How Mobile Business Solutions and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Trends are Changing Business as We Know It
As mobile usage increases in the workplace, companies are having to navigate all kinds of murky waters to determine the best policies for their companies and employees. Bring your own device policies are flourishing for obvious reasons. They are a low-cost investment for the company, convenient for employees, and – as many executives argue – the obvious choice for making the mobile transition. By allowing employees to use the devices they are most comfortable with, many industry leaders argue that you are encouraging efficiency and contributing to higher productivity rates.
While improved productivity is certainly a benefit of BYOD and mobile business solutions, many employers are still conscious of the risks associated with BYOD, particularly in terms of security, data privacy, data segregation and device management. In fact, according to a survey performed by research firm Ovum, more than 84% of employees cited data privacy as one of the most important concerns regarding the use of their own mobile devices for business-related activities. This is an important finding given that 70% of employees are using their own mobile devices in some capacity in the workplace. Safeguarding both personal data and business-related information, therefore, should be a top concern for businesses allowing employees to bring their own devices.
Creating Effective BYOD Policies for You and Your Employees
Before you jump on the mobile bandwagon, it’s smart to create a plan (and subsequent policies) to address concerns such as privacy, productivity, and approved mobile usage in the workplace. By creating BYOD policies that your employees must adhere to, you are not only protecting your company and its data, but you are also protecting your employees from putting their own data at risk. Here are a few tips to help you create your own BYOD policies:
1. Determine your end-goals for implementing a BYOD policy. Why has your business chosen to allow employees to use their personal devices for business purposes? What are you hoping to accomplish through the implementation of BYOD? Understanding your reasons for implementing a BYOD policy can help you create a more effective and beneficial policy for everyone involved.
2. Analyze existing business policies and regulations to ensure BYOD is compatible. If implementing a BYOD policy is going to disrupt your current policies, it may not be the best move for your company. For example, if your company is operating in a highly regulated sector, the use of personal devices may not be appropriate.
3. Keep the end-user in mind. Who in your company will be utilizing these policies the most? What will they require in order to remain productive? Will your users be on the road or office-based? Will they require access to privileged information? Determining what your users will need before they need it is key. Put yourself in the end-user’s shoes and identify the areas your BYOD policy needs to address.
4. Establish security measures. How can you protect business information stored on personal devices from fraud or theft? What if the employee leaves the employ of your company? These are important questions that need to be addressed in your BYOD policy. Work with legal counsel to determine how to best address these situations, and make sure your employees are aware of any changes you make.
5. Identify ownership. How is your company going to handle ownership of mobile devices? Most of the time, it comes down to who paid for the device. However, when dealing with a device that is used for both personal and business use, the answer can be more complex. Determine how you want to handle ownership and create clear policies regarding software use and rights.
6. Determine if you will restrict any activities or programs during work hours. Will you allow your employees to have access to personal social media accounts? Set clear social media expectations in your BYOD policy.
A well-organized, clear and consistent BYOD policy can help alleviate the challenges associated with the use of personal devices in the workplace. By establishing clear expectations and procedures, you are providing your employees with the tools they need to succeed in the workplace. Before you implement a BYOD policy, however, we urge you to talk to your technology consultant about the security measures your company needs to take. A clear and concise policy will do wonders for the success of your BYOD campaign; however, without the proper security in place, you could put your business data (and employee’s data) at risk.
If you’d like to further explore what BYOD can do for your company or if you have any questions about our mobile business solution offerings, contact us today.