How to write a mobile device usage policy

Not only does a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy keep your staff happy, but it can save your business a fortune. Here's how you can write a mobile device usage policy that works for your business…

Around 67% of employees are currently using personal devices at work.

Giving your people the freedom to use the mobile devices that they prefer in and around the office can be a good thing. Afterall, who doesn’t feel more productive when they can use the tools they already feel comfortable and familiar with?

Not only does a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy keep your staff happy, but it can save your business a fortune in purchasing professional smartphones for the workforce too.

Of course, if you want to get the most out of mobile devices in your company, then you’re going to need to make sure you’re taking steps to keep those tools secure. Mobile devices are some of the most vulnerable tech items we own because they’re often easily exploited by hackers. However, a well-written mobile device policy for employees can minimise the risk and keep your teams on the right track.

Here’s how you can write a mobile device usage policy that works.

Step 1: Decide which devices you’re going to permit

First, think about what kind of operating systems and accessories you’re willing to support. Some tools can be more secure than others, and your IT team might be more comfortable serving a specific operating system. Keeping your requirements the same for all of your employees will reduce the amount of work you need to do when it comes to managing mobile policies.

Ask yourself whether you’re going to allow both Android and iOS phones, or whether it will be easier to request your users to stick to just one. Additionally, make sure you know whether your mobile device usage policy also includes tablets.

Step 2: Establish security and backup policies

Some of your employees are unlikely to have lock screens and passwords on their personal smartphone and mobile devices. If that’s the case, you’re going to need to overcome this issue before you implement your BYOD policy. Make sure that your employees know they’re going to have to take steps to keep their devices secure if they want to use them at work. This means:

  • Implementing a secure password for the phone itself, complete with a PIN or lock screen
  • Using two-factor authentication for any software or tools related to the business
  • Being open to biometric security strategies like fingerprint scanning for extra security

To keep professional data safe and secure, make sure that your teams know how to correctly back their mobile devices up to the cloud too.

Step 3: Define a service policy

Next, you’ll need to consider how much your organisation will support the employee-owned devices in a BYOD policy. If your employees are using their devices for work as well as play, then you have a stake in making sure that they can continue to access the tools and apps you need. However, you can’t devote your IT team to troubleshooting problems that arise from personal usage of a device.

Make sure that your employees understand the boundaries of your service offering when it comes to implementing your mobile device usage policy. Decide how much time and skill you’re going to dedicate to providing helpdesk support, fixing broken devices, and even offering loaner devices if a phone or tablet is being serviced.

Step 4: Choose which apps will be allowed

Apps are becoming an increasingly important component of the modern workforce. Whether they’re apps that will enable your people to collaborate more effectively or tools for word processing, you need to ensure that the software your employees use is secure and well-protected.

One option is to come up with a blacklist as part of your mobile device policy for employees. This will outline all of the software that you don’t want your teams to install on their personal/business devices. You’ll also need to think about whether you can avoid having your teams download software at all by giving them access to tools over the cloud instead.

Step 5: Set up an exit strategy

Finally, make sure you know what you’re going to do if someone decides to leave your company and take their device with them. Are you going to be able to wipe their phone of all the data that might be related to your company? How will you make sure that they can no longer access cloud-based software and other applications relevant to your business?

When you’re implementing a BYOD policy, you can’t just ask someone to return their phone and leave it with you if they move to another company. With that in mind, make sure you’re prepared to take the right steps when enforcing the removal of access tokens, data, and applications.

Implementing a mobile device usage policy

Writing a mobile device usage policy is crucial for any company considering using BYOD or mobile tools at work. Remember, your document may have to evolve as your business grows and changes, so make sure you track adherence to your rules and put strategies in place so you can continuously audit and improve your guidelines.

If you’re ready to learn more about security and mobile device management, talk to the team at Nice Network – we can help you get started.