Considering a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy? It’s not as simple as just allowing employees to use their own device for work. There are many considerations before ditching the office technology for a BYOD policy.
It makes sense why so many companies are opting for a BYOD policy. For the employer, the idea of not having to constantly provide devices to their employees can be quite attractive. Technology is expensive, and keeping an entire office supplied with the necessary equipment can wreck a tight budget. Many, if not most, employees have a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop, often a combination there of.
There is also a big draw for employees under a BYOD policy. People like their devices they’re comfortable with. I can barely type a sentence when I’m on a new keyboard and I can operate my iPhone while blindfolded. Being able to seamlessly go from home to work with familiar devices is definitely a bonus.
There are, however, a few potential pitfalls that employers and employees should be aware of before implementing a BYOD policy. It’s no secret that a company’s data should be, well, secret. Client lists, expense reports, directions to the company picnic, and other vital information are often shared on emails. This information is then stored on devices such as a smart phone.
Under a BYOD system, that information goes where ever the device goes. It’s not too hard to imagine a scenario where an employee is playing Atomic Fruit Birds Mania and sets their phone down at a busy restaurant and is forgotten over an order of fries. In a flash, that phone is in the hands of anyone. The Atomic Fruit Birds, and your company’s secrets are now compromised.
For an employee, using your own devices for company business may be convenient, but it may not be the best practice for your personal data. For instance, say that instead of losing the smart phone while getting an order of fries, you put it in a backpack then forgot about it. During the panic of a perceived lost phone, you remember the client list you were sent the previous day at work. There is an implied obligation to inform the employer of this because of the potential breach of sensitive data. The employer may decide that the potential damage of a breach warrants a wipe of the phone, which is something many companies set up when they allow BYOD. In an instance, hundreds of pictures, apps, and documents are gone. Think of the moment when you unload your backpack and find your phone, freshly wiped of everything important, and you never made a backup.
There are many aspects to consider with a BYOD system beyond the examples above. For instance, does the employer pay a portion of the airtime and data usage charges? Is the employee’s personal data private? Should the employer install specific software on the device? Will office devices be available for those who do not wish to opt into a BYOD system? All of these questions are important to consider when developing a working BYOD policy.
While the BYOD model is becoming more popular and does have its advantages. It’s a practice that should not be dismissed if it feels right for your company. Much like when crafting an internet policy, taking time to discuss the concerns and benefits before crafting a policy is an absolute must.