BYOD Company Monitoring
How can companies monitor BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the workplace?
by Barry Barcode
Consumerization of IT! That’s what I call it. Otherwise known as BYOD (Bring your Own Device) to work continues to be a growing trend, and with it comes new challenges for companies to effectively manage monitoring – information security, privacy and accountability. There are both advantages and disadvantages of implementing a BYOD policy.
Everyone has their preferences and BYOD allows flexibility in the wide variety of devices on the market in which employees can use to conduct their job, connecting their own personal devices to their company’s intranet. Being able to conduct one’s work on a personally-owned mobile device, such as cell phone usage at work, offers many benefits for both employees and employers. Employees enjoy using their own device that they fill best suits their preferences and in doing so the company benefits from the increased productivity and cost efficiencies.
But it is this blurring of the personal and business use of a mobile device that raises many privacy concerns which, if not properly addressed, may result in privacy breaches and data integrity. As well, there are confidentiality and privacy obligations that the company may be subject to including employees’ rights to privacy and reasonable expectations of privacy and ensuring that these rights and obligations are clearly defined and understood by everyone involved. Not an easy task indeed!
Many employees are leery of using their own devices for work. They don’t want their employers to be able to monitor what they do on their devices, see how long they are on it, and access the content. But, many employees would be pleasantly surprised though. According to a recent study “Weathering the Mobile Storm” by SpiceWorkds1, it was found that less than 50% of employers actually do any device monitoring at all. Only 4% said that they track everything.
So, based on those percentages, there are pretty good odds that your company is in the minority and doesn’t have the extra time, cost and resources to put into tracking your every mobile move. The costs outweigh the benefits of doing so.
Regardless of the route a company chooses, all these factors have to be carefully weighed and considered. Any BYOD policy should address and include:
- Information security and data protection concerns
- Confidentiality issues
- Ownership and purchasing/cost sharing – both of the device and of information contained on the device
- Information regarding any company device monitoring and tracking – outlining when it is permissible and enforcement guidelines
- Considerations regarding termination of employment – what to do with data when an employee leaves
- acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
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