With more workplaces going fully remote, more engineers need to support BYOD policies. Here’s where to start.
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are nothing new for companies in every market. However, they’re becoming more crucial as more employees are working from home across the globe. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic was changing the way workplaces operate, a Bitglass report showed the 85 percent of organizations were allowing BYOD in some form.
BYOD can provide many benefits to both businesses and employees. Workers can use devices they’re already familiar with, and employers can save on device costs. It requires unique steps and clear policies to be effective and secure, however.
During this uncertain time, it’s more important than ever for engineers to remain available, and supporting BYOD policies is one big way to optimize productivity when employees are working remotely.
These five tips will help technology staff support the use of personal devices:
1. Clearly state policy guidelines
The entire team may already be working remotely, so you first need to figure out the best way to communicate the new policy. Send an email with the announcement and post the policy in an online employee handbook or another place on the cloud where everyone can access it.
The policy should include the company’s guidelines in the following areas:
- Which devices are allowed:g., iPhones, tablets, Android smartphones
- Security requirements, such as passwords, PINs, and multi-factor authentication
- Expectations for usage: personal vs. business use and hours
- An employee exit plan: disabling company applications, email, and data access
- Data storage policies: separating personal and business data, and cloud-storage solutions
- Reimbursement process: what kind of financial support, if any, the company is offering for BYOD
If necessary, provide a live virtual training session that will inform employees of everything that’s expected of them as the BYOD policy is rolled out. It also gives them a chance to ask questions and express concerns.
2. Using the right software and applications
Certain device security applications can be used by all employees that ensure that each device is secure and meets your company's criteria. This keeps proprietary data safe. But you’ll also need to think through which applications employees can have access to on their devices, and which should be prohibited or limited.
Also, consider incorporating mobile device management (MDM) software into your policy. This software allows engineers to monitor all BYOD devices across the team, and configure and update them as necessary. MDM software improves and enforces security, initiates automatic data backups and updates, and wipes the devices of exiting employees, all from a remote location.
3. Think about what workers need to do their jobs
An effective BYOD policy is more than just security and monitoring capabilities. It also requires that employees have all the tools necessary for them to succeed when working remotely. Workers should be able to do their jobs in entirety from home, completing tasks with the same efficiency as if they were in the office.
The specific applications and software may vary based on department and role. Make sure that you remain flexible to provide additional applications or functions for particular employees, as deemed necessary.
4. Involve other departments
Because you may not be aware of each employee's precise roles and responsibilities, it's crucial that you engage other departments when creating the BYOD policy. This will give you a chance to understand and implement additional functions and software that individual teams require.
Involve departments like IT, human resources, legal, administration, training, and risk management. Doing so will ensure that your policy meets the needs of every team and employee.
5. Stay ahead of security risks
One of the biggest threats that a BYOD policy brings to a company is the potential for a breach of sensitive data. That's why it's crucial to implement a carefully planned system for security that includes password and PIN requirements, authentication techniques, data storage guidelines, timeout controls for inactivity, response to failed login attempts, and uploading/downloading requirements.
This type of system requires restricting specific activity or application usage when necessary. For example, implementing an identity management system for your company allows you to install user-by-user controls so that only the people who need sensitive data have access to it.
Other risks have to do with liability and legal protections. Disputes may arise in the event that an employee backs up sensitive data on different devices, a device is used unethically, or IT inadvertently wipes a device and important personal files were also deleted, like photographs.
The vital role of technology staff in formulating and managing BYOD
While workplaces across the country are shifting to remote environments, network engineers need to remain available and help craft clearly stated guidelines for new policies like BYOD. This policy can help employees stay connected using the devices they love, while IT staff can continue to monitor and secure company data.
Wireless network monitoring tools can help network managers stay on top of issues that work-from-home teams face. The Mobile Eye from 7SIGNAL is a Wi-Fi management tool that allows engineers to respond to and resolve home network issues. Learn more about how it enables remote Wi-Fi troubleshooting and management by reading this blog.
7SIGNAL® is a leader in enterprise Wireless Network Monitoring. The 7SIGNAL platform is a cloud-based Wireless Network Monitoring (WNM) solution that continuously troubleshoots the wireless network for performance issues – maximizing network uptime, device connectivity, and network ROI. The platform was designed for the world’s most innovative organizations, educational institutions, hospitals, and government agencies and is currently deployed at Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Microsoft, and many others. 7SIGNAL continuously monitors the connectivity of over 4 million global devices. Learn more at www.7signal.com.