What is a BYOD policy?
BYOD policies specify when and how an employee can use their personal devices for work purposes. Every company should have some kind of BYOD policy in place. The question to address is whether this policy will allow or disallow the use of personal devices for professional use.
If your BYOD policy allows the use of personal devices, you must outline security protocols, approved uses, approved devices, monitoring protocol and other aspects of appropriate BYOD use.
Benefits of creating a BYOD policy
These are the benefits for using a BYOD program or BYOD policy:
Benefits for using a BYOD program
There are many benefits to implementing a BYOD program in your workplace, including:
- Lower technology costs: When you use a BYOD plan, you no longer have to provide mobile devices like smartphones and laptops to your employees. This will reduce your technology expenses significantly.
- Increased employee satisfaction: Employees often find it’s easier and more pleasant to use their own devices that they’re familiar with. This gives each individual the autonomy to choose the device they’re most comfortable with.
- Higher productivity: Employees know how to use their personal devices efficiently, so employers no longer need to organize training sessions and work through a learning curve to familiarize new hires with their devices.
- More flexibility for remote work: Employees using their own laptops, tablets or smartphones for work will have access to that work both in the office and at home, streamlining opportunities for telecommuting.
Benefits for using a BYOD policy without a BYOD program
If your business elects not to use a BYOD program, it’s still important to have a BYOD policy in place that lets employees know they are not to use their personal devices for work. Unauthorized use of a personal smartphone or laptop for sensitive professional documents could compromise valuable data. There are some benefits to choosing not to allow personal devices for work, such as:
- Greater control: When you issue professional devices exclusively for work purposes, you have more control over the security and use of the device.
- Easier data retrieval: You can easily retrieve company data if an employee leaves when they turn their company-owned device back to you.
- Fewer distractions: You can change the settings on company-owned electronics to block distracting applications and websites.
- Simplified IT management: Providing all employees with standard devices makes it easier for the IT team to master the use and management of these models.
How to establish a BYOD policy
Evaluate whether a bring your own device program is appropriate for your team. If you decide to implement a BYOD policy that allows personal devices, follow these steps to implement it.
1. Outline appropriate uses
Specify when and how employees can use their devices. List which programs they can use to access and work on company documents. Detail any programs or uses that are not permitted in the office.
2. Detail acceptable devices
State which devices are permitted for BYOD use. Perhaps you will allow personal smartphone use but require employees to work on company computers. You could also give the option of using their own device but provide company-owned technology if they prefer it. Outline which operating systems and device models are compatible with the programs and apps that you require employees to work with.
3. Set up a cybersecurity program
Host training sessions that explain how employees need to manage security on their personal devices. Detail what security programs and measures are in place to protect company data. Make sure employee data is protected as well. Only use apps that will not access or save employees’ personal data.
4. Discuss cybersecurity insurance with your provider
Your insurance provider may require documentation regarding your BYOD policy. This should specify how company data is protected and your plan for recovering company information from a personal device should the individual leave the company.
5. Implement monitoring
Detail your system for monitoring employees’ devices. You should regularly evaluate security compliance, data use and your policy’s effectiveness. Consider doing this alongside employee evaluations.
Tips to optimize your BYOD policy
Make your BYOD policy as effective as possible with these tips.
- Have stakeholders review your BYOD policy before implementing it to ensure they approve.
- Review the policy with your accounting department to make sure it makes sense financially.
- Check that your network can accommodate the bandwidth needs of personal devices and upgrade as needed.
- Create a process for remotely wiping company apps to remove business data from personal devices if an employee leaves before going through an exit interview.
- Keep all business and personal tasks separate by using specified apps for professional tasks that do not overlap with any personal uses.
- Consider if you want to reimburse your employees if they use devices for business correspondence.
Here are two commonly asked questions and answers about BYOD policies:
When should I implement BYOD policies?
It’s best to implement a BYOD policy as early as possible when starting a business to regulate all use of personal devices within the company. Establish a clear policy for permitted BYOD use before you begin allowing employees to conduct business or access company data using their own devices.
Who implements a BYOD policy?
IT managers usually develop and maintain BYOD policies. They should consult with other managers, stakeholders and professionals throughout the development process. It’s particularly important to explore the functionality of chosen apps with department heads.