Further Thoughts On BYOD Policies
Personally, I’ve been against BYOD from the onset, and, to this day, I remain firm in my position. Even when executed well, I see little advantage. Clearly, if your BYOD policy is to have no policy at all, offering no support to your employees, and caring nothing about what they do with it, then you stand to save quite a bit. But understand that, that mentality brings with it a lot of added risk, which could cost you dearly down the road in terms of loss of data, security breaches, and other sorts of headaches.
If you really want to allow BYOD, then you need to do it right.
I wrote a 2-part blog post in 2012 on what you should be looking for (yes, 3 years ago but clearly still relevant today, the links are for Part 1 and for the concluding piece). If you’ve done proper due diligence, you need to check if you’re truly saving money since at the end of the day, for your company, this is the only reason why you’re doing this.
How do you evaluate if the practice has saved you money? Don’t just count the number of phones or computers you didn’t purchase. Count also the maintenance and support you had to set up. Compare that with what you’d spend if the devices belonged to the company and were identical, employees all carrying the same software, locked up and set so they can’t install anything on them, all linked to an MDM software – you know, an ideal world wherein you’re fully in control!
Your employees might have another point of view though, and I do believe you should ask for their opinion.
For instance, are they happy using their personal devices for work and risking the loss of personal data should something happen to the device and you have no option save to wipe it remotely (you did get them to sign off on that, right?) Do they find it convenient to use only one phone and still have access to their work emails? Or to be able to use your app on the go, without having to carry multiple devices? Yes, they may have been excited about this idea initially, but since you’re reevaluating, you might just want to see if that’s still the case. I wouldn’t be surprised if you find that quite a few would like to go back to separating personal and work devices.
Another aspect to be considered – did this truly increase productivity? When you give out company owned devices, you might not give one to each employee. Those who didn’t receive one, stop working once they leave the office. When you allow the use of BYOD, everyone in the company has a device they can use; so they’re always “working” – or thereabouts. They’re always in a position where they can be ready to do work, if they so choose. In fact, because of BYOD and the ubiquity of connectivity, we’re all living a new type of work experience – we are always working, we never truly disconnect. So, yes, allowing BYOD may have increased overall productivity. This is a vital aspect of the overall policy that must be kept into account. The headaches that come from BYOD may very well be well offset by the gains in overall productivity and permanent availability.
By the same token, you need to be sure that your policies are well set, and towards this end, I firmly believe that what I wrote in that 2-part blog post continues to apply today, perhaps even more so. And for as much as I remain against BYOD, I too have had to make concessions over the years, at least as it relates to email access.