I believe that some of you may have allowed remote working in your organization to help maximize productivity and minimize the cost of doing business. Yet, some of you may be worried about the challenges that your BYOD crowd brings – from viruses, risk of data loss and other security nightmares that you can only imagine. In an era where information resides on the cloud for everyone to easily access, having this flexibility may come at the high price of compromising the privacy of your company’s sensitive data. If your employees work from mobile devices, the risk is two times higher. How can you define that blurred line between work and personal computing in a way that’s mutually beneficial for both parties?
BYOD Policy: Do You Really Need One?
From social media, cloud computing, mobile, to virtualization of all types – we hear how small business owners face more issues with each new technology created. Now, with the Bring-Your-Own-Device (or BYOD) movement, we’ve added more headaches to help desk as people ask for more support in accessing emails, databases and other valuable data from remote location… all in the name of productivity. While empowering your employees to use their own devices to find solutions to your business needs may be great, having a policy can strengthen that trust factor through awareness and proper implementation. As they say, with freedom and power comes responsibility.
Creating a Robust BYOD Policy for Your Business
To start, I’d say it’s not an easy job to write policies.. no matter what they are for. Thanks to BYOD policy templates like those from White House BYOD Toolkit and IT Manager, you now have a guide to creating your own. While it’s tempting to just copy it all, know that no two businesses are alike. You still need to customize that policy to fit in with your current needs. Make sure that you tailor your policy to your business code and ethics. It helps to keep these pointers in mind too:
1. Define what devices will be supported and what the network requirements are.
2. Define user, corporate and IT responsibilities – including monitoring of usage and right to privacy
3. Create a simple, clear and consistent policy that will cover all servers and technologies used
4. Make sure to clearly define who owns the data or application on a device – from resetting a device to data deletion
5. Check on what you’re all currently using to help you set up usage and sharing guidelines
6. Use complex passwords, PINs and data encryption to add more security
7. Restrict apps and choose them wisely before allowing your people to use it
8. Manage wisely – from having a help desk to assist your employees to management software that keep tabs of data flow
9. Define the consequences of policy violation (which can include job termination)
10. Educate your employees at all times and implement effectively
The whole point of having a BYOD policy is to protect your rights, as well as those of your employees. The last thing you want is to restrict them to the point that working remotely feels more miserable than having to show up in the office. Clarity and consistency are the keys to your policy’s success. Good Luck!
… and a Happy Thanksgiving from us all! -Shaleen