Device Distraction: The Dos and Don’ts of Employee BYOD Policies

It’s become a boon and a problem at companies all across America – the BYOD phenomenon. Employers love it because it saves them money on outfitting employees with devices for work. IT departments hate it because it introduces new security challenges. If you’re thinking of jumping on the bandwagon, here’s what you should think about.

Locking Down Your Proprietary Apps and Documents

First things first! You need to lock down mission-critical applications and documents. When you open up your corporate network to any and all devices, one thing that can happen is that unknown devices on your network can potentially sabotage or infect your network with malware or viruses.

It doesn’t have to be a malicious user, either. Some otherwise innocuous applications installed on a user’s phone or tablet might naturally collect information about the user without his or her knowledge. Then, that app reports back to third-parties.

The information collected is used for advertising purposes. But, what happens when those apps go snooping around your network and find sensitive documents?

Breach!

Set up a separate network for employees, or move sensitive material off the main network into a sandboxed area with tightened security.

Keeping Track Of Company Devices

The company devices you do have need to be tracked now. With employees coming in and out of the office with their own devices, it’s time to employ this type of asset tracking software so that IT resources are not consumed with tracking individual devices by hand.

Tracking applications and information that’s installed on employees’ devices is also necessary, as they can more easily access and remove documents from the company’s servers now.

Malware Threats

Malware threats are always a problem, but they become more of one once you let un-vetted devices on your network. If a user is infected with malware, that infection could spread to your network and bring it down, or silently scoop up information from others’ devices and report back to the individual or company that installed the malicious software.

Compliance Issues

HIPAA compliance introduces some interesting challenges when BYOD is implemented. If your company is subject to HIPAA compliance, BYOD is a potential nightmare. Why? Because any application or device that collects information about users and reports to a third party is a potential vendor and a potential data leak that places the liability squarely on your corporate shoulders.

Controlling the flow of information usually means purging all non-compliant or non-vetted devices from the network.

Wage and Hour Problems

Are employees taking their work home with them? If so, you may have a wage and hour issue waiting to blow up in your face. Employees that are working need to be paid. If they’re working on their mobile devices outside of work, they may be due overtime. If you’re not monitoring access to the servers, even remote access, your labor costs could swell.

Or, you could find yourself battling lawyers or the state over wages not paid for work performed.

Patrick Young is the manager of a warehouse. He enjoys writing about his experiences on the internet. His articles appear on many business and management websites.

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