What is a Bring your Own Device (BYOD) Policy & how can it benefit your Business?

The practice of being able to switch between working remotely and in the office is one that is taking precedence more and more in 2020. Many businesses use rotas to schedule who's going to be working in the office and when- leaving everyone else to work remotely. What this means is that many businesses are always looking out for approaches to work that make the transition from home working and office working much easier to manage for their employees.

Bring your own Device (BYOD) is a policy that allows you to do just that- in this article we will explore and define what a BYOD policy is, the rules and regulations businesses need to be aware of, and the benefits a BYOD policy can have for a company and its employees.

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What is BYOD?

A Bring your own Device (BYOD) policy, sometimes referred to as a bring your own phone or bring your own personal computer policy, refers to the practice that allows employees of a business to be able to bring their own, personal devices to and from work. The purpose of such a policy is to enable an employee to use their own devices to view company/client information and complete pieces of work, instead of being required to use a tool provided by the company.

BYOD Benefits for Remote Businesses

There are many benefits to be had from implementing a BYOD policy into your remote work, for both the business and also the employees themselves:

Employee Retention

The BYOD benefits for remote businesses looking to implement a bring your own device policy are abundant. One of the biggest by far is the positive impact it can have on both employee job satisfaction and retention. Particularly in the uncertain times of lockdown and COVID-19, a company BYOD policy gives employees the flexibility to choose their own working arrangements, in a way that suits their unique circumstances. A BYOD scheme is overall a great way to keep employees happy and satisfied at work, and happier employees are more likely to be productive and retentive than unhappy members of staff.

Saving Money

Another of the BYOD benefits for businesses is the fact that allowing employees to use their personal devices can save a company money on various IT costs. A personal device will always be managed solely by the individual that it belongs to, so the business should never have to buy a replacement or upgrade to a higher model device for employees, which can save a substantial amount of money.

Employee Productivity

Another benefit to having a BYOD policy for the business is the general boost in employee productivity it will bring; in fact, studies show that a BYOD employee works an extra 2 hours on average every day when using a personal device. As well as employees being much happier with the increased flexibility a BYOD policy brings, people are often much more comfortable working on their own devices; since they are naturally more familiar with their personal devices than a company issued one. This comfort while on the job can help employees work much more productively, efficiently and effectively.

Newer Technologies 

A final benefit of allowing employees to work on their own devices is the idea that the business will gain access to newer technology and tools, without needing to pay for the cost of updating work equipment. It is relatively common for people to upgrade their phones and their laptops to newer models as they're released, and this can be a great advantage to the business if employees are using these devices for work-related tasks as well as just for personal use. Not only will your employees be working on higher quality, more modern equipment, but they will also be outfitted with the latest security features and updates. It is a common practice in BYOD policies for there to be a user responsibility to manually install security software on the personal device, including things like anti-virus software. This means that employees will often be outfitted with personal devices that are more modern and more up to date with the latest security software.

BYOD Laws, Legalities & Issues to be aware of

Whilst a Bring your own Device policy does introduce several benefits to a remote business, there are a few issues you may encounter when utilising this kind of system. The biggest is without a doubt the risk of data and information breaches. Businesses are responsible for a lot of private data, be it employee details, client information, stats, figures and much more. Information like this being lost or stolen can prove to be very costly if you don't take the proper measures, and the business can even be held liable for these kinds of damages. You can implement these measures easily onto regular work devices, but personal devices can sometimes be more susceptible to data breaches. And as a business with experience in handling sensitive data through our office mail management service, we know how important it is to keep business's data secure.

What Businesses can do to counter these issues

Businesses can adequately protect themselves from these kinds of breaches by taking these appropriate security measures:

  • Password and data encryption: Personal devices should always have strong user authentication measures. A BYOD policy with password and data encryption measures will be able to protect your business's data and will enable it to defend itself against claims of negligence if a breach occurs.
  • Separate user profiles: Businesses may want to create new user profiles on the employees device, with a more limited access to the types of information they can see at home or remotely.
  • Remote wiping capabilities: Agreeing to security measures that allows employees to wipe their device in the event of a data breach. Remote wiping security measures should be clearly defined within your BYOD policy.
  • Data monitoring: Companies should monitor data being accessed as effectively as possible, such as event times, failed and successful authentication, object access and more.
  • Communication: The process of routinely communicating with remote workers, making them aware of what they need to do regarding a BYOD policy, is in itself a good security measure. Having employees that are familiar with and trained in what the BYOD security measures are can only make for a more secure remote working environment.

Employee Privacy

However, another critical consideration to be made on BYOD Laws is the idea of employee privacy; making sure not to blur the lines too much on what is personal and what is business on a personal device. Companies should always attempt to minimise the access they have to all non-work related information and data on their employee's devices. When they do so, all instances of monitoring and investigating an employees personal device should be properly laid out and explained in the BYOD Policy.

Help in implementing BYOD Policy

When it comes to implementing a BYOD Policy properly into your business’s agenda, there are several resources on the web that can help you to determine what you need to include and what needs to be communicated to your employees. As well as the ideas and considerations in this article, you can read: 

  • NCSC: With the following link you can read the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC’s) guide to BYOD, for additional guidance on specific security measures and technical approaches you can take when considering your own BYOD policy. 
  • NCSC & COVID: With the following link you can read NCSC’s statement on BYOD regarding COVID-19, for specific information on BYOD regarding the pandemic and how it can affect a business’s policies with BYOD. 

That concludes this blog article on the benefits and considerations that you should take into account when considering a Bring your own Device policy for your business. In these times, it can be one of the best options in improving the efficiency, effectiveness and overall happiness of your workforce, while also making sense from a business perspective. For more information on the wider world of remote working, you can read our blog on Tips for Remote Working here.

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Allan Chester