More than likely, the majority of your staff all have smartphones and other mobile electronic devices that they use personally, and often use for their work. From meeting notes taken on a personal laptop to checking work email on a personal tablet, if these devices aren’t kept in check, sensitive business information gets passed around in a lot of uncontrolled places.
That’s why it is key for businesses to develop a thorough Bring Your Own Device policy. Most of the time, the goal isn’t to prevent users from using personal devices for work but to put protections in place so that sensitive data doesn’t get lost or stolen.
Whether this is more of a review for you or a complete introduction to the very idea, let’s dig into what is involved in a proper BYOD implementation, and what needs to be considered as a result.
Introducing Personally-Owned Devices to Business Processes
While we’ll touch on the pros and cons of a BYOD strategy a little later, we first wanted to address the many considerations that have to go into the adoption process itself.
Are You Prepared to Support the Different Devices Employees Will Bring?
Here’s the thing: chances are that your team members aren’t all loyal to the same mobile platform. Some people will be fans of the Android platform, while others will be loyal to Apple. In order to equitably offer the opportunity to use personal devices, you will need to be prepared to support the use of both platforms. Fortunately, most standard devices have the same (or similar) security features that you can push.
Are You Prepared to Secure All These Devices?
Likewise, you will also need the capability to keep these various devices secured so that your data is not left vulnerable as your team members use it. As these devices will be those that your employees own, you’ll need to come to an agreement with your team members that your business can remotely access and wipe any company data they contain if need be.
It’s not as impossible as it sounds. You can push domain policies to devices that are connected to your domain, so if you want to not allow some users to access their mail, or require that users have a certain degree of security set up on their device in order to access mail, you can do so.
Are You Prepared to Train Your Team Members to Properly Use Their Devices?
While it may seem odd to consider teaching your employees how to use a device they own, it is important to remember that there are certain processes that need to be followed in order to maintain productivity and security. Having them connect to a virtual private network (VPN), ensuring that their password habits are sufficient, and other such policies need to be reinforced amongst your team members.
Are You Prepared to Allow All Your Workers to Use Their Own Devices?
Finally, you need to make sure that all of your employees are given equal opportunity to use their personal devices for work purposes—including those that frequently work remotely.
What Are the Pros and Cons of BYOD?
There are a lot of ways that a Bring Your Own Device policy can benefit a business that uses it, although there are always drawbacks to everything… including BYOD. Let’s address some of these concerns, before reiterating its advantages.
- You can’t control how your employees use their devices, potentially putting your business’ data at risk. Never forget, the biggest risk to your data will be your team, so it is critical that you train them to recognize a phishing attack.
- Managing all of the different device types that a workforce might use can be challenging.
- Employees may not be enthusiastic about allowing their devices to be accessed and—to a point—controlled by their workplace.
Undergoing a risk assessment before implementing BYOD can help to identify and address concerns like these, protecting your business’ data from undue risk.
That being said, there are plenty of reasons that BYOD is a great strategy for businesses to use:
- Chances are, your employees are willing to invest more into a personal device than your business potentially could, meaning that they’re likely to own better, more effective equipment.
- Two words: cost savings. Any device you don’t have to purchase for your business will only save you money.
- Not only will your employees be more satisfied by working with a device that they own personally, but their familiarity with that device will also help them to use it more productively.
- If the time should come that an employee leaves your business, a properly implemented BYOD strategy will help to ensure that access to data and other resources is rescinded as necessary.
This doesn’t just include smartphones and tablets either. Laptops and other personal devices that connect to the Internet and can store data can all fall under this umbrella. It’s important to control your company’s data, and most users will understand that. At the same time, your employees will want to know that the device they paid for is still their property and that they still have their privacy. This is all information that you’ll want to lay out in your BYOD policy.
If you’re interested in learning more about taking advantage of a Bring Your Own Device policy, give us a call. We’re more than happy to discuss how we could help you put it into place. Find out more by calling 248.545.0800 today.