Tips for Implementing a Bring Your Own Device Policy

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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are all the rage in today’s corporate environment because employees work faster and make fewer mistakes on devices they understand. These policies play to simple human nature: the path of least resistance is perceived to be the most efficient.

But BYOD policies present myriad challenges for managers who are working towards best practices around data security and collaboration. Managers must take several key points into consideration when working under a BYOD policy.

Different Devices, Same Policy
Because there is a multitude of devices and operating systems that employees can use, managers will often encounter “special cases.” In these scenarios, it is critical that managers not get mired in tech lingo. Having a broad yet usable policy on approved device usage allows managers to limit the conversation to black and white, eliminating room for gray areas in company policy. Also, crafting a policy without device-specific rules will reduce the length of reading material for employees and increase the likelihood that the policy will be thoroughly read and understood, rather than skimmed over by busy employees.

Collaboration Rules Apply
Special device features should not be exempt from the rules. If it can’t be recorded by the company system for audit or review at a later time, how useful is it to the company? Does it pose more risk to sensitive customer data than it’s worth? These questions must be addressed adequately in a BYOD policy to ensure employees understand that use of unapproved systems or apps for business could put them and the company in harm’s way.

Separate Business and Personal Use
Perhaps the most frequent complaints around BYOD policies center on maintaining self-control. Devices that are used interchangeably for work and play tend to blur the lines between the two. Can a text message be answered during work hours? Should social networking apps that are always up on a personal device be turned off during the day? In many cases, it will not be possible for employees to switch their devices from personal to work mode.

A good BYOD policy will address this issue head-on, clearly identifying scenarios in which personal use is appropriate and acknowledging the reality that notifications and constant streams of data cannot simply be turned off from 9 to 5. The most successful managers in BYOD companies encourage self-expression, but come to the table with actionable policies that help employees understand how to approach the privilege of personal device use in the workplace.

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