Building Trust with a BYOD Policy
Smartphones and tablets have become entrenched in our personal lives. They hold our private emails and calendars, connect us to social media, and can even record our sensitive health data. With everything we store on our mobile devices, it’s little wonder that one of the biggest obstacles faced by implementing a BYOD policy is privacy. In fact, a recent study conducted by Ovum revealed that 84% employees have privacy concerns over using their personal devices for work purposes.
Start from the Source of the Issue
According to the same Ovum survey, nearly 30% of employees simply don’t trust their employers when it comes to handling BYOD policies. Before you can have BYOD success, it’s imperative that you tackle the trust issue—and the first step in building trust is to understand the source of the issue. Introducing a BYOD policy into the work environment is a positive change, but also a radical one. Most employees aren’t accustomed to merging their personal and work lives into one device, and many are probably familiar with the problems that were associated with corporate-issued mobile devices. Between online rumors and talk around the water cooler, it’s not difficult to dredge up horror stories of employers remotely wiping mobile devices, spying on the location of employees, and tapping into personal information. As the BYOD spearhead, it’s up to you to separate fact from fiction and assure employees that this is not what BYOD is about.
Take a Break from the Tech Talk
Unlike other aspects of a BYOD initiative, building trust with employees is not a technical endeavor. In fact, tech talk can act as a barrier rather than an effective means of communication. Instead, take a more personal approach to discussing your BYOD plans. Be honest, open, and frank about your BYOD expectations and concerns. As an organization, you’re interested in optimizing the work environment for your employees, not tapping into their personal data. Make sure your employees know that. At the same time, employees should understand that corporate information needs to be secured, and it’s their responsibility to keep it safe.
Address the ‘What ifs’
A lot of questions undoubtedly arise when you begin to load corporate data on personal devices. Employees need to be reassured that under no circumstances will their private information be wiped or compromised. Do this by addressing the ‘what ifs’ as part of your comprehensive BYOD policy. Explain the course of action if a device is lost or stolen, if an employee decides to leave the organization, or if an employee fails to comply with the agreed-upon security precautions. Finally, be explicit about ownership, emphasizing that BYOD users still maintain total ownership over their devices. Having a BYOD policy is mutually beneficial to your organization and employees, but also brings up concerns over trust and privacy for both parties. Some apprehension on the part of employees is to be expected. However, it can be addressed by building trust from the beginning and initiating and open and honest dialogue regarding intentions, expectations, and ownership.