The latest news in office technology movements is the shift toward BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environments; in which employees are bringing their own mobile devices to work. All the cool kids are doing it, but should you? Before you follow the trend and allow your employees to bring their devices to work, you should consider these risks.
Before we get to the risks, let’s talk about the benefits of BYOD. Some positive results include:
- you don’t have to pay for the devices
- increased employee satisfaction
- likely productivity boost
- remote work access
All of this is great in a perfect world, but many companies are learning that these benefits may not be enough to counteract potential liabilities involved with BYOD privacy concerns.
AnyBYODy Can See Your Stuff
This is weird, but as soon as an employee connects their mobile device to a corporate network and downloads company applications, their device can be controlled by the network administrator; the same person who controls company workstations. By joining the network and using company features, the mobile device user (employee) is technically giving the network administrator permission to control their device, just as they would for any other piece of company technology. These permissions can be useful for monitoring unproductive employees who play Angry Birds all day instead of doing their work, but they may lead to some issues.
Here’s the scary part. If taken to an extreme, employers can access their employee’s mobile cameras to track their every move. On a lighter (but still kind of messed up) note, employers can track their employees using GPS location services on the mobile device, monitor device usage habits (like web browsing), collect personal information, and even wipe personal data like pictures, apps, and music from the device. Yikes.
Take EveryBYODy’s Privacy Seriously
You’re probably a nice person, so we don’t have to worry about you acting like the creeper that we just talked about, but, the simple fact that you have the power to do that makes many people nervous, especially your employees and lawyers. In view of these privacy concerns, the use of BYOD in your office will boil down to how much people are willing to trust you. Odds are not in your favor, as studies show that employees trust their employers slightly less than Yoda trusted Darth Vader to bring balance to the Force. Don’t take it personally, many of us would love to be compared to Darth Vader. Also, you shouldn’t take it personally because trust works both ways, between employee and employer. Let’s be honest, there’s a reason why you keep a login password on your computer.
In a recent study of BYOD work environments by Harris, three out of five employees wouldn’t let their boss install an app on their smartphone, or allow them to view what personal apps were already installed. The same study showed that 82% of employees are worried about their bosses tracking their website browsing data. Furthermore, 86% are worried about unauthorized deletion of private data. Way to go, Lord Vader.
It’s Not for EveryBYODy
Considering how much employees really don’t trust their employers, allowing a BYOD work environment may strain your employer-employee relationships and open your company up to peculiar liabilities and lawsuits if that fine line of privacy is crossed. If you’re an advocate of this work environment, we suggest having a fireproof policy in place (approved by your attorney) that will cover your bases in the event of a weird issue.
As the boss, it’s your call whether to allow BYOD or not in your office. Before making the decision, be sure to consider the risks on both sides. PACE Technical Services’s IT consulting service can certainly help with this decision. Give us a call today at 905.763.7896 and let us know about your unique needs, so we can suggest the best possible BYOD solution for everyBYODy in your company!