Bring your own device (BYOD) policies. What to consider when monitoring employee personal electronic devices.

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Hybrid workplaces, remote work locations, and working from home is becoming more and more common in 2021. For most employees, this means accessing work-related information or company network remotely via various personal devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets. While this provides employees greater flexibility and convenience, it also introduces potential security risks and other productivity-related issues. As a result, many companies are adopting BYOD policies. According to Financesonline, 95% of organizations worldwide have actively implemented some BYOD policy, and the BYOD market is predicted to grow to $366.95 billion by 2022.

Employees are increasingly using personal computers, smartphones, and tablets to access work-related information.

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Learn why a BYOD policy is important and the best practices you can employ to make this practice more effective and successful.

What is BYOD?

BYOD approach permits the workforce to use their private devices/gadgets (smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, flash drives, etc.) to work on official job tasks instead of company-provided devices.

What is a BYOD policy?

Bring your own device policies are guidelines established by businesses to allow their employees to use personal devices for work-related purposes.
This policy is intended to ensure the security of company data, among other things.

Bring your own device (BYOD) policies are guidelines established by businesses to allow their workers to use their own devices for work-related purposes.

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How does BYOD policy work?

A bring your own device policy defines what is and isn’t acceptable use during official business hours and how to protect the organization from cybersecurity risks such as hacking and data infringements during and outside work.

Employees need to consent and sign a document outlining the policy’s terms and conditions. This is done to ensure that employees are fully responsible for any corporate data accessible on their private devices, and they agree with the BYOD policy requirements.

As you give your workers the go-ahead to keep corporate information on their devices, a clearly defined BYOD policy should be present to secure this data.

How does bring your own device program help businesses?

  • Cuts cost
    Businesses that implement bring your own device programs do not have to spend so much money on technology. If your company has a bring your own device policy, you won’t have to buy phones and laptops for every employee. Besides saving money, this approach makes it easier to support employee-owned equipment.
  • Accessibility
    A personal device policy eliminates the need for employees to manage and maintain multiple devices. Since they don’t have to carry around so many devices, they can easily access and work on tools they are most comfortable with.
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  • Improved efficiency and productivity
    According to this Forbes article, employees believe that the technology tools they use in their personal lives are more effective and productive than those at work. Employees don’t have to devote time and effort to learning a new system. Since they’re already familiar with their own electronic devices, it’d be much easier to get right into work. Also, work can be conducted at any time and from any location due to the mobility and flexibility afforded by employee-owned devices.

Best practices for implementing a BYOD policy

Remote monitoring and management, security, document backup, and password protection fall under the umbrella of “use of personal devices at work policies”.
Here are the best practices to achieve the following and ensure a secure and productive BYOD environment.

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1. Clearly outline your expectations in the BYOD corporate policy

Good communication is essential when enforcing restrictions and expectations on employee devices because the lines of employee privacy can become blurred. Employees need to know what you expect of them, so be sure to spell it all out in these policies. A bring your own device policy should include the following provisions:

  • What type of personal devices can be used for the BYOD program.
  • What is and isn’t allowed on BYOD devices.
  • What applications and tools employees can use on their personal devices.
  • What security measures will be introduced on employee devices for protective purposes.
  • What monitoring strategies or tools will be introduced to keep productivity high, and what metrics will be measured.
  • Employers’ rights to access the company data stored on their personal devices.
  • Technical assistance for byod devices.
  • Circumstances under which such devices are eligible for incentives or cost reimbursements should be defined.
  • Detailed explanation on how company data will be handled in the event of work termination.
  • A clear outline of measures to be taken in case of policy violation.
  • Procedures for reporting missing or stolen devices should also be included in the bring your own device policy.

It’s good practice to have employees sign a BYOD device policy before allowing personal devices to access the company data.

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2. Educate your workforce about security

Many of the security risks associated with BYOD can be traced back to human error. Because of this, ensuring the safety of company data begins with educating employees on the fundamentals of security. Among the topics you might cover in this kind of training are the consequences of phishing emails, how to discover malware, and how to keep your employees’ devices safe. Employees should be advised against clicking links in emails from unknown sources, and only authorized app stores should be used to download third-party applications. Additionally, it is critical to train your staff on the proper way to store and transmit sensitive information on their personal devices. Finally, include these training/educational manuals in the bring your own device policy so that employees can always refer to them.

