BYOD: How to Approach It in the Workplace

There’s an emerging trend in the workplace – Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). It allows employees to use their own personal devices to access work email, corporate databases, viewing and writing documents, among other work-related tasks.
But when employees use their own devices instead of corporate ones, it can be difficult to monitor what they do and ensure that everyone has the same access to documents and actions without compromising security. Here are five guidelines to follow when implementing BYOD in the workplace:

  1. Think it through: Though it sounds like a good idea, BYOD isn’t something simply to be allowed in the workplace without planning. Think of common scenarios where BYOD would and would not be used, the devices and software that are allowed, solicit employee feedback, and determine how updates will be applied so that productivity can remain efficient yet flexible.
  2. Have enough security: With the plethora of devices that employees can use, a business needs security – but to a certain extent. If security is so overwhelming that it bogs down employees’ ability to work freely, then BYOD can’t be used to its fullest potential, which leads to employee frustration.
  3. Allow for choices: Blackberries, Android, Smartphone – employees have choices in the personal devices that they use. However, a business needs to make sure that these heterogeneous devices can work together if work is to get done, and done efficiently.
  4. Balance is key: Though it seems like a contradiction, a business shouldn’t have too much choice either; it can create confusion, plus difficulty in managing the devices, the work that is done, and security policies.
  5. Put it in writing: How do a business and its employees know what is and is not permissible? It’s best to put it in an official, living document that is read by everyone, easily accessible to everyone, and is open to suggestions and feedback. This ensures that the policy is not just a management directive. Make sure it includes all aspects, including what can be used, when it can be used, how security will be applied, and what happens in case of loss or theft.

For any business to survive, they have to look both to the future and to current trends. If allowing BYOD in the workplace, then management needs to provide flexibility while making sure that confidential data and processes are not compromised so that this balance increases employee morale and productivity.