When you were hired for your first job, your employer probably provided you with all of the materials and devices you needed to get your work done. From your computer — or maybe even an electric typewriter — to a phone, printer and more, when you left for the day, all of the work-related materials stayed on your desk.
Now, thanks to the concept of “bring your own devices” or BYOD, employees are often using their own computers, laptops, tablets and phones for work purposes.
Whether your employees are asking for a BYOD policy or you are thinking about one as a way to possibly save money on new computer and phone equipment, there are some safety and financial issues to take into account. To make sure that employees who BYOD will not cause any problems for either your company’s security or budget, check out the following tips:
Have a Very Clear Plan in Place
Start by establishing a clear plan for proper BYOD protocol. If you want your team to download and use a specific email server for company emails, that should be included in the plan. So should using a specific server for work, expectations about using their device for personal reasons while at work, and rules about what is acceptable to download from the company files and what is strictly off limits.
Make Strong Passwords the Norm and Change Them Often
To help ensure that any sensitive business info does not fall into the wrong hands, ask that everybody change their passwords every 60 days. If you get the sense that your team is grumbling about this rule, make it fun by announcing a Pizza and Password day and treat everyone to lunch. You can also require that employees set their devices to require the password to be re-entered after a period of inactivity; this way, if they leave their tablet or laptop at Starbucks, whoever picks it up won’t be able to access work emails or sensitive information.
Require the Use of Wi-Fi When Away On Business
If members of your team go on international business trips, require them to use their own smartphone’s Wi-Fi calling ability whenever they are making international calls. This will reduce the amount of expensive phone bills that they submit to the accounting department for reimbursement. To do this as affordably as possible, consider encouraging your team to switch to the T-Mobile network. The company offers a number of Wi-Fi options that will allow your employees to call and text from virtually anywhere by turning their phone into a figurative T-Mobile tower. Employees who make the switch to T-Mobile can be rewarded with a gift card to their favorite restaurant or coffee shop, and those who are already on the network can also receive a reward of some kind to show your appreciation.
Bring the IT Department On Board
Using a personal device at work requires quick and specific responses in certain situations. A classic example of this is when the smartphone is lost; instead of looking for it for a couple of hours and then calling the provider, the employee needs to call you immediately so that your IT experts can wipe the phone clean of any sensitive company information. Speaking of wiping the phone, you should also have a clear policy set up for employees who are leaving the company; any personal device that was used for work should be handed over to the IT department to have business data removed.