One of the main advantages of BYOD has often been touted as increased worker productivity, but a new report has cast doubt on this assertion. According to Nucleus Research being able to use personal devices may not make employees much more productive after all; with only a handful of companies surveyed reporting a positive return on investment from BYOD policies. This is because device costs are believed to make up less than 10% of an organisations mobility spend; the other 90 per cent covering voice and data charges, support costs, developer costs and software; furthermore, BOYD can actually increase these costs.
Whether or not BYOD serves to increase productivity is still open for debate, but the fact is it is a growing trend and many companies are accepting personal devices into the workplace and as a result it is an important issue that needs to be addressed.
How to make the most of the opportunities and avoid the threats.
As with most changes in the way an organisation operates, the secret is to plan ahead.
The change in how people work and the devices they are using, means that it is essential IT departments establish BYOD guidelines. A clearly defined policy for BYOD must state in advance what the requirements are for the use of personal mobile devices in the workplace; first and foremost to protect company security as employees access email and other corporate data but also to identify and clearly define the boundaries with respect to personal use.
The only way to achieve this is to establish your requirements and clearly lay out the rules and regulations, this way you can avoid all the pitfalls and reap the benefits.
Below is an example of policy guidelines for BYOD
- Use discretion to determine which employees may use personal devices in the workplace as it may not be appropriate for all employees
- Personal devices should be pre-approved by your IT department
- All personal devices should be screened to ensure they have security software installed which is regularly updated. Minimum security requirements, or even a mandatory company-sanctioned security tool should be a pre-condition for allowing personal devices to connect to company data and network resources
- Protect the company intranet by introducing gated access
- Employees should be advised to exercise discretion as it may be distracting to co-workers
- Personal use should be confined to breaks and meal times
- Make employees aware that your company is not responsible for the damage, loss or theft of personal devices
- Employees must never use text messaging or multimedia messaging services when sending company data from personal devices, unless cleared to do so by the IT department
NB: These sample policies are for information purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice, as certain provisions may not be appropriate for your organisation’s particular situation.