BYOD: the what, the why, and the how
Bring your own device (BYOD) is a trend that’s taking over workplaces of several different industries. A decade ago, few could imagine a hospital that allowed a nurse to pull out her personal smartphone in a patient’s room or a doctor that communicated with care teams over text messages. But now that 77% of Americans own a smartphone and 60% use one for work, the idea becomes much more palatable.
While most companies were hesitant to allow personal devices at work, the pros are significant and hard to ignore. Below, we outline the what, the why, and the how behind using personal devices successfully at work.
How a BYOD practice benefits patients and providers
Industries such as healthcare, finance, legal, and government are required to keep patient-related and client-related communications secure or risk facing heavy penalties. These regulations have traditionally prevented these types of industries from considering personal devices in the workplace. With recent advancements in technology, using personal devices safely in a healthcare or business setting is more than viable: it’s an advantage.
Naturally, the most obvious advantage to BYOD is the cost savings. An annual report by Cisco puts the average cost savings of a bring-your-own-device policy at $350 per employee per year. For a team of 1,000 employees, that’s a savings of $1.75 million over five years.
Additionally, BYOD means higher quality technology. Americans invest in new personal technology much more frequently than businesses do for their employees. In fact, more than 50% of workers over 30 and 61% of Gen Y-ers believe that the technology they use in their personal lives is more effective than those they use at work. By allowing employees to use the technology of their choice, you increase their flexibility, mobility, and ease of use.
Studies also support the notion that employees work faster, keeping productivity higher, when using their own devices. Eliminating the barrier between personal and work-only devices also increases responsiveness, as healthcare providers can check in on high-priority messages securely from outside of work.
What does BYOD look like, in practice?
For hospitals and companies to successfully implement BYOD, a dedicated and secure tool or platform for all workplace communication is paramount.
By using an encrypted messaging app such as miSecureMessages, all work-related communication is locked by password or thumbprint on personal devices. Admins and IT professionals can access all platform communication via the cloud or an in-house server, and even disable access on other devices remotely. Remote disabling is a critical component of any software or tool on employee devices. In cases where devices are stolen (and could fall into the wrong hands) or employees quit suddenly, being able to disable access remotely ensures HIPAA-compliant protection of patient information.
Certainly, there are risks that every company should take seriously when implementing BYOD security. By creating policies that educate employees on security risks such as unsecured Wi-Fi networks or clicking on unfamiliar links sent by strangers, employees can mitigate the risks of cyberattacks and information leaks.
Why you should have a BYOD policy
Only once a new technology is created, can we understand the potential security risks. For a company that allows BYOD practices, this often means that new devices are used in the workplace before the IT department understands all of the potential cybersecurity risks. Therefore, having a forward-thinking policy in place for practicing BYOD is critical.
Your company’s policy should define the rules of how employees can access company resources. This is also where you should specify how employees must protect their devices from unauthorized access, how your IT team will monitor usage on personal devices, and other steps the IT team will take to manage cybersecurity risks.
Most importantly, your IT team will troubleshoot technical issues on employees’ personal devices. That means they must confront issues on Android and Apple phones and Mac and Windows operating systems. By streamlining your IT processes across all types of devices, your IT professionals can empower your BYOD strategy to be secure, sustainable, and successful.
The numbers imply that employees are more productive when working from their own devices. Plus, allowing the use of personal devices saves your company a large sum of money. By putting forward-thinking protections in place, BYOD can be a win-win for your administration and your employees.
Considering BYOD at your own workplace? Allow us to advise you on the best practices for implementing secure messaging or try miSecureMessages with no commitments, for free.