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Mar 2014
13
March 13, 2014

Plan Ahead to Avoid Problems with BYOD Policies


Whether it’s to reduce their investment in information technology or for employee convenience, more employers are allowing employees to use their personal electronic communication devices (smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) for work purposes. Often referred to as “Bring Your Own Device” (or BYOD for short), these types of policies and practices can further complicate the already challenging and rapidly evolving landscape of electronic communications in the workplace.

A complete exploration of BYOD issues could fill an entire newsletter, so here are just a few issues that human resources and information technology (IT) professionals should be mindful of:

Security

Make sure employees understand that they are solely responsible for what happens with or to the device and the data/information sent from or stored on it. This includes any security or data breaches and the messages sent from the device. Likewise, employees whose device is lost or stolen should be required to immediately report that occurrence to your IT department. The IT department should also ensure that the security systems for the device are consistent with those your organization uses.

System Usage/Compliance with Policies

Even though they are using theirown device, employees shouldunderstand that they must stillcomply with your organization’s policies regarding such thingsas confidentiality, acceptable conductand anti-harassment/non-discrimination while engaged in any work-related communications or activities.

Privacy and Monitoring

Employees should understand that their activities and communications may be monitored if their device is being used for work purposes. Likewise, the employee should understand and agree that their device may be accessed for purposes of workplace investigations.

Recording Work Time

Non-exempt employees should be required to obtain supervisory approval before engaging in work activities outside of their normal work hours, and must record all such time for payroll purposes.

Use of the Device While Driving

Employees should be advised not to use or check their device for business purposes or make or answer business calls while driving their personal vehicles (or for any reason while operating an employer-owned vehicle).

Data Wiping/Termination of Employment

Make clear to employees what will happen to their device if it is lost or stolen, as well as what must occur upon termination of employment. The employee should authorize the company to remotely wipe the device (including personal information) if necessary, and agree that s/he will either turn the device over to IT before exiting the organization or understand that it will be wiped so that any confidential or business information can be protected.

Ideally, these issues would be addressed in a written or electronically-communicated policy, and the employee’s acknowledgement of the policy and authorizations should be obtained. This will help employees understand their obligations and help your organization avoid allegations of invasion of privacy or violation of federal electronic communications laws.

Taking these precautions will also help prevent misappropriation of confidential or proprietary business information. Given the pace at which technology is developing, you will also need to review and update your policy on a regular and frequent basis.

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