According to eMarketer, more than 2 billion people worldwide will have a smartphone by 2016. Let’s face it, people live by their mobile devices. In fact, it’s starting to take over as the most common way consumers access the internet, surpassing the PC. And this doesn’t even take into account other types of popular devices, such as tablets and laptops.
What does this mean for businesses? Well, in addition to a shift toward mobile marketing, many companies are also realizing the benefits of allowing workers to use their own devices in the office. Of course, along with these benefits come additional challenges and risks. If you’re considering implementing a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy in your property management company, here are a few best practices to consider.
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Set Clear, Specific Guidelines
A few decades ago, a BYOD policy would only have to cover one or two types of devices because, well, that’s all there were to choose from. Today, with many different brands and operating systems, the options are virtually endless. As a result, the risks associated with BYOD have increased exponentially. The first step in establishing a policy is clearly defining which devices are permitted.
Define Security Criteria
Your workers may not be thrilled that they have to use passwords for all their approved devices, but that’s something they’ll simply have to learn to live with. Specify what is and isn’t allowed, and what the criteria is for securing any devices used for work purposes (i.e. they must feature strong alphanumeric passwords) and enforce these regulations from the get-go.
Take Steps to Protect Data
With BYOD, employees of your firm will inevitably need to access and use data that is work-related. They will also likely have data on their devices that belongs to them, such as apps they have purchased and pictures they have stored. It should be made abundantly clear that approved devices will be wiped clean in the event of a breach or following the end of employment, which may result in the loss of personal content. To avoid any issues down the road, provide guidance to employees on how they can properly back up their personal data so it can be adequately restored if need be.
Establish (or Enhance) Your Acceptable Use Policy
Chances are your organization already has guidelines in place for how employees are allowed to use your network. Take this a step further by integrating your BYOD policy with these requirements. For instance, make sure workers understand what apps they can use, what types of sites they can (and can’t) browse and how information can and should be shared via their own devices.
Include an Exit Strategy
Don’t forget to incorporate an exit strategy into your BYOD policy for when an employee leaves the company. Remember that with bring-your-own-device, a person’s access isn’t necessarily severed once they’ve left the four walls of your property management office. To protect sensitive data, include access disablement and, if necessary, a final wipe of any devices that were used during the course of employment as part of the process.
Allowing your employees to use their own devices, such as phones, tablets and laptops, to conduct their day to day work can dramatically cut costs for your business. It can also drive up workplace morale. Of course, this type of policy does not come without certain inherent risks as well. By planning ahead and applying the above tips, you can effectively incorporate a BYOD policy to the benefit of your company.
Have you successfully launched a BYOD policy in your property management firm? What tips and best practices could you offer? Please share in the comments below.
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