Employees are using their personal smartphones at work regardless of company policy. So why not embrace it? A study by Gartner estimates that 50 percent of companies around the world will have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy by 2017. You may as well get your business on the bandwagon now. It’s safer than you think and has a lot of benefits for both the employees and the company. Here are three effective ways you can allow employees to use their own devices at work — and for work — while keeping your company’s data secure.
1. Implement a BYOD Program to Save Money
BYOD can save money for businesses of all sizes. If you have or were planning to issue smartphones for work use, you can eliminate that expense and replace it with a small monthly stipend to cover the time employees spend using their phones for work purposes. You can even possibly get away with having your employees pay all of the expenses for the phone. Employees are generally more comfortable using their personal devices. They are more likely to have an upgraded device and be familiar with its operating system. This will give your business an advantage by having up-to-date computers and mobile devices while saving time on IT costs. Employees will already be happy to be allowed to use their phones at work, so most of them won’t balk at footing the bill, especially if they can use their personal device. A recent Good Technology report shows that 50 percent of companies with BYOD programs don’t offer any stipend at all.
2. Decide What Types of Devices Will Be Allowed at Work
Some companies that have BYOD programs allow employees to use any type of device. Others only allow certain manufacturers, like the business-friendly Blackberry (which has a whole division for BYOD programs already in place). There are benefits to having specific devices your employees can use for work. Choosing business-centered devices that all run the same platform will create consistency and efficiency among employees. It all depends on what will work best for your company and keep your employees happy and productive.
It really depends on your level of comfort with a particular brand or device, as well as the wishes of your company. You don’t want to mandate only one type of device and find out your employees hate it, because that will negatively impact employee satisfaction and productivity, defeating the purpose. Implementing a device policy for a BYOD program is really a collaborative effort with you and your employees to ensure everyone’s satisfaction. The whole point is to master productivity and efficiency while increasing employee satisfaction.
3. Secure Company Information
One of the most concerning issues when implementing a BYOD policy is keeping your company’s private and proprietary information secure. Monitoring security can be difficult when employees take their devices home. There are three steps to accomplishing this on a budget. The first is to require all employees to download anti-virus and anti-spyware software such as Norton or McAfee. The second is to require employees to secure their phones with password protection (and make sure the password won’t be easy to break, such as the all-too-common and practically useless “1234”). Employees can work with IT staff to create promising passwords. The third is to install remote access software on all employee devices that will be used for work purposes to ensure you can wipe the device’s hard drive from any location should the device be lost or stolen. Doing these things will give you the peace of mind of knowing your company’s data is secure.