOD, is a growing trend for businesses, but its popularity isn’t universal. Two-thirds of employees with smartphones and almost seven out of ten with tablets use them professionally. When it comes to smartphones, the most common device used in workplaces, more than 15 percent of workers use them without the knowledge of their IT department and more than 20 percent knowingly violate anti-BYOD policies. The best way to keep your firm’s data secure and reduce costs associated with buying company technology is to accept the trend and institute enterprise BYOD policies which consider the following principles.
Develop Clear Security Guidelines
Image via Flickr by M Lobo
Security is the number one concern that UK companies have about BYOD. However, since so many employees are already using their own devices, enterprise BYOD policies can actually mitigate security exams. For example, employers may decide to use enterprise services like those offered by BlackBerry, which create more secure mobile workplaces for people with BlackBerry BYOD devices and users of other platforms. They could ensure all staff members lock their mobile devices with a PIN, or restrict the installation of certain apps on devices used for company work. All these measures help make BYOD much safer and secure.
Institute Fair Use Regulations
It’s also important to develop fair use guidelines to ensure that employees use their personal devices and your company’s data allowance responsibly. For example, you might insist that employees don’t download large personal audio or video files during company time, as this will eat up your business’ bandwidth. You might also restrict personal web browsing or use of entertainment apps during business hours to enhance employee productivity.
Inform all Staff Members of Policies
Your BYOD policy will need to affect all members of staff, from your entry-level employees to upper management so it’s important that every person on your payroll is not just aware of the guidelines, but also abides by them. Put your enterprise BYOD policy in writing and distribute it in hard-copy form or digitally in emails to staff members. Make sure to include step-by-step information about configuring devices safely and other vital processes to ensure everyone can comply with the requests.
Many employees have privacy concerns surrounding BYOD policies. Around 82 percent are “concerned” or “extremely concerned” about employers tracking the websites they visit on their devices after working hours, and 86 percent worry that their employers might delete personal files like photographs or songs. These fears can also be assuaged in a BYOD policy, if approached and managed properly. You should be transparent about which data will and won’t be monitored, how the information gleaned from devices will be used, and which device settings may be automatically changed.
The BYOD policy should also contain the contact details of key members of the IT department who can answer any questions or concerns about the guidelines.
Give Employees the Right to Opt Out
Your enterprise BYOD policy won’t be enough to calm every employee’s privacy fears. After all, roughly three-quarters of employees don’t want their bosses to see what apps they’re installing or to track their location.
For many of these, the ability to use their preferred device for work will outweigh those concerns, but others would prefer to leave their smartphones and tablets for personal use only. Your BYOD policy should give employees all of the information they need to make an educated decision about their device use, and it should be well communicated to the employees that they can opt out of the company’s BYOD program if they’d prefer.
Work with Your IT Department
Your BYOD policy will have an impact on the way your company does business so you shouldn’t expect to implement it without a few teething problems. Your IT department will be vital during this transition period. Work closely with them to stay abreast of any issues that may arise during this transition so you can come up with the best solutions as a team. Few companies implement an ideal BYOD policy on the first attempt, so be prepared to adjust and adapt yours to best suit your workers and your business needs.
BYOD is the way of the future; implementing formal BYOD policies is the best way help your company benefit from this tech trend, in a safe and effective way.