What BYOD Really Means for SMBs


Are you a small-to-medium sized business (SMB) that allows employees to use their personal mobile devices for work without an official Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place? If so, you’re among the nearly 40% of SMBs with no formal policy. There’s a lot of buzz these days about network security implications as BYOD becomes more prevalent. But many SMBs have yet to consider the need for a formal BYOD policy or to examine how such an environment can change—and even strain—the employer/employee relationship. Without a formal policy in place, there are many uncertainties. All kinds of questions start to arise, such as: Who owns the device and phone number? What happens when your employees leave the company? Can you "monitor" all account action—which becomes a mix of business and personal data?  

BYOD is not a temporary “here today/gone tomorrow” trend. With the technology here to stay, SMBs should proactively develop policies that protect their businesses, as well as their employees. When working with SMBs to implement a BYOD environment, our Windstream advisors have come up with a few tips you might find helpful. 

Consider human resources factors. Work with your HR team or advisor to consider concerns employees may have with using their own devices for business purposes. Make sure ownership of the device and phone number is clear. When an employee leaves the company, decide if they‘ll be allowed to leave with customer contact information (and other sensitive company data) stored in the device. The same “acceptable use” policies that govern office computer or desk phone use should also apply to mobile devices used for business.

Develop a process for reporting lost or stolen devices. A section of your BYOD policy should include official steps for reporting lost or stolen devices. Give a specified timeframe during which the missing equipment must be reported. Security is still a major factor for businesses implementing BYOD, so following set standards decreases the risk of a data breach.

Set up activation and deactivation procedures. It’s important that your business applications remain secure, so be sure to implement an IT procedure for enabling automatic lock screen and device encryption. And just like setting up a device for a new employee, there should be a standard procedure for removing access to business applications when an employee leaves your company.

BYOD brings many advantages to your business and your employees, such as flexibility and cost savings. Having a formal BYOD policy allows you to leverage those benefits while minimizing the risk to your company and employees. For more tips for developing BYOD strategies, read our previous blog post on managing BYOD trends. And contact a trusted Windstream advisor to learn  how to best secure your network when implementing your BYOD policy.