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Hybrid work

13 BYOD best practices to embrace this tech shift smoothly and safely


June 20, 2024


June 21, 2024

Although implementing a BYOD policy in your workplace has various advantages, it also includes some challenges, such as cybersecurity risks, data privacy, or compatibility issues. Therefore, understanding and adopting the BYOD best practices is crucial for this model to work successfully.

As flexible work arrangements are now the norm, letting employees bring their own devices to work is simply easier and more cost-effective than providing equipment for each person. Imagine seeing the office half empty with 50% of the computers off as their owners work from home. What a waste of resources and money.

Let's review the BYOD dos and don'ts so you can implement this resource management strategy while minimizing the potential downsides associated with this practice.

The main risks and challenges when letting employees bring their own devices

Employees' data privacy

With a BYOD policy, your staff is mixing personal and work data on the same device. This increases the risk of the company inadvertently monitoring or accessing workers' private information. For instance, if an employee uses a personal phone for work, some companies may require the installation of security software to track location, view app usage, and even access photos and emails. This intrusive management expands beyond work-related activities. It can breach the employee's expectation of privacy for their personal data, conversations, and whereabouts while off the clock.

Cybersecurity risks and threats

Moreover, allowing BYOD can introduce greater cybersecurity risks, as employees' devices often lack uniform security measures. 

Let’s say one of your team members might connect his laptop to a compromised public Wi-Fi network. This can enable cybercriminals to infiltrate the device. When the hackers’ laptops connect to the company's network, they could potentially access sensitive corporate data, launch malware, or execute a ransomware attack. 

This issue is usually less of a problem with company-issued devices as they are generally fortified with standardized, robust security protocols and restricted from insecure networks.

Devices compatibility

Lastly, your staff might also face a technological compatibility issue when adopting a BYOD policy. Employees use a wide array of personal devices with different operating systems, software versions, and hardware capabilities. 

For instance, an office adopting a new project management tool may find it works seamlessly on the latest smartphones but has functionality issues or is unavailable on older models. This disparity can hinder workflow, as workers with incompatible devices may be unable to access essential features or install some tools. This can impact efficiency and require the need for alternative solutions or workarounds that can complicate collaborative processes and productivity.

👉 Read our article about BYOD's advantages and disadvantages also to understand the perks of this system!

women working on laptop at cafe
Woman using personal laptop at cafe

13 BYOD best practices to apply before and after implementing this system

Aspects to consider before implementing a Bring Your Own Device policy

1. Make sure everyone wants a BYOD policy

Although most people request to be able to use their own devices for work, some employees might not see it as an advantage. Workers who value distinct boundaries between work and personal life might resist using their personal phones for work. 

Also, not everyone has technology at home that is as good as the corporate hardware they get from the company. Yet, they might not want or be able to invest in it just for work. Assessing willingness to use personal devices for work before implementing a BYOD policy is crucial to ensure employee buy-in and the success of the policy. 

If some people are uncomfortable with or unable to use their devices due to privacy concerns, financial constraints, or technological discrepancies, mandating a BYOD policy can lead to dissatisfaction, decreased morale, and reduced productivity.

2. Inform your staff about the potential ethical issues related to BYOD policies

It is essential to inform employees about potential privacy, ethics, and inclusion issues related to BYOD practices. The IT team may need access to an employee's personal device for security audits, which could expose private data. From an ethical point of view, this can be problematic, as personal messages or sensitive information, such as health records, could be inadvertently seen.

Inclusion is another concern. Not all employees can afford state-of-the-art technology, potentially creating a divide in access and opportunities within the workforce. By addressing these issues upfront, companies can look for solutions to foster a respectful and unbiased work environment.

3. Foresee the possible people-related challenges and find solutions

This is another important best practice we want to highlight before implementing a BYOD policy: think of the potential challenges you might have to face ahead. 

For instance, what if an employee can’t afford the type of laptop they require to perform their job? Are you going to pay for it? How do you explain to other team members that you pay for some employees' equipment but not for theirs? 

All these are concerns you need to think ahead of time to avoid problems later on and maintain ethical and inclusive practices in the workplace. In this case, a BYOD employee stipend could be a solution.

4. Create a BYOD policy

Creating a clear and detailed BYOD policy is vital to defining boundaries and expectations. Without a specific policy, you may encounter issues if your employee loses their device with sensitive company data. 

With no clear guidelines about how quickly the employee should report the loss, what steps the company can take to secure the data, or who takes responsibility for any ensuing data breach remain big question marks. 

A detailed BYOD policy avoids such confusion by setting out procedures for security breaches. It protects the company’s interests while ensuring employees understand their responsibilities.

🎬 Watch this less than two-minute video about the features of the deskbird app to learn more about our mission and how we can support your hybrid work environment!

Group of people looking at laptops
Group of colleagues using personal devices

BYOD best practices when launching this new system

5. Organize cybersecurity training sessions for all employees

Human error is the main cause of cyberattacks and data leaks.

Training your staff about cybersecurity best practices is essential to ensure your BYOD policy does not give hackers more chances to reach your private data. A personal device, when used without proper security knowledge, can become a weak link and enable malware or hackers to penetrate corporate networks. 

Regular training ensures employees are aware of the latest security protocols. It enables them to learn how to recognize and respond to threats to reduce the risk of security incidents significantly.

6. Encrypt data

Data encryption is a cornerstone of any cybersecurity strategy, but it is even more crucial for organizations with BYOD policies. It ensures information security, especially if a device is lost or stolen. 

