BYOD and security: Five tips to keep boundaries between work and home

Software project manager Kay Diller gives five tips on keeping boundaries between work and personal life by embracing BYOD and security.

Bring your own device, also known as BYOD, has taken off in corporate America. Corporations are now offering stipends

to their employees to cover the full or partial cost of their personal mobile devices, such as a smartphone or tablet. The end result of BYOD is that employees are now using their personal mobile devices to manage their personal lives and their work lives. While it is easy to see the huge cost savings to corporations with a BYOD policy, this merging of work apps onto employees' personal mobile devices can have a negative impact on their work productivity and time off. In this article, I offer five quick tips to help managers assist employees to establish healthy boundaries between their work life and personal life so that both companies and employees can receive the full benefits of BYOD.

BYOD and security tips

Encourage employees to keep their work apps and data separated from their personal apps and data.
Separating work and personal apps will help employees stay more productive during the workday. For example, when they are accessing work apps from their BYOD, a game won't pop up that they might be tempted to play. As a bonus for employees, a clean separation will help them resist the temptation to review work documents when they are out to dinner with family or friends and they access their mobile device for personal use. With this tip, think: Out of sight, out of mind.

Offer employees easy-to-use BYOD and security on their work apps and data.
With easy-to-use security, employees are more likely to place it on their own device and use it. For example, if easy security is not available, children could accidentally end up corrupting company data when playing games on their parent's device. In addition, when employees lose their mobile device, the corporate data and network will be better protected. This security should be part of each enterprise mobile app as a way to best mitigate inappropriate access to company data.

Create BYOD work apps that allow audio notice to be turned off.
How many times have we interrupted a fun outing with our friends when we hear that little chirp of a personal text coming in? The same holds true when audio notice is set to "on" for work apps, especially email. Make sure to create BYOD apps that allow your employees to turn off the audio, while allowing them to keep the audio on for their personal apps.

Separating work and personal apps will help employees stay more productive.

Require employees to regularly upload company data to servers.
One of the best ways to preserve corporate data residing on your employees' personal mobile devices is to have them regularly upload or back up the data onto your company's servers. You could offer employees an app that sends them reminders to upload their data, or you could create mobile apps that have this reminder embedded in them. Placing auto-reminders on calendars is also an easy way to help employees remember to complete this step. Make sure to document easy-to-follow steps for the upload process, or employees won't do this step even if reminders are received.

Require terminated employees to remove all company apps and upload all company data when leaving the company.
This is a very important step to complete when employees leave your company. Corporations are often pulled into lawsuits years after an employee leaves the company. Employees cannot be expected to retain corporate data on BYOD especially when they upgrade these devices every few years. In addition, make sure employees' access to corporate BYOD apps is turned off on their last day of employment. This is a normal procedure for company applications, but it might be overlooked on company BYOD apps.

As BYOD continues to evolve and integrate itself into our lives through our personal mobile devices, we will have to work even harder at defining where our work life stops and our personal life begins. These five simple steps are just the beginning of setting healthy boundaries between BYOD and security so that your mobile users can enjoy accessing corporate data from their personal mobile apps without it overtaking their personal lives.

This was first published in March 2014

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