Technology has transformed the modern workplace. Today, more people are working from home than ever before, and businesses are taking advantage of the fact they can now work with talent all over the country and beyond. To empower workforce mobility, reduce costs, and maximize productivity, many businesses have a policy for letting employees use their own devices for work.
Naturally, letting employees use their own smartphones, tablets, and laptops for work brings some risks. It also brings many opportunities, especially since people tend to work better when they’re using their own devices. A bring your own device (BYOD) policy serves to mitigate the risks by setting the standards employees must adhere to if they want to use their own devices for work. So what considerations go into an effective BYOD policy?
#1. Employee onboarding process
Providing a secure and automated onboarding process will increase adoption rates and simplify management. It also eliminates the risks of human error associated with the manual configuration of devices for wireless networks. BYOD onboarding solutions are typically web-based and self-service, allowing employees to set up their devices for work in a few minutes without requiring any input from administrators themselves.
#2. Clear explanation on data ownership
One of the challenges of implementing a BYOD policy is that it requires the careful balancing of risk mitigation and respect for employee privacy. If you get it wrong, you can either end up leaving your business open to unnecessary risk or infringing on the rights of your employees. All employees expect a reasonable degree of privacy, which is why every policy should include a formal reference to data ownership.
To simplify management, protect employee privacy, and reduce risk to the business, it’s wise to partition the device using mobile device management (MDM) software to keep work-related apps and data separate from personal files.
#3. Criteria for allowed apps and devices
BYOD doesn’t mean allowing people to bring any device to work. One of the most important elements in a policy is the criteria for allowed devices and applications. For the most part, this comes down to security, but it’s also important for support and management.
For example, if your IT department isn’t used to using iPhones or your applications only work on devices with Android, then you’ll probably want to exclude iPhones. It’s also important to prohibit the use of jailbroken devices, which have modified and potentially vulnerable firmware.
Restricting apps can be a laborious task, simply because there are millions of them. As such, it’s better to start with an industry blacklist that keeps track of apps that pose potential security threats.
#4. Remote wiping clause
Ever since mobile technologies became critical to business, security risks have grown exponentially. After all, every device is a potential entry point for hackers trying to get access to confidential business data. Since mobile devices are much more likely to get lost or stolen, they pose an especially serious threat. That’s why administrators need the means to revoke access rights immediately from lost or stolen devices.
However, if any business data is going to be stored on employee-owned devices, your BYOD policy will also need to include a remote wiping clause. To make clear your liabilities, you should also provide a disclaimer that protects your business from legal action should remote wiping accidentally delete employee-owned apps or data.
#5. A clear exit strategy
Last but not least, every BYOD policy needs a clear exit strategy for employees who have left the business or no longer want to be enrolled in the program. You’ll also need to make clear the methods you use to enforce the rules and the consequences for breaking them.
Remote wiping may also be carried out as part of an exit strategy, provided you make every reasonable effort to protect employee-owned data. Your policy should also clearly explain the procedure for leaving the program, which typically happens using the same platform as the one you use to onboard employees in the first place.
Wood Dragon IT offers a full range of services and solutions to help your business implement a comprehensive BYOD policy. Whether you need mobile device management tools, advanced threat prevention, or proactive managed IT services, we’ve got you covered. Call us today to find your solution.