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The importance of setting BYOD policies for the mobile workforce

Any employee who uses their smartphone, laptop or tablet to conduct company business is participating in the current "bring your own device" trend that seems to be rapidly gaining popularity. Many employers are starting to have fewer objections to the practice due to the cost savings associated with not having to buy company-owned hardware and in some cases, software. They also understand the comfort level associated with workers using their own devices.

At Intel for instance, 70 percent of employees use their personal devices to conduct corporate business. But there are issues inherent with this practice, security being the biggest of all. Many of these risks include network viruses that can create havoc, lost or stolen electronic devices with access to company information, and employees electing to store corporate data in their personal files upon termination or finding a new job.

Mitchell Schnurman of the Dallas News writes that nearly 30 percent of companies can remotely scrub an employee's device in the case of loss, theft or departure from the company. However, many employers still don't have formal BYOD policies in place, with many more offering no training on the subject. And in an effort to address these security issues, many businesses will implement a one-size-fits-all policy without taking into consideration the adverse effect it can have on user productivity.

Any company that allows work-related business to be conducted on an employee's personal electronic device would be wise to have a BYOD policy in place in conjunction with an end-user training program. These rules should set clearly defined boundaries between the IT department and the mobile workforce. Any guidelines put in place should not intrude on an employee's privacy when using their personal devices, but should still enable them to be productive at the same time.

For more on BYOD best practices, download our free white paper "Is BYOD Part of Your Company's Field Service Automation Plan?"