Bring Your Device abridged as (BYOD) is an IT consumerization trend in which individuals in an organization use their computing devices, e.g., smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc., for school-related or work-related tasks. There are four access levels or options to BYOD they include; Unlimited access to personal devices, access only to non-sensitive systems and data, access but with IT control over personal devices, stored data and application, and lastly, access but preventing local storage of data on personal devices.
What is BYOD Policy?
Any institution that allows its employees to bring their own computing devices to work should have a BYOD policy. What is a BYOD policy? A BYOD policy is a set of rules set to govern a corporate IT department’s level of support for employee-owned personal devices such as PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
BYOD policies are often set by organizations to permit their employees to use their equipment, e.g., smartphones, tablets, or laptops for work. BYOD policies can take many different forms; some organizations opt to cut back on the corporate issues laptops and personal computers and offer to give the employees a stipend to purchase and maintain technology equipment of their choice. Some, however, agree to support personal mobile devices to some degree in addition to offering other corporate equipment. The guiding policies of a BYOD usually depend on the user’s role in the organization, their specific device, application requirements, among other factors.
Things Included In BYOD Policy
There Are Seven Main Things That Must Be Included In A BYOD Policy
Permitted Devices: In as much as this may seem to take away from the spirit of BYOD, it is vital that you set parameters on the devices that you are going to be allowing in the premise from an organizational level. Different operating systems usually have different security features or vulnerabilities. Also, since you will be providing in-house support for your employee’s mobile devices, you need a system that your team is capable of working with.
Who Owns The Information Stored On The Device: If the device permitted for work is stolen or lost, it will have to be remotely wiped out-. What will happen to the employee’s property on the phone, including their photos, music, and applications? It is crucial that you make sure that your policy clearly highlights the procedures around such events. Whereas attempts may be made to try and recover the lost data, your employees have to know that they are storing their personal items on their phone at their own risk.
Permitted Applications: Are your employees regulated on the types of applications that they can download on their devices? The employees should be well informed about the apps that are permitted, as well as those that are not permitted by the company. Ensure that you always update the list of permitted applications to stay current with the changing technologies.
Phone number ownership: Phone numbers can be a valuable currency. As a customer service provider or a salesperson, your phone number is a strong link between the customers and the organization. But the same number may also be important in a person’s private life. The person who owns the number should be made clear in the policy to help in situations where the employee decides to leave the company.
Payment Structure: Whether your organization will be catering for the whole bill or simply giving a stipend for monthly use, be clear on who will be catering for the mobile device bill and its voice and data plan. Ensure that this is properly outlined in the policy as it will help save a lot of headaches and misunderstandings in the future.
Outline the Security Requirements: Ensure that the policy properly outlines your expectations when it comes to devising security. Provide parameters on password protection, including the length, capital letters, and special characters. Outline how long the device should be inactive before it locks, and make sure to include the rules surrounding the devices permitted to access your internal network.
Flexibility: In as much as a BYOD policy can help protect your business, it is important that you don’t treat the policy as a security blanket. Always perform routine checks to determine how the policy is working, the things that need to be changed, and the things that need to be scrapped altogether.
Who Creates and Manages a BYOD Policy?
A BYOD policy is, in most cases, created internally by the management and IT staff; however, companies that require a comprehensive BYOD policy usually outsource the responsibility to an IT provider.
An IT provider having experience in IT-related matters can better help create a BYOD policy and help one successfully manage the devices wrapped up in the policy.
Ensuring BYOD Security
Ensuring a great and effective BYOD security policy has become crucial for all major and small businesses today, irrespective of the sector. BYOD security is very key for organizational leaders because personal devices are likely to enter the workplace, whether the IT department has sanctioned them or not. In most cases, BYOD solutions can improve an employee’s morale and productivity. If IT’s not properly defined, personal device access to an organization’s network can present very tough security challenges.
Merits and Demerits of a BYOD Policy
There are several merits and demerits that you should take into consideration before implementing a BYOD program in your organization. This policy not only helps you save money and increase productivity but with it also comes certain risks to the organization that you should be aware of:
- Higher employee productivity. Employees using their own devices leads to increased productivity as they are well conversant with the details and applications.
- Higher employee job satisfaction and retention through the support of flexible working arrangements
- Upgraded technologies are easily integrated into the workplace without IT spend on device maintenance, hardware, and software licensing.
- BYOD policy helps save the company on the purchase and replacement of IT equipment
- No learning curve for the employees
- up to date technology due to personal upgrades
- The data may be breached due to lost or stolen personal devices or employees leaving the company without issuing any notice
- Lack of network
- Higher security risks
- Some employees may not have the required devices
- Complex IT support for disparate personal devices and operating systems
Download Our Free Templates
To hold your employees accountable and ensure compliance, it is important to have a BYOD policy in place. Choose and download from our wide range of BYOD policy templates to help you come up with an effective BYOD policy that will help guarantee the compliance and accountability of all your employees.
BYOD Policy Example (PDF)
BYOD Policy Sample
BYOD Program Policy Template
Sample BYOD Policy Template
Tips for Implementing a Secure and Effective BYOD Policy
Establish and Define Security Policies for All Devices: Before giving your employees the freedom to access all the company resources from their devices, it is important that you first set very strict security guidelines.
Most people usually try to resist complicated passwords and lock screens as they view them as an inconvenience. However, unsecured devices can expose your company’s sensitive data to malicious attacks.
Outline the Acceptable Use Guidelines: Setting up an acceptable use policy can help prevent malware and viruses from entering your system through unsecured applications and websites. If you want to onboard your employees with the BYOD policy, it is important that you first build a trusting environment. Don’t set too many restrictions that will make them feel like you are infringing on their personal freedoms. Instead, try to educate them on the benefits of BYOD and give them the power to use their devices responsibly.
Use an MDM – Mobile Device Management Software: MDM software helps one to easily monitor, manage, and configure all BYOD devices from a central location. An MDM allows your IT team to easily implement security settings and software configurations on all devices that connect to your company network.
Communicate BYOD Policies to All Parties: Communication is key to successfully implementing a BYOD policy. It is important that you make everyone understand the requirements. You can introduce a BYOD training curriculum to help you establish a more productive workforce. Proper training will also help your employees to use their devices safely and effectively and helps educate them about the individual and company-wide risks of not complying with the laid down protocols.
Set Up an Employee Exit Plan: Some employees with devices on your BYOD platform will always exit the company. Failure to remove their access to the company’s network and data may lead to security issues down the line.
With a secure BYOD policy that covers all the key areas, you can help empower your employees to work more productively, increase their satisfaction and prevent any costly data breaches and malicious attacks from damaging your organization’s data.
With the rapid technology change, most employees want to use their devices for work. Several studies have shown that workers believe that their devices are more effective and that employees tend to be more effective when using them as opposed to learning how to use new ones. With a professionally designed BYOD policy template, you can be able to govern how and when they can access the company data. You can also use the BYOD policy in court should there arise any misunderstandings.