You might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it already! The “Bring Your Own Device” phenomenon isn’t going anywhere!”
And while this is true, it goes further than that. It’s quite obvious that BYOD is here to stay, especially with the increased popularity and sales of smartphones and tablets. The benefits are apparent, and we hear them over and over again. But that doesn’t mean all businesses are doing it the right way. There are still concerns surrounding BYOD, but there’s a way to move past them.
A Quick Refresher
To be really clear on what we’re talking about, let’s define BYOD. BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. This trend allows employees to use their own personal devices, like smartphones, tablets and laptops, for work purposes. In many cases, this means tapping into the corporate network, applications and data – all from a personal device. Currently, 60% of organizations already have mobility policies in place to accommodate BYOD.
Advantages of BYOD include increased productivity, efficiency, job satisfaction, performance and lowered equipment costs. According to Forrester, 70% of employers reported their workers’ productivity increased thanks to BYOD. Awesome, right?
However, as is often the case with new technology trends, a major obstacle for BYOD adoption is security. IT naturally loses some control when BYOD is implemented, which can potentially increase risk. IT departments tend to fear viruses, data breaches, loss of devices and multiple other issues. But these risks can be addressed through a BYOD policy.
What’s more frightening is that employees are prone to using personal devices for work, even without permission and set BYOD policies. This is certainly risky, but employees are desperate to use technology they are familiar and comfortable with, even if it’s against the rules. So why not make rules that accommodate this need and address security concerns?
BYOD The Right Way
It’s more necessary than ever to create a specific BYOD policy for your business with defined rules and responsibilities. This shows your employees that they can customize how they work, but also demonstrates the importance of data security. So what types of things do you have to consider?
Make sure you know and define the purpose of the policy. What are your intentions? Cost savings? Increased productivity? Whatever the reason is, communicate it!
Training is important! While most users already know how to effectively use their devices, they might not know how to take the appropriate steps to ensure security. Establish the best practices of using personal devices for work, and train employees on data loss prevention, creating the most effective passwords, locking devices when they’re not in use, etc.
Do you want to limit the device options? This one is up to your business, but by specifying what types of devices employees can use, support and security become much easier. You should also track devices. Keep a list of which devices and users are permitted to access corporate information, and monitor their activity.
Decide whether or not your IT department services these personal devices. This adds more responsibility to the IT team and requires knowledge of all sorts of devices, but it also keeps things in-house.
With personal devices comes personal data. Make it clear who owns what! You must create expectations about having personal content on a device used for work, in case it’s lost or stolen and needs to be wiped. Additionally, decide whether or not corporate data can be stored on a device’s hard drive.
Decide and define how you will control user access to corporate information through devices. Will you establish which apps, programs, services and websites employees can use? Will you create levels of access within your environment? Whatever you decide, communicate it to your employees and stick to it.
What are the consequences? These are rules, so you need to decide how to address rule-breakers. Make sure employees know they will be held accountable for straying from the BYOD policy.
Have an exit strategy! You want to make sure that employees who leave the job don’t take your corporate data with them. Create a specific procedure, which might include removing their network access, wiping devices, etc.
BYOD addresses the rising need for employees to be mobile and more productive. They will appreciate the ability to customize how and where they work. With a BYOD policy, businesses will rest easier knowing there’s a level of transparency and specific rules to point to when employees have questions. By clearly communicating company BYOD policies, a business will build trust and good rapport with employees while ensuring that company information remains safe.