An unencrypted phone containing confidential business emails could allow a person who finds it or a thief to get easy access to sensitive corporate information. This can then lead to data breaches and legal consequences. 

Encrypting data on personal devices adds a robust layer of protection, making the information unreadable without the correct encryption key. This security measure significantly mitigates the risk of data exposure, even in the event of physical device compromise.

🚨 How can you increase your hybrid workforce security? Time to find out!

7. Implement an MDM strategy

Developing an MDM strategy goes hand in hand with creating a BYOD policy. It maintains the security and manageability of devices accessing corporate resources. 

For example, if an employee's personal tablet is used to access company email and documents, MDM tools can enforce security policies such as password protection, encryption, and the ability to wipe data if the device is lost or stolen remotely. 

This helps prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information, ensures compliance with data protection regulations, and gives the company control over how work-related data is handled on personal devices.

8. Set up Zero Trust protocols

The Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) is based on a 'never trust, always verify' principle. This is one of the best approaches for hybrid teams that use their personal devices and often switch between secure corporate networks and potentially vulnerable public networks. 

Take, for example, your colleague Sofia accessing company data from a coffee shop Wi-Fi. With a Zero Trust protocol in place, she would be required to verify both her identity and device security posture before granting access.

This prevents unauthorized entry and mitigates the risk of data breaches in such unprotected settings.

9. Create a list of cybersecurity tips and keep it accessible at all times

Sharing a list of cybersecurity tips with employees is essential for fostering security awareness that extends from BYOB policies to every aspect of digital work life. This ever-accessible resource is a constant reminder and useful reference for best practices, especially for hybrid work environments. We are not going to go through all of the key tips in detail as we’ve just published a complete article about this topic. But, here are the most important aspects your cybersecurity tips list should include:

  • Create a unique username.
  • Activate MFA.
  • Install a remote locate solution.
  • Disable auto-connect options.
  • Use VPNs.
  • Practice the SLAM method.
  • Install the latest software updates. 
  • Etc.

💡 Read the full article about cybersecurity tips for employees to make sure your staff keeps their personal devices and data safe!

Tips to maintain security and efficiency once your BYOD policy is in place

10. Provide an IT support system in case of cybersecurity and technological issues

It is also essential that your staff know whom to talk to in case of technical or cybersecurity issues with their devices. The role of your IT team or an external company is key here.

Your team members must feel comfortable reaching out to their tech colleagues for help if they encounter a problem installing a new tool or if they are unsure about a suspicious email they received. Quick IT intervention increases the chances of resolving concerns rapidly and reinforces safe practices. 

By implementing an IT support system, you help minimize risks to employees' personal devices and the company's data safety and security.

11. Schedule cybersecurity audits regularly

Conducting audits on employees' devices under a BYOD policy is essential for security. Yet, as we mentioned earlier, it must balance privacy concerns. Your staff might be reluctant to give their personal devices for this check, which is 100% understandable.

Transparency and communication are key to ethically executing these audits. Employees should be informed about what the audit entails, why it's necessary, and how it respects their privacy. Audits must focus solely on work-related data and applications, not personal content. You can use automated tools that flag security risks without revealing personal details. 

Before the audit, obtain consent and discuss the process with your team members. This approach ensures compliance while respecting employee privacy. It keeps the process professional and respectful.

💜 Learn more about deskbird and its data and privacy policy.

Woman on mobile phone
Woman on mobile phone

12. Update your teams about the latest cybersecurity measures to apply

Keeping yourself and your employees updated on the latest cybersecurity measures is critical as technology evolves swiftly and hacking techniques become increasingly sophisticated. When cybercriminals develop new methods of attack, outdated security knowledge leaves both personal and company data vulnerable.

Regular updates and training sessions ensure that your team members stay informed. This extra step also helps them recognize potential new threats and apply the most appropriate security practices to protect sensitive information effectively.

13. Back up company data frequently

Lastly, remind your staff to proceed to frequent data backups to safeguard against data loss that can occur from device theft, damage, or cyberattacks, such as ransomware. 

Imagine your colleague Sam's personal device contains critical work documents that could malfunction or get lost. Without her doing regular backups, the information could be lost forever. No need to mention the consequences for her job and your business.

Implementing a routine backup protocol ensures that work-related data is copied and stored securely. You can then enable quick recovery of vital information and continuity of operations in case risky events related to your staff's personal device use occur.

We hope these 13 BYOD best practices help you and your hybrid team determine what you need to do to implement this new system successfully, safely, and securely. You’ll probably have to adjust the list of these do’s and don’ts for your Bring Your Own Device policy according to your industry, size, and needs. Keep in mind that the BYOD concept certainly saves costs and is better for the planet as it reduces the need for resources. Yet, it should consider all the aspects mentioned in this article and be implemented smartly. 

The use of modern and highly-secured technology is certainly one of your best calls to safeguard this approach and your data. The deskbird app complies with the highest standards in terms of security. So, if you want to optimize your hybrid workspace while improving your employees’ experience and saving costs, request a free demo!

13 BYOD best practices to embrace this tech shift smoothly and safely

Paulyne Sombret

Paulyne is a highly respected expert in hybrid work. She's known for her writing on sustainability in the hybrid office, flexible work models, and employee experience. With a strong background in content and SEO, her work explores the exciting trends and latest news in the world of work.

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