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BYOD Policy: What should small businesses know about it

BYOD Policy: What Should Small Businesses Know About It?

byod policy
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BYOD policy or Bring Your Own Device policy has been a method practiced by businesses of any kind for years. Whether you run a small number of employees or manage multiple remote workers, the BYOD policy has been of great use.

Not all businesses can afford to buy individual laptops or computers for their employees. It’s expensive, and they need to invest in its maintenance. Hence, the BYOD policy has been used by some companies to lessen expenses.

In 2020, 85% of organizations implemented the BYOD policy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, beforehand, 95% of organizations have allowed their employees to use their devices at work.

If your small business is starting to grow, you’ll need to hire more employees. Now you have to decide whether they use their devices or not. Let us dive a little deeper into BYOD policy to understand it more.

What is BYOD?

Employees utilizing personal devices to connect to their organizational networks and access work-related systems and possibly sensitive or secret data is known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Smartphones, PCs, and tablets are examples of personal devices.

As small businesses and remote work increase, BYOD solutions are becoming prevalent.

Employees use their own devices to access email, connect online, work on company data, and more. It has become a norm for industries to implement a BYOD policy for employees to feel comfortable while working.

However, the BYOD solution comes with advantages and disadvantages. Companies must need to take note of it as it can help keep business data safe. 

Since personal devices can keep businesses at risk, as employees use them for their day-to-day activities, BYOD policy should be implemented to protect the company from data loss.

Advantages of Using BYOD Solutions

Saves Money

The costs of purchasing individual computers and setting up a workstation, in particular, can be a financial hardship for small enterprises. And, if your firm grows, you’ll need to expand your IT equipment infrastructure as well. Therefore, small businesses can benefit from using the BYOD solution. Business owners can cut back on expenses, from buying a new device to maintaining them.

Attracts New and Young Talents

Millennials and the generations that follow them will soon make up the bulk of your workforce. According to studies, the younger generation prefers to work from their own personal devices, so by stating that you are open to BYOD, you show you are a forward-thinking organization. The more open your business is to modern approaches and technologies, the more it will enhance your chances of attracting and retaining the best young talent.

Saves More Time

If you allow your employees to use personal devices, it’ll reduce the time and resources needed to train. Hence, increasing efficiency.

Employee productivity increases as a result of greater flexibility where and when they work. Employees will no longer require additional tools to access documents and emails if they can work from home, and they will be more inclined to continue working on projects after hours.

In addition to being comfortable with their own personal device, each employee has a specific preference. Some may work better on a Windows laptop, while others enjoy editing on a Mac. Giving your employees a device they are not used to can affect their efficiency and productivity. They’ll need some time to get used to the device.

Cons of BYOD Solutions for Small Businesses

As much as it sounds great to implement personal devices, there are some setbacks small businesses may encounter with such a policy.

Complicated IT Support Required

Using a standard-issued device for all your employees will make it easy for your IT team to fix issues, update, and add additional software if needed. However, if your employees use their personal devices, it will take time to go through each, as they require different tools and ways to manage them.

What if you need software for a certain project? Sometimes not all devices can support the software. Hence, it requires additional expense to purchase different software.

Time to Create Policies and Train Employees

When a business requires its employees to use their own devices, they need to create policies to limit access to business files as the device is personal. Policies and practices that need to govern the use of BYOD must be clearly defined. It will require time and resources to implement these practices and train employees.

Security Risk

If you allow your employees to use their own personal devices, you cannot control who can use their devices. What if someone borrowed their laptop, they could access your company’s data. Furthermore, employees don’t often think about security. They click on links without thinking or open sites that are not secure. Sometimes personal devices are more prone to threats because it is less secure and the user’s activities.

You cannot ask your employees what to do with their device as it’s theirs and not from the company. Hence, your data might be at risk.

Employees’ Privacy

Employees will feel uncomfortable or feel their privacy has been violated when you require them to submit their device to retrieve all company data. They will not want anyone to access their private matters. It is an invasion of their privacy. 

Also, you cannot force your employees to only use their device for specific activities, as it is their device, after all.

Whether you choose not to implement BYOD or do so, both have pros and cons. You have to weigh what you can handle and how you can adjust to it.

If you have decided to use BYOD for your small business, here are ways you can successfully implement it.

How to Implement BYOD 

Your BYOD Policy Must be in Line with Your Goals

A clear BYOD plan is required to effectively communicate the most crucial components, such as acceptable use. Not all BYOD solutions are the same. One can apply to another business, but not to yours. Therefore, you’ll need to define your company’s goals. Then, start creating policies that will meet them.

Here are some questions you may ask while creating the policy:

  • When will your employees need to use their device, and what they are to do with it
  • Check if all employees need access to your site, or do they require a business-related app? 
  • Do you handle sensitive data? If so, how can you be sure your data can be managed securely by your employees?
  • Do you have the means to protect each device of your employees?

Communicate BYOD Security Rules Clearly

You have to be clear to your employees about what you want them to do when using the devices. But there shouldn’t be strict policies as the devices they are using are theirs and not owned by the company.

You can request them to add passwords or lock screens to their devices. Inform them of the reason why you require such security. Adding a lock screen or a password will prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing the company’s data.

Make everything clear, so your employees can understand what you want and comply with them.

Give your employees also the right to their privacy, but you can also reserve the right to wipe data from a lost device. Just make sure to communicate this option to your employees. They can back up their data.

Speaking of the right to privacy, inform your employees that any communication sent using the company’s network gives you the right to monitor and review them.

Ban Certain Activities

You can include in your BYOD policy the prevention of some activities like the download of apps from third-party apps stores. Furthermore, you can install antivirus software like McAfee for Windows 10 and Mac users. 

Antivirus and anti-malware software can prevent the downloading or installing of malicious apps or files.

Employers should assess not just what employees are using their devices for but when they are using them to do business-related tasks. Non-exempt employees should be subjected to guidelines to ensure they are not working outside of business hours to avoid unauthorized overtime.

Inform What Devices You’ll Support

You’ll need to be clear about what operating system you want your employees to use. It will be quite a challenge if your employees use multiple OS. You’ll need to consider them all when purchasing software and so on.

Set what is the required operating system. You can choose popular OS like Android and iOS for smartphones and Windows and Mac for laptops.

Determine Vulnerabilities and Minimize Their Occurrence

Get to know what vulnerabilities your company will experience when implementing BYOD. Some common threats encountered by companies using BYOD:

  • Using an unsecured network when outside work can be a habit of employees. Public Wi-Fi is unsafe. There are plenty of cybercriminals who use free Wi-Fi to access company data. It can lead to a data breach.
  • Malware is one of the biggest threats that individuals and businesses encounter. It can come from phishing emails or downloading infected apps.
  • Lost or missing devices is also another issue that companies face when using BYOD. Information on the device can be accessed by anyone who has it.

How to protect your company’s data when using the BYOD method?

  • Educate employees 
  • Mandate the use of screen lock 
  • Use strong passwords
  • Encrypt devices
  • Install an antivirus software program or purchase one that can support multiple devices.
  • Regularly backup company data
  • Update the operating system and all software

Conclusion

BYOD solution has been an excellent alternative that small businesses opt for due to its cost reduction advantage. Furthermore, it saves time and enhances productivity. However, it does come with disadvantages too. The best way a business can avoid or minimize the cons of bringing your own device is to lay down policies. These rules will help guide employees on what not to do when handling company data on their devices. However, before setting policies, employers must consider multiple things. Create flexible policies that won’t restrict employees when they use their devices.

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