Everything You Need To Know About BYOD Policies

A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy is becoming more and more popular in today’s offices.

Businesses that offer remote opportunities, operate in several locations, or have a national spread of employees are particularly popular candidates for adopting BYOD policies.

Further, thanks to advances in cybersecurity measures, businesses of all sizes are now considering the pros and cons of adopting BYOD policies.

A person in a black and white striped shirt carrying a laptop out of a workspace.

Pros of a BYOD Policy

Studies in remote work, as well as companies that have successfully adopted BYOD policies, have revealed a range of different benefits to working from your device.

These include administrative benefits for business leaders as well as individual benefits to employees.


Budget-Friendly

Companies can save money by creating and instituting a bring-your-own-device policy. BYOD policies reduce or remove the need altogether to purchase things like laptops, chargers, and other tech accessories. These small purchases can add up to significant savings, depending on the size of your company. With a BYOD policy, companies also don’t need to insure devices against employee damage or loss. This can also add up to overhead savings.

According to Cisco’s analysis of the financial impact of BYOD policies, companies can save an average of $350 per employee, per year with a basic BYOD policy. Furthermore, a comprehensive BYOD policy can save companies another $1,300 annually. These savings can benefit any business, no matter the size.


Reduced Training

In addition to the money saved on appliances and insurances, BYOD policies can save money by decreasing the amount of time spent training new and existing employees. BYOD policies reduce training needs because employees come in with an established familiarity for their devices set up, organization, and basic troubleshooting.

With this saved time, organizations can focus on software training, rather than hardware training. This is beneficial for updates and scheduled maintenance as well. If employees are using their own devices, they may be more likely to stay on top of scheduled software updates.


Increased Productivity

Another advantage that studies have shown in favor of BYOD policies is an increase in employee productivity and satisfaction. Deloitte even stated that 83% of tech professionals with flexible policies like BYOD were more satisfied with their work than those working with less flexible policies. High employee satisfaction is a boon in many ways. It can:

  • Increase productivity;
  • Increase overall revenue;
  • Reduce employee turnover;
  • Reduce frustration in the face of challenges.

Increased productivity can help improve not only the quantity of work produced but the quality of employee work as well. If employees feel satisfied with the tools they have at hand, they are more likely to use them to their fullest extent, rather than cut corners because devices are too slow or difficult to maneuver.


Cons of a BYOD Policy

There are some drawbacks to adopting a bring-your-own-device policy, especially if you don’t prepare your company and employees beforehand.

Employees and business leaders alike worry about security and data privacy when devices are standardized across the company.

Who has access to what, and when, are serious questions that need to be answered before you can implement a BYOD policy.


Security Risks

Having dozens, if not hundreds of personal devices connected to a work network can increase security risks. It increases the number of access points hackers have to a network, and without standardized cybersecurity measures, it can also be catastrophic. Companies may also be concerned about their employee’s ability to download and share proprietary information, therefore risking exposure.


Privacy Concerns

Although companies have plenty of security concerns when it comes to BYOD policies, they’re not alone either. Employees may also have privacy concerns with BYOD policies. Since many workplaces will have the ability to access devices or outsource services, many employees may question how their employers will monitor their working data.

Remote tracking — whether or not their employers can see what they’re doing on their devices during working hours — may be another privacy concern that employees have when it comes to using their personal devices.


Diverging Employee Interests

Adopting a BYOD policy may not be universally preferred by all employees. Companies may meet pushback from some employees who would prefer to have their tools provided by the workplace.

There are a variety of reasons why employees may push back, whether that be because they don’t have the income to provide for several working devices or they simply don’t want to travel with expensive personal devices for work. This could be a barrier to implementing a company-wide policy, which is the most efficient way to create a BYOD policy.


How to Create an Effective BYOD Policy

Creating an effective device policy can help you maximize the benefits your company experiences, and minimize any drawbacks we’ve mentioned. It’s important to note that BYOD policies will vary from business to business, based on the type of business, their specific priorities, and other personalized factors. However, there are things that all businesses can do to create a BYOD policy that fits their needs. The first step is to address security.


Create a Plan to Combat Security Risks

Because your employees will each have different devices, likely with varying operating systems and capabilities, it’s important to create a security plan that works universally to combat risks. This includes investing in security software, such as network monitoring or device identification. Doing so enables you to make sure unauthorized devices are not connecting to your company’s network.

This is a very critical part of any BYOD action plan because hackers are looking for access points to your network. If employees access the network on unsecure, unauthorized devices, hackers can take advantage of these devices and tap into your entire network.

Here are some other great ways to optimize BYOD security:

  • Deploy a centralized anti-malware solution: Install it on all authorized devices and update it regularly;
  • Require a virtual private network (VPN) for company data access: Creates a private, secure tunnel to minimize risk;
  • Consider using a tool to manage endpoint app usage: Although this may infringe on employee autonomy with their devices, an endpoint-management tool enables IT administrators to prohibit devices from accessing vulnerable apps such as Facebook Messenger;
  • Prioritize mobile device security management: Biometric identification (thumbprint, facial ID) and strong passwords are just the beginning; if employees can use their mobile devices on your network, make sure you can wipe those devices remotely if they’re compromised; regulate or monitor a device’s whereabouts through geofencing or geolocation software; have IT institute in-transit and at-rest date encryption.

Security is the first priority for any BYOD policy. But at the same time, you need to dedicate efforts to ensure the policy is effectively implemented and managed:

  • Consider why you want to adopt a BYOD policy: The first step in creating a BYOD policy should be to identify and understand why you want to adopt a BYOD policy in the first place. What pain points, of either your employees or business processes could be addressed by having this policy? How will this policy improve workflow or productivity? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can move on to more in-depth planning.
  • Communicate with employees before implementation: Once you’ve created a security plan, and written out a policy, it’s important to communicate with your employees before it becomes official. This way you can prepare employees for the upcoming change, as well as receive feedback or questions that can be used to update or inform your final policy.
  • Review your BYOD policy periodically: Once you’ve finalized and implemented your policy, it’s important to keep reviewing it to make sure it stays as relevant and efficient as possible. In the early days, you may want to review this policy quarterly. By reviewing it frequently, you can work out any roadblocks that arise. Once you’re more established, you can review the policies at the same time that you review your other company policies, such as once a year.

There are many benefits to creating a BYOD policy, which is why so many companies have adopted one. When creating any new workplace policy, it’s important to stay transparent and to work closely with HR to ensure that everyone’s needs are met.

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