October 12, 2015
BYOD has so many advantages. If done correctly, it can boost productivity while lowering operational costs. BYOD powers your business 24-7, without having to staff the office around the clock. It can improve communications and lead to a happier workforce. But the downsides of BYOD cannot be ignored. Without the right policies -- and the IT infrastructure to back those policies up -- your BYOD policy could lead to disaster. Here are several disasters you need to know how to avoid.
|It's a sue-happy age, and businesses are often the targets, even when those businesses don't have the deep pockets workers think they do.|
1. Employee Lawsuits
Some hourly workers have sued their employers, claiming they were not paid for the overtime associated with using their device when off the clock. Other workers have sued over privacy issues, such as managers or IT personnel reading their personal messages or viewing their private photos. BYOD should be reserved to salaried workers, and there should be clear verbiage in your policy that states who can view private information, under what circumstances, and what can be done with it (such as wiped if the device is lost). Get the legal team on board when drafting BYOD policies, because they will have an entirely different viewpoint than IT, the executives, and any union reps that may be involved.
2. Federal Scrutiny & Penalties
If workers access regulated data via mobile devices outside the confines of your organization, it could be against regulations. For example, this would violate regulations like HIPAA, Dodd-Frank, and government mandates regarding consumer data. Penalties could include federal probation with oversight of your organization for some period of time, and even criminal charges up to and including prison time. To avoid these issues, involve your legal team in BYOD policy making. Also, restrict data access to mobile devices when the data is regulated.
3. Sensitive Data Moved to Consumer Cloud Services
Consumer cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, iDrive, Box, and others make it easy for your workers to store critical and/or sensitive documents outside the purview of your IT staff. For example, a worker can easily snap a photo of a financial document or other IP and upload it to Dropbox. Now sensitive info is in the consumer cloud, and no one in your organization even knows it. Strict policies backed by significant consequences can deter this kind of activity. make sure policies are applied consistently across the organization; if your mid-level managers are allowed to get by with it, it won't be long before the rank-and-file staffers are following suit.
4. A Decline in Productivity
Facebook, Pinterest, Etsy, YouTube .... all excellent sources of entertainment for lunch and breaks, but serious time wasters during working hours. You can, of course, blacklist these apps and sites, but that can deteriorate the goodwill and morale you fostered by initiating a BYOD policy. It's much better to begin a rewards system for productivity that encourages workers to get things done and not waste time.
Reimbursement is risky. Your finance team needs to go over every claim thoroughly to assure your business isn't paying for a bloated family plan or non-work-related overseas call charges.
5. Employee Abuse of Reimbursement
Ludicrously expensive overseas calls and text messages, receiving reimbursement for an entire family plan, charging the business for ridiculously expensive device upgrades, putting eye-popping termination fees on the company's tab, taking the highest data plan available and then running up excessive charges above and beyond that -- these are just some of the ways employees can cheat their employers with BYOD reimbursement policies. It's imperative that the finance department goes over reimbursement requests rigorously to keep these things from sucking the company's profits.
6. Technical Issues
Along with the people aspect of BYOD problems, there are also technical issues to consider. First, there are the compatibility issues associated with the various devices that need to access the system -- iPhones, Androids, BlackBerry, etc. Second, there are significant issues with viruses, malware, ransomware, and other dangers.
Mobile devices are typically less protected and more vulnerable by nature than corporate machines. Finally, your IT team will need to assure that the bandwidth and infrastructure are in place to cater to this influx of devices. BYOD doesn't just double the amount of demand on your equipment, it can triple it. IT needs to work hard and plan wisely to assure good network performance with 2-3 times the number of devices accessing your systems.
Would you like to learn more about what it takes to keep up with network efficiency issues as your company strives to stay on top of BYOD and other workplace innovations? Download this free Cost of Network Efficiency whitepaper, your gift from NETSCOUT.