BYOD: 3 Important Questions to Consider
As a small business owner, you’re always looking for innovative ways to reduce operating costs. One of the many ways to do this is by allowing your employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work instead of purchasing mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for them. BYOD can potentially save you thousands of dollars annually, but it needs to be set up properly in your business to ensure you take advantage of the cost savings and benefits.
Let’s look at 3 important questions to consider about BYOD:
1 – Have you let employees know that BYOD isn’t mandatory?
Before BYOD came onto the scene, companies provided devices and many employees still expect this arrangement. For many years, it was quite normal to have one device for work and one device for personal use. However, more and more employees now prefer to consolidate to one device for both work and play.
If you’re thinking of allowing BYOD and your business requires employees to be in constant contact on phone or email, ensure that you still have a system in place to deploy company-issued phones if your employees prefer not to use their own devices for one reason or another.
For example, if you’re a contractor working on job sites, Push-To-Talk smartphones might be essential to communicate with multiple users with the simple push of a button. If your employees don’t have PTT enabled phones, you may want to have devices available for deployment.
2 – Have you established a BYOD policy?
If your employees are already using or asking to use their own devices at work, you should consider immediately establishing a BYOD Policy if you haven’t already. It’s important that your employees know what the rules are, along with what the company is and is not responsible for.
Within your BYOD policy, clearly state that the mobile device belongs to the employee, but anything created on them for work belongs to the company. For example, consider a real estate agent who uses their personal iPhone for work. While the iPhone still belongs to the agent, any documents, photos or notes created for work would belong to the company. Make sure your BYOD policies and procedures clearly state this distinction to avoid any potential future conflict if your employment arrangement ends.
3 – Have you set a program in place for employee BYOD education?
After policies have been clearly defined, be sure to plan and facilitate regular training so employees clearly understand the appropriate and inappropriate use of their personal devices. Within your training program, be sure to cover topics such as social media usage, strong passwords and privacy settings. Your training should also clearly state the procedures for allowing others to use your phone or to report missing devices that may contain sensitive information.
The Bottom Line
With smartphones, your employees are already walking around with small computers in their pockets that they use multiples times a day. If you approach your BYOD policy with security, training, and flexibility in mind, you allow employees to work with devices they are comfortable using while cutting operational costs. As a small business owner, it’s really the best of both worlds.