How to ensure your BYOD policy doesn't fail

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Bring your own device seems to be everywhere these days. Businesses are turning to BYOD policies as a way to cut down on costs and improve employee efficiency. There are certainly many advantages associated with BYOD, but many companies are finding the policies difficult to implement. In fact,

a recent report

says about one in five BYOD programs will fail by the year 2016. So if there are so many upsides to BYOD and companies want to run with it, why are so many expected to fail? A number of issues seem to be fairly commonplace, but there are solutions available.

A quick definition

BYOD is pretty straightforward at first glance. It’s a program or series of policies that a company adopts, allowing its employees to bring their personal devices to work in order to use them for business-related tasks and duties. Most businesses will put in place certain rules that allow for BYOD to work smoothly, but the intent is to cut down on IT costs while giving employees the opportunity to use devices they’re already familiar with.

Problem: Privacy concerns

There are a number of big reasons why experts believe BYOD programs will fail for so many companies. Many employees may not choose to bring their own personal devices to work over some significant concerns they may have about the overall program. For one thing, they may have worries over privacy. BYOD policies usually require IT crews to have some kind of access to the device. Even though this access is usually fairly limited, even having a little bit of personal information available to someone else could make workers feel uncomfortable.

Solution: Separation of professional and personal lives

Establishing a good “fence” between work applications and personal applications can help ease many of these concerns. As long as employees use work applications for work, any additional access will be unnecessary by IT workers. Proper communication over what files can and can’t be accessed by others can also help employees understand what will be monitored.

Problem: Personal expenses

Employees may also be concerned over increased personal expenses. By using their own devices, workers don't only have to deal with the cost of the devices, but the upkeep as well. They are also responsible for data charges if they’re using mobile devices and the cost of applications they may need for work. These extra expenses may prevent them from participating in a BYOD program.

Solution: Reimbursements

Companies can set up special reimbursement plans to compensate workers for app costs of data surcharges. As long as employees are using the devices specifically for work purposes, this can always be figured into the budget.

Problem: Poor planning

Picking the right policies for a BYOD program requires careful consideration. Often, overlooking certain issues can lead to significant problems. Companies have to approve which

apps, platforms, and services

are compatible with their policies. If done haphazardly, there’s a possibility of harmful apps being downloaded to devices intended for work use, which could lead to security issues.

Solution: Update the program

Technology advances rapidly, and every day there are new applications available for download. If a company is still relying on BYOD policies it established four or five years ago, chances are it won’t be flexible enough to deal with today’s newest offerings and challenges. A good BYOD program needs to be

maintained and updated

on a regular basis, or else it won’t be able to address the needs of the business.

Problem: Restrictive policies

One of the main reasons for a BYOD program failure is the restrictive nature of the policies adopted by the company. If they are too limiting, employees will have little incentive to bring their devices to work. Some overbearing limits may include restricting access to too many features on the device. If there are enough restrictions, the device may not feel like a personal one anymore.

Solution: Clearly define policies

It all comes down to clear communication between management and employees. While business leaders will want employees to operate at maximum efficiency, they must also understand that the employee owns the device. Finding a good middle ground for what both sides will accept is essential in establishing the right policies that will still allow employees to work but not give up too much freedom over their devices.

Never forget that learning from past mistakes and successes is an important part of establishing what will work for a particular company. Business leaders who find out the details of other businesses’ successful BYOD policies can implement identical or similar policies in their own companies. By heeding these guidelines, a BYOD program can thrive, evolve, and be a part of a company for many years.

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