The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy is not a stranger to today’s business: back in 2009, the term entered everyday use, when Intel recognized the expanding tendency among its employees. They brought their smartphones, tablets, and laptops to the workplace and connected them to the enterprise network to use them for work purposes.
A decade later, this movement became mainstream. According to the Global Market Insights statistics, the BYOD market is to reach almost $367 billion by 2022, up from just $30 billion in 2014.
The biggest reason for such an increase lies in the onrush of personal devices: ten years ago, people undeniably possessed fewer smartphones, laptops, and tablets, not to speak of wearables like smart wristbands and watches. It didn’t take much time for businesses all around the world to put two and two together: if employees use their own devices at work, employers will be able to save on company-provided gear. So, they were not far from the truth: as Cisco states in its report, BYOD-favoring companies annually save $350 per employee.
Overall, it is the BYOD flexibility that attracts both managers and their staff. Personal devices can be used for work at any time and in any place. They save the employer’s money and make young employees more productive — a win-win situation.
However, it is also this flexibility that makes BYOD so hazardous: when employees freely possess enterprise data on their tablets and smartphones, it may lead to severe consequences, still actual today. Below we name the biggest 2019 concerns on BYOD implementation together with some ideas on how to address them.
Concern #1. How Should Enterprises Protect Their Data?
As long as there is a BYOD movement, the problem of enterprise data security remains a headache for many companies. Probably, this is the reason why only 31% of respondents participating in Samsung’s research, rely on BYOD entirely.
Every time an employee turns to enterprise data using an unclassified network, the company faces malware risks: such a connection may turn to be hacker-occupied and can become the cause for data leakage or misuse.
The so-called physical risks of BYOD is another reason for some companies to steer clear of it. In case an employee loses his or her smartphone or falls victim to a thief, business information stored on the device may get into the wrong hands.
How to Address: MDM Protects Enterprise Data
A lot has been said about Mobile Device Management (MDM) software. It has been around almost as long as mobile devices have — such tools seem to be a good bargain.
MDM is a central platform to which employees can link their personal devices. The platform delivers employers access to staff’s tech so that they can provide in-time software update, data encryption, virus testing, and, in case of lost or stolen devices, data wiping.
Concern #2. BYOD Undermines Privacy of Employee Data, Doesn’t it?
As employers need to control valuable enterprise data on employees’ devices, they inevitably get access to the staff’s personal information. At the same time, most of the American states severely punish employers if they intrude into employee data. As for Europe, there is the General Data Protection Regulation that came into effect in May 2018 and made employees’ personal data protection a business priority.
As it turned out during the Bitglass experiment, in an attempt to guard business data on employees’ devices, hirers may receive visibility into a real user’s browsing history, their location, and personal communication via Gmail or Messenger. Such results raise questions about the employee’s personal information safety.
How to Address: EMM Protects Employee Data
MDM is a time-honored tool for enterprise data protection that undoubtedly saved more than one company from data loss. Though, it unsurprisingly causes some doubts in employees, as far as such tools allow supervisors to wipe data from their own devices and, as stated above, watch their personal information.
So, when the issue of an employee’s privacy steps forward, an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution may become no less in place. Such tools enclose enterprise apps in a protected container and isolate personal content and applications from it. The employer has access only to the enterprise container, so they don’t limit the employee’s ability to use their devices and personal data. As enterprise mobility experts from Iflexion state, such tools help businesses to ensure encrypted and safe data transfer between devices and enterprise systems, all in line with BYOD security policies.
Concern #3. How Should Businesses Deal with BYOD-Related Legal Pitfalls?
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay extra non-exempt workers for any time spent on work beyond 40 regular hours. So, if your staff member decides to check their corporate email before going to bed and draws into a work-related task for an hour, you may turn to have to pay for overtime.
Harassment and discrimination issues are somewhat disputed points in BYOD implementation as well. If an employee uses their personal device to bully coworkers, their work providers may become responsible for these actions.
How to Address: Precise Policies for Legal Disputes Bypassing
Unfortunately, there is no tool invented for legal disputes prevention. It’s tough, if not impossible, to predict people’s actions. So, the only way for businesses to protect themselves and their employees from legal disputes is not to shy away from creating accurate and detailed policies. For instance:
- Businesses should require their employees to track all hours spent working inside and outside the office.
- Employers can limit “off-the-clock” work and set some guidelines such as no remote working outside of employee’s norm or no remote work during an unpaid leave.
- As for the discrimination issue, a good policy is again a comprehensive solution. Good judgment in communication should be another policy point. It’s also useful to remind employees that the company’s policies prohibiting harassment and discrimination apply to all the devices under the BYOD policy.
What Does the Future Hold for BYOD?
As the statistics above show, BYOD is still alive and, even more important, rather kicking. However, it seems that companies are more likely to use BYOD as an augmentation, not a substitute, of their traditional working way. The already cited Samsung study suggests that 52% of the surveyed companies use a kind of hybrid BYOD approach, in which some staff members still rely on the enterprise-provided tech.
Probably, a clever combination of the brightest of the two worlds may become the best bet: it would help companies to join the growing BYOD movement and, at the same time, partially avoid the problems mentioned above. Though, if you are not about implementing something halfway, you already know how to address the major BYOD concerns of today.