What Every Organization Needs to Know Before Implementing a BYOD Policy

What Every Organization Needs to Know Before Implementing a BYOD Policy

You may have heard the term BYOD thrown around in your office, or read it in business and technology blogs and articles – but what does it mean, and how does it apply to your organization?

Defining BYOD

"Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) is a policy that many organizations are embracing, which allows their employees to use their own smartphone and/or tablet devices in the workplace.

The Benefits of BYOD

For employees, BYOD means having the ability to connect to their company's corporate network on their personal phone, eliminating the need to juggle multiple devices. BYOD policies grant employees the comfort and freedom to operate on a familiar device, with the main goal of increasing productivity. Being the device owner, the employee also has more autonomy of the device services and settings as opposed to an office-issued device.

For employers, a BYOD policy means that they can 1) control mobile hardware costs, and 2) offer their employees increased convenience in the workplace. The use of personal phones and tablets offers companies large savings, eliminating the need to purchase high-priced devices in bulk. In addition, as the phones and tablets are owned and used on a day-to-day basis by employees for personal purposes as well, there is a perceived notion that they will take more care of their device, rather than if they could have it easily replaced by their IT departments.

The Drawbacks of BYOD

One of the biggest concerns for organizations that implement a BYOD policy is the safety and security of their data. With employees using their smartphones and tablets to access secure files and resources, the risk of losing the device, and the data ending up in the wrong hands, must be taken into consideration.

Lost business must also be considered when an employee is terminated or leaves the company. Because the employee was using their personal phone, there is a high chance that their personal number will not change when leaving the company; if their number does not change, they can still be reached by past-clients, who may follow them for further business transactions in their new position.

How to Make it Work

If you plan on implementing a BYOD policy in the workplace, consider the following factors to ensure the policy works well both for the employee and employer:

Review available service plans from each service provider: Have a set policy for what will and will not be covered for each employee based on their personal and professional use. This compliance will reduce overall cost for complete plan and device coverage.

IT Services: Be sure that your IT department has an understanding of each device being used, and the ability to troubleshoot when issues may arise regarding the use of applications in the workplace, setting up email profiles on the company's mobile network, and having control over passwords. IT should also have an up-to-date list of model numbers for each employee, with specific hardware and software capabilities for each, including whether or not a device can be remotely managed.

Password Protection: Consider having company information, applications, and email accounts password protected, to ensure that company-related data can only be accessed by an active, current employee. Passwords can be changed by the IT department, so if an employee is terminated they will no longer have access to their work emails, files, or resources.

Non-Disclosure Agreements: Consider implementing a BYOD-related non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or proprietary information agreement (PIA) to ensure that upon termination, the employee is restricted from the use and dissemination of client or corporate files or information, previously accessible via their device.

Have an Incident Resolution Plan in place: Review companies that have successfully adopted a BYOD policy, and list what they did right and wrong. Research common issues that arise within BYOD policies, and consider how your company would be prepared to handle a similar problem. Come up with an Incident Resolution or Action Plan to execute, if you face any similar issues.
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