Let’s start with the basics. BYOD stands for “bring your device”, meaning that you are going to bring your phone, laptop or tablet that you privately own to work.
Your employees have the laptops and phones they own for a reason. They have deliberately selected these items over the many options available today and invested their hard earned money for these particular phones and laptops. Of course, this makes them even more efficient in doing their work on these devices. Overall for you and your company, this added comfort for them can mean more productivity and happier employees.
A huge benefit to companies that allow employees to use their own devices is that they can shift the costs to the employee (and many of which are happy to do so). In some cases, the employer provides a small monthly reimbursement to cover part of the monthly service fee, and the employee provides the phone and covers the remainder of the service charge. This could save the company roughly $50-80 per user, giving the company a healthier bottom line.
But BYOD has a downside. There are serious issues to consider with implementing BYOD. Your business could lose most of the control over the IT hardware and how it is used. Company’s need to create and follow an acceptable use policy, which is approved by your company’s IT department.
Here are four easy steps to setting up your BYOD policy.
Specify What Devices Are Permitted
With the many choices of devices your employees can choose from, it’s important to decide exactly what you mean by BYOD. From iOS-based phones and IPads, to all the Microsoft and Android handhelds, you may need to determine what is acceptable and what is not. Make it clear to employees who are interested in BYOD which devices you will support in addition to whatever corporate-issued devices you continue to hand out.
Establish One Security Policy for all Devices
If your employees need or want to use their devices with your systems and apps, then they will also need a complex password. One password for their lock screens is good, but passwords to enter vital systems and programs from their phone is necessary as well. You need a strong, lengthy, complex password, (internal link to password blog) not just simple four-digit pin codes. Other more complex security systems can be used as an overlay security program that is much more capable of providing robust security protection. However, with this comes significant cost considerations and an IT provider that provide it.
Decide What Apps Will Be Allowed or Banned
This applies to any device that will connect to your environment, whether corporate or their personal devices. Primary considerations typically include applications for social media browsing, replacement email applications, and VPNs or other remote-access software. The question here is whether users can download, install and use application that presents security or legal risk on devices that have free access to your company’s documents. These are serious questions to address in your BYOD policy.
Set Up an Employee Exit Strategy
One thing that companies always forget about is what happens to with these devices after an employee leaves the company or BYOD program. How will you enforce the removal of e-mail access, data and other proprietary applications and documents? Having an exit checklist that involves items like performing a clean wipe of the BYOD-enabled device, with a clear strategy for backing up the user’s personal information and documents is a good first step.
Developing a BYOD policy can seem complicated and daunting, but BYOD’s inherent savings and employee productivity quickly pays for itself. Setting up a system so users know what the rules are making life easier on everybody. The convenience of BYOD is undeniable, and with a little work up front, it can make your company a more effective and happier workplace all while adding a little extra to your bottom-line.