No one wants to be that person. You know the one. The “Three Phone Peter” who needs an extra briefcase to lug around the various devices they need every day. To avoid this excruciating burden, modern workplaces are rapidly evolving towards “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policies that conveniently allow employees to utilize their own personal smartphones and tablets both at work and home. But while BYOD has its benefits, allowing everyone to waltz into work with their own technology can pose significant challenges to cybersecurity. To honor World Password Day (May 2nd, 2019) here’s a quick guideline on the upsides and potential pitfalls of choosing to implement BYOD in your workplace.
Remember “Three Phone Pete”? With BYOD he’s now looking lean and clean and, along with everyone else in the office, happily using a device he’s familiar with and chose himself. This ease of use may even help boost productivity for the whole team. But the main upside now that your employees use their own devices is a drastic reduction in cost for your business. Initial capital investment and monthly spending can be significantly reduced when you don’t have to outfit and maintain a collection of work devices or pay for monthly data plans. On top of this, since you’re not responsible for tracking the physical whereabouts and usage of these devices, your administrative duties have been significantly reduced as well. So, is it time to kick your feet up and let everyone use whatever device floats their boat? Hold the phone.
Even though the advantages to BYOD are numerous, it’s inadvisable to just let loose without understanding the challenges you’ll face once you do so. First, with everyone in the office now using their own device, employees aren’t guaranteed to be using the same applications, operating systems, and software versions. Compatibility issues are sure to arise, and workflow may suffer without strict standards in place. Second, these types of problems are harder to control since you don’t own the devices and therefore can’t direct an IT team to fix these issues without contracts in place protecting them and yourself from liability. Lastly and most importantly, this lack of uniformity and control drastically increases your chances of falling victim to malware hacks and cybersecurity breaches.
Properly Managing BYOD
With these advantages and disadvantages in mind, the best way to stay safe and in sync when opening the door for BYOD is to have a clear-cut policy in place that lets employees know exactly how you expect them to handle this newfound freedom and what the consequences are for non-compliance. To make it completely clear, sit down and hammer out a tailor-made policy that is specific to the needs of your company and covers:
- What devices are authorized for use
- What constitutes acceptable use of said devices
- What security precautions must be undertaken
- The type of support employees can expect to receive
- What kind of reimbursement you will offer, if any
- Disclaimers, potential risks, and liability
With BYOD becoming more popular and convenient by the day, chances are you will have employees asking to use their own devices sooner rather than later. If you are concerned about keeping control while loosening the reigns on the types of devices your employees use, consider adding the support of a dedicated MSP. At Net Works we have the expertise to create a uniform policy that balances employee satisfaction with device management and cybersecurity. Contact us today.