How Can a Bring Your Own Device Policy Protect Your Small Business?

How Can a Bring Your Own Device Policy Protect Your Small Business?
The BYOD movement isn’t just for corporations. Discover how a bring your own device policy can help you protect your company’s sensitive data.

Eighty percent of new small businesses fail. Is yours at risk of failure due to data breaches? If you don’t have a “bring your own device policy” set, it could be.

With BYOD, you either allow or require employees to bring their own devices for use at work. This can help reduce the costs of the equipment and increase productivity by allowing employees to use devices they’re familiar with.

But BYOD must come with a policy. These policies govern what employees can and can’t do with those devices, and how sensitive company information will be protected.

If you don’t have a strategy to keep company data safe on these personal devices, it could spell the end for your small business. Wondering how to stay safe? Keep reading to learn more!

What Is a Bring Your Own Device Policy?

First, let’s take a closer look at what a BYOD policy entails.

The first thing these policies cover is when and how personal devices can be used. For example, you might require all employees to bring their own laptops to work. Or, you might offer the option for those who feel more comfortable working on a company computer than a personal one.

Second, the policy manages the responsible use of those devices while on the job. You’ll need to lay out clear guidelines so employees know exactly what’s expected of them.

For example, distracting apps and websites like Facebook might be made off-limits while at work. Or you might give employees the freedom to use devices as they wish, as long as they meet quotas and goals every day.

Part of these guidelines also needs to cover how you’re keeping your company information safe. This is the easiest place for BYOD to go wrong. When employees use sensitive data, like customer contact information, on their devices, how do you protect it?

This is one of the possible drawbacks of BYOD, and the main reason you need a BYOD policy to protect your company. Next, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of implementing BYOD.

BYOD Pros

Many workers are happier and more productive when they can use their familiar personal devices on the job. They won’t have to adjust to typing on a different keyboard or finding apps in different places when they come to work.

You also won’t need to provide devices for any employee who can bring their own. In fact, if you require BYOD, you won’t need to provide any devices at all. This is a lifesaver for small companies that don’t have a lot of funds to spare for equipment.

BYOD Cons

The main drawback of BYOD is the security concerns mentioned above. However, if you implement a bring your own device policy, you won’t have to worry about this negative side of BYOD.

However, it is worth understanding exactly what can go wrong so you’ll know what to cover in your policy. One common issue is when employees lose a device or have a device stolen. Anything from industry secrets to customer information could be on that device.

If the information isn’t protected, you’re facing a security breach that can seriously harm your reputation. However, good BYOD policies keep the risks to a minimum, even if a device goes missing.

You’ll also need to consider company accountability for what employees do on their devices on the job. If an employee is using their personal device to commit a crime for personal reasons, your business might be held liable if it’s being done while they’re at work.

One more small thing to consider is the changes to IT support. Offering IT help to people who are all using different devices is a lot different than if they’re all using the same one. However, a skilled IT department can navigate this challenge.

What a Good BYOD Policy Should Have

To minimize the risks, how should you bring your own device policy look?

Start by clearly defining how this policy will benefit your employees. Some employees will be uncertain about being asked to bring their own devices to work.

They might worry about the added wear and tear on their phones or computers. However, if you show them how the policy will make their job easier, they’ll get on board.

You should also start out by stating how important information security is. This will make sure that employees understand the possible risks right away. Then, you can delve into what exactly is expected of them.

For example, you can list acceptable, permitted device uses while on the job. This might include limitations on personal use of devices or a list of approved or off-limits websites.

It’s often better to start with a more open policy than a more restrictive one. This shows employees that you trust them to get the job done, and you can always change the policy later as needed.

You can also lay out which kinds of devices and operating systems are permitted. This can make life easier for your IT department than just saying anything goes.

Finally, and most importantly, you’ll want to detail the security risks and expectations. You might require all devices used to be protected with a password. You can tell employees that devices will be remotely wiped if they are lost or stolen.

The exact nature of the security measures you choose is up to you. However, what’s important is that you have a policy that will protect your company from the most common security threats.

Implementing BYOD at Your Company

Implementing BYOD will bring your company into the modern day. Your employees will be happier and more productive, while you’ll save big on equipment costs. A solid bring your own device policy will prevent almost all the potential BYOD problems.

When you’re ready to put together a BYOD policy, make sure to review it with a solid team of leaders at your company. Then, share the excitement of BYOD with your employees and watch your company thrive.

Not sure if your IT department is ready for the change? We can help — check out our remote tech support options here.

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