BYOD, or bring your own device, is a very popular work trend these days. As the term suggests, it’s when employees bring and use their own personal devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, at work.
There are numerous benefits of relying on BYOD for your business. It cuts down on the upfront costs of supplying your employees with computers and other devices. And it allows employees to work from anywhere. When using their own devices, employees can continue to work when not in the office.
Thanks to the pandemic, working from home and hybrid work schedules have become the norm for many. And BYOD allows employees to seamlessly swap between working locations without disruption.
However, there are also negatives that come with BYOD in the workplace, which is why it’s important to have a BYOD policy.
Why Implement a BYOD Policy?
Chances are, many of your employees are already using their personal devices for at least a portion of their work tasks. This can be anything from checking emails on their phones to using their home computers to access documents.
A BYOD policy is meant to formalize how BYOD works at your business. It avoids complications that may arise later on and prevents your BYOD work culture from turning into a free-for-all.
Without a policy, BYOD can quickly go from being beneficial to being detrimental. Personal devices can be distractions, security risks, and sources of frustration since they aren’t standardized.
BYOD Policy Inclusions
There are many things that can be included in a workplace BYOD policy. But, the big four things to include are acceptable uses of devices, security measures, device support, and financial responsibility.
What activities count as acceptable uses of personal devices in the workplace?
Are certain apps or websites restricted during work hours? If so, how is this enforced? Is it done through your company’s router? Do employees need to install a device that restricts access at certain hours?
Are there certain programs that are banned from being present on devices? Programs that fall into a legal grey area could open your business up to liability if used at work.
One of the major benefits of BYOD is that your employees are already comfortable using their own devices. They don’t need to relearn a new device or operating system. But, there’s a fine line between BYOD being useful and it being a distraction, which is why outlining acceptable uses is important.
In general, BYOD devices aren’t going to be as secure as dedicated workplace devices. Individual users may not be as worried about security as they should be. They may not have security features up to date, they may visit insecure sites, and they may not use strong passwords.
Are you going to provide security software to all of your BYOD employees? Will these employees be responsible for obtaining and updating security software on their own? And is there a protocol in place for when a device is breached, lost, stolen, or infected with malware?
Security is the biggest concern when it comes to BYOD, which is why it’s so important to include a security section within your BYOD policy.
When employees require assistance with their BYOD devices, what should they do? Do they need to take their devices to a third party? Do you have an in-house IT staff that can help? Or, is your business partnered with a third-party IT company to facilitate support?
If your plan is to have employees seek assistance from a third party on their own, the financial responsibility for that assistance may need to be addressed (more on that below).
And if you have in-house IT staff, is troubleshooting and fixing BYOD devices an effective use of their time? Partnering with a third-party IT support provider frees up your team to work on what matters most.
It’s also important to consider at what point a device is considered too old. Older devices may not be compatible with the software your employees need to do their work efficiently. Or, because devices tend to slow down with age, they might not operate at peak performance anymore.
Potentially the most important section to include in your BYOD policy is the financial responsibility section. Who’s responsible for paying for repairs to BYOD devices? What about paying for new devices? Or paying for new software and other programs?
Is the owner of the device responsible for covering these costs? Are you responsible? Is there some form of shared responsibility? Shared responsibility is often the best option as it both saves you money and grants more freedom to employees.
One example of shared financial responsibility is for you to provide or pay for any and all software and program subscriptions your employees need for their jobs. In addition, you can provide a subsidy to cover a portion of the cost of repairs or new devices, with the employee covering the rest.
Making financial responsibility clear upfront is important so that you don’t run into issues later on.
BYOD policies formalize how your employees use their personal devices for work. With the rise of working from home and hybrid work schedules, more and more employees are relying on their personal devices for their jobs.
A good BYOD policy should include acceptable uses of devices during work hours, required security measures for employees to take, how device support is to be handled, and who’s financially responsible for the upkeep of devices.
IT Services Group
ITSG can help develop a BYOD policy that’s tailored to the needs of your business. Contact us today to learn more about the potential benefits of implementing BYOD and how you can start making the most of this workplace trend.