BYOD bring your own device

Privacy vs. Security: Tips for Executives Implementing a BYOD Policy

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is an inevitable trend among businesses. Over 80% of enterprises now allow employees to use personal devices to connect to corporate networks. Ubiquitous use of BYOD at work is a natural progression of how popular mobile devices have become.

BYOD improves employee satisfaction and productivity, as employees feel more comfortable with the devices they’ve chosen both for professional and personal use. Employees increasingly seek flexible work options and the ability to work remotely. Using the same mobile device at home or at the office can allow for an easier transition, and enhanced efficiency and output. Surveys show that employees who use their own devices feel more ownership over their work.

But despite wide-reaching benefits, companies are struggling to integrate security measures, so that sensitive data and infrastructure are secured properly. Fortunately, executive teams have an opportunity to set the tone on BYOD; secure access and business productivity are not mutually exclusive.

Getting Consent from Your Employees

More and more often, BYOD policies are seen as infringing on user privacy.

Employees have a sense of ownership over their mobile devices and are more reticent to have employers impose security measures and secure their operating systems. However, employees need to be made aware of their responsibilities regarding sensitive data they are accessing, and ways to achieve a balance between ownership of mobile devices and responsibility to implement adequate security measures.

With that being said, it is important that consent is required for companies to access personal devices to monitor the use of apps and install security software.

Managers can earn employees’ trust and collaboration by ensuring that their personal information such as contacts, personal messages and applications are not monitored. They can encourage their teams to register new devices and declare stolen or unused devices, so that data can be erased. Some suggest that concluding agreements with employees seeking to use their personal mobile device at work may clear the expectation and prevent violations.

In summary, here are three ways the executive team can set the right example for BYOD policy:

  1. Implement policy management tools and do not access personal applications and information without consent
  2. Inform employees about your policies with regard to the use of personal devices on the corporate network
  3. Encourage employees to declare stolen, unused or lost devices and regularly update security settings and applications

Achieving a compromise between privacy and security is key in developing a strong mobile security strategy. With the proper security and consent measures in place, companies can drive their operating costs down, and achieve reduced costs through supporting mobile devices.

A version of this article was originally published on Forbes.com.

The article is a personal view of the author, and not of the employers.

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