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Considering a Bring Your Own Device Policy? Here’s how to make it work…

Article By Brendan Cole | | Technology Consulting

The benefits for BYOD are plain to see, but how should it be managed?

With digital device ownership increasing throughout Australia, studies show the benefits of introducing a Bring Your Own Device policy (BYOD) into the workplace.

This would seem to make sense as the devices we use to be productive at work are essentially the same devices that we use in our personal lives.

But it’s important that a BYOD environment is well-defined and managed or it can create problems.

Here’s how to make it work effectively…

A Bring Your Own Device policy: Benefits and inclusions

Cisco’s 2016 Annual Report showed that 69 percent of decision makers in IT viewed BYOD favourably.

The main reason for this was the time savings it brought to their teams. It can also bring reductions to equipment costs.

For employees, it can be more convenient and comfortable to work from their own device.

A Bring Your Own Device policy can be designed in a number of ways.

It can include only smartphones or tablets right through to allowing employees to bring in their laptops to operate as their day-to-day work device.

In the case of remote workers, it’s highly likely they already need to utilise their smartphone as a work device. This makes it all the more important to ensure that applicable policies are in place.

Key challenges with a BYOD policy

As well as the obvious benefits of a BYOD environment, there are challenges - not least those that stem from providing employees with on-demand access to their work data.

This can very quickly lead to a deterioration of work-life balance. As an employer, you may not expect employees to go above and beyond but there can be issues with some employees not being able to “switch off”. Guidelines need to be detailed in your Bring Your Own Device policy documents.

Security is another primary concern. You need to protect company data. Modern devices are mobile - and that’s part of their attraction - but what happens if they’re left behind or lost?

How safe is your clients’ data from potentially being stolen along with the device?

Countermeasures must be built into your Bring Your Own Device policy to prevent accidental leaking of sensitive data.

You need to define all the key controls you have put in place. Include security practices and usage protocols. Then ensure that all employees are informed of, and agree to, the policy.

Building an effective BYOD environment

In summary, your Bring Your Own Device environment should be backed by policies incorporating:

  • Security: At a bare minimum, devices should be required to have security software installed, such as antivirus and device-level encryption.
  • Controls: Limiting remote access by time or location can greatly reduce risk of data leaks, as well as help prevent a poor work-life balance.
  • Agreement: Employees should understand the controls that are in place and agree with the policy in writing to mitigate liability. 

Thinking about implementing a Bring Your Own Device policy in your business?

Talk it through first with the Altitude Innovations team.