Posted by: Renodis
Most of us have already heard about BYOD or “Bring Your Own Device” and know what it means, but it is the “why you should care part” that some people struggle with. Isn’t it just another phone accessing my corporate email and applications?
In this blog, we’ll get back to the basics and explain why it’s important to know about – because dismissing the BYOD phenomenon may be done at your own peril.
BYOD: What Is It?
The acronym BYOD stands for “Bring Your Own Device”. In this environment an employee comes to the company with their own phone. On the surface this is nice. Your organization does not need to provide them with a device to communicate, access email, access corporate applications, receive text messages etc. So, yes, on the outside this looks like it may be a winner. The reality can be different when you take into account the security and policy measures you need to take to make sure your mobile ecosystem stays secured and policies are followed.
BYOD: Why You Should Care
The positives of allowing your employees to bring their own devices is appealing: no equipment cost for the company, small stipend to help pay for the phone plan, what’s not to love? A lot (this is the part where you start to care). Here are some questions you should ask yourself.
What about support for the device? Is your support desk ready for the extra calls that may not be related to your corporate information? The support requests might come in as, “The corporate application is not working!” only to debug and find out that it is due to some game that was downloaded for their kids which caused a conflict with that application. It is a personal device right. So now your support cost might go up.
What if this employee leaves the company with confidential information on their device? This could lead to loss of information, loss of clients, and legal ramification due to loss of data.
Will top talent work for me if all I have to offer for connectivity is a laptop or desktop? Yes this is a concern for top companies that want to attract the best and the brightest. Most students coming out of college today are well versed in the usage of their phone and will want to use it for all their communication needs. So do you cater to them and allow them to use their own phone or do you risk losing the talent by forcing them to carry two devices?
BYOD: What Else You Should Know
As you start to dig deeper into understanding the full picture of a BYOD environment, here are some things you need to pay attention to and get under control in your mobile ecosystem.
Establish a mobile governance team composed of HR, Legal, IT and any other stakeholders. Their job will be to create policies similar to employee code of conduct, but directed at mobile. Policy guidelines should include 1) what’s acceptable use and what is not 2) what rights you have to confidential information and how they will be put into effect in case of a layoff or resign.
Be aware of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act if you are planning to use a Mobile Device Management tool to manage your BYOD environment. Remember, texts are electronic communications so caution goes out to both sides: the user and the monitor of the managed BYOD’s.
Think about overtime implications. Recently, hourly workers have been bringing legal action when putting in more than 40 hours a week without overtime pay. Smartphones and other technology have allowed a bleed into personal time. Examples of this are replying to a corporate email here and there at 7 pm, 9pm 2am or reading a document that was sent out at 4pm around 8pm. This time adds up. Before smartphones and mobile devices, these types of items would not get addressed until the next work day.
BYOD: The Summary
The BYOD phenomenon is changing the Where, How and When workers do their jobs. It can provide a lot of good synergy on how your organization conducts business, but it also has the risk of leaving your organization open to legal challenges and cost overruns if not properly managed.