It is important to educate your employees about security basics to safeguard company data adequately.

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3. Deploy employee monitoring software

It’s easy for employees to get distracted when they’re working from their devices; these distractions can come in the form of social media notifications or visits to websites unrelated to work, and these distractions can hurt productivity. Employee productivity monitoring can be incorporated into your BYOD program to keep these productivity issues under control. For instance, remote monitoring software can be installed to monitor how much time employees spend working and what websites they visit during working hours. It is also possible to block potentially harmful websites on BYOD devices using employee monitoring tools.

Employee productivity monitoring can be incorporated into your BYOD program to keep these productivity issues under control.

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Employee privacy and data security should be taken into account when monitoring employees’ computer activities and productivity on such devices. It is important for employers to use non-intrusive employee monitoring software that only collects data related to the employee’s job duties and does not invade the employee’s privacy outside of those hours.
Additionally, legal experts advise businesses to obtain written acknowledgments from their employees stating that they understand the policy’s regulations and are willing to grant appropriate access to their devices for employee monitoring purposes.

Employee monitoring policies should be integrated into the BYOD program to outline what data will be collected.

What to consider when implementing employee monitoring on employee personal electronic devices:

  • Employee privacy concerns, as well as company data security policies, should be taken into account when implementing employee monitoring.
  • When monitoring employees’ personal devices, ensure that applicable laws are followed to ensure that employees’ privacy is protected.
  • It is important for companies to provide employees with BYOD policies and monitoring policies to know how their personal devices are being monitored. This helps avoid misunderstandings.
  • It is important to enumerate definite instances for monitoring and accessing personal devices.
  • Working hours, employee misconduct investigations, and contract violations, for example, could all be listed as reasons for monitoring.
  • The monitoring policies should specify which devices will be monitored.
  • Describe the security measures that the company may use to protect monitored data.
  • Employers should obtain written acknowledgments from their employees stating the latter have understood the policy, agree to follow it, and grant appropriate access to their devices for employee monitoring purposes.

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4. Invest in anti-malware software

Anti-malware software should be used to protect businesses from the hazards associated with using employee-owned devices for work. This type of software detects and discards malware before it harms a device. Current threat intelligence databases often support the best anti-malware tools and use behavior-based detection methods to recognize malware. Additionally, anti-malware software should be capable of spotting and stopping any threat before they cause damage. Employees should avoid connecting to public WI-FI networks because malicious parties can easily spy on internet traffic and steal confidential information from these networks, which are generally unprotected.

Anti-malware software detects and discards malware before it harms a device.

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5. Make use of trusted cloud-based services

Selecting a cloud service that makes system integration and implementing these policies easy is the best choice. It should be user-friendly and be able to work seamlessly with other software. The company’s IT security staff should carefully evaluate cloud services before being used on an employee’s private device. It is also important to conduct a risk assessment before contracting any cloud service provider.

Company IT security should carefully evaluate cloud services before they can be used.

6. Set passwords on all BYOD devices

Enforcing passwords on all employee devices and accounts to prevent unwanted access to company data is important. Passwords should be unique and contain letters, numbers, and symbols if possible. Incorporating additional methods of verifying identity, such as two-factor authentication, is also a smart move. Employees should also be reminded to change or reset their Wi-Fi router’s default password.

Passwords should be unique and contain letters, numbers, and symbols if possible.

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7. Use mobile device management solutions on all BYOD devices

Mobile device management solutions allow businesses to keep their data safe while still allowing their employees to carry out their duties. For example, your IT personnel can use mobile device management solutions(MDM) to securely monitor and manage mobile phones that handle sensitive corporate data, decide which applications can be installed on the devices, locate devices, and secure devices if they are lost or stolen.

MDMs can help identify which applications on a user’s device can connect with company data and secure devices if lost or stolen.

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8. Access all BYOD devices with VPN

A virtual private network can be used to encrypt data moving between an employee’s external system and the company’s central network. You can also tighten security mechanisms by:

  • Encrypting data transfers while in transit.
  • Hiding user’s Internet Protocol (IP) address.
  • Concealing the user’s location.

By incorporating VPN access into your BYOD program, you eliminate the risk of sensitive data leakage.

Disclaimer

This article provides general information only. This information is for general understanding only and not to be used as legal advice. To receive professional legal advice, please consult your lawyer.

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