Whether company-issued or not, the best thing you can do for yourself and your employees is to verify that everyone’s on the same page when it comes to personal and company-owned device management. Preferably, you’ll put down that page in writing. Here are the four most important criteria you’ll need to consider in crafting or re-crafting your BYOD business policy.
Securing your company-owned devices and, taking steps to ensuring that employee-owned phones and tablets are secure before connecting to your company network is arguably the most important component of your policy.
First, you’ll have to determine how to ensure that each smart device your employees deploy can connect securely to your corporate network, otherwise your employees’ smart device has the potential to introduce huge vulnerabilities to its system.
Do you want to allow the devices access to a VPN or would you rather they connect to the company Wi-Fi? How do you know where your information will end up if it ever leaves an employee’s device? Have you enabled a remote access wipe, in the event of a lost or stolen phone, or in the event of that employee leaving your company? How will you recognize problems such as data leaks?
If left unmanaged, rogue smart devices can lead to loss of control of data security, impact your network availability and cause data loss. The best BYOD business policy will enlist real-time and easy-to-manage security solutions, generally through a third party provider, to ensure that the proper network access strategies and tools are in place to secure your environment. Consider security, first.
This is the dry stuff. Depending on your industry, unfortunately, regulatory constraints may limit the type of smart devices that can access your resources at any given time, as not all will meet the latest compliance standards. For instance, if you work within the healthcare industry, you’ll need to incorporate HIPAA guidelines. Ask yourself: how can I ensure compliance across smart devices? How would I answer the auditor if any data is compromised? This one goes hand-in-hand with security controls, and should be appropriately prioritized, as you shop around for a security system which effectively meets your company’s needs. At the end of the day each and every BYOD policy boils down to: how to I effectively safegaurd my company data?
Is your policy starting to take shape for you? Hopefully, you’ve got a few guidelines in mind. The next step is implementation and enforcement.
IT support includes the administrative management of your employees’ smart devices and the accommodation of the additional strain your corporate infrastructure will experience from all of the personal, smart devices connecting to its internal system. You don’t want your system to become overwhelmed and slowed down by the increased in connected devices.
Will you need to deploy a mobile device management system to secure and monitor each smart device connected to the corporate network? Can your system handle the increase in data usage or will you need to scale your internal capabilities?
Additionally, IT support can help you to figure out how to consider workers’ privacy concerns about employer access to personal contacts, messages, emails, installed apps and other data. What a great, added bonus! IT support services will guide you through how to protect your organization’s sensitive data while preserving your employees’ rights to privacy — which is not always an easy balance to maintain.
Lastly, you need to determine cost. you know what needs to be done and how to do it, but how much money do you need to set aside to support your BYOD business policy programs? What affordable tools are available for you to manage and secure your company’s information assets?
One potentially cost-saving strategy that’s emerged in the face of BYOD policies is the COPE, or, “corporate-owned, personally-enabled” alternative, in which your company technically owns the smart device and is responsible for monthly usage costs, but your employee is free to use it off the job.
IT products bought at wholesale or bulk prices, are generally more cost-effective for both the organization and the employee.
Remember, smart devices are here to stay, so in determining the costs of incorporating such devices into your corporate infrastructure, it’s important to be as forward-thinking as possible, with consideration toward future scalability. Still with us?
Are You Ready to Draft Your BYOD Business Policy?
Here’s everything a sound BYOD business policy will cover: an outline of acceptable uses of company information and applications, authorized devices, support and security protocol, administrative strategy, compliance and any potential liability or risk factors.
Whether or not you or your employee owns the smart device is only a matter of provisioning, and little bearing on the security, compliance, or support efforts outlined above. Just remember, regardless of who technically owns the device, it’s the data contained within which needs to be accounted for and protected. Your employees will bring their own smart devices to work, no matter what. That’s why, in the end, a well-defined plan and well-educated employees are the best strategies for ensuring a successful BYOD business policy.
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