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The Realities of Employee Compliance with BYOD Rules

Bring your own device (BYOD) has been growing in popularity in recent years. In the workplace, BYOD essentially allows employees to use personal devices for company purposes. This practice has become so widespread that some even predict it will become mandatory by approximately half of employers by the year 2017. This is especially true for midsize and larger enterprises (2,500-5,000 employees) where the practice is more prevalent.

While many point to the benefits of such a system, which include greater employee freedom and potential reduces cost to the company, others emphasize the risks, mainly in the realm of security. Much of the success of a BYOD system lies in the hands of the employees themselves. If employees are careful and diligent in following rules that minimize risk, security becomes less of a problem. However, there is evidence to suggest that many employees may not be willing to comply.

Young people don’t follow the rules

Recent research shows that the younger generation of employees (age 21 to 32), including those who are now just entering the workforce, are resistant to BYOD security policies. Researchers took a survey of 3,200 employees at this age and found that 51 percent were willing to ignore company rules surrounding the use of personal devices at work and for work.

Many of those surveyed acknowledged that they had previously been the victim of some type of security attack on their personal devices, yet this didn’t change their position. The study also found that 14 percent of those surveyed would not tell their company if one of their personal devices they used for work was compromised.

While many are claiming that a highly detailed security policy is the key to successful BYOD implementation, studies such as this one should cause deeper reflection. Enterprises should understand that some employees may simply disregard some of the rules they establish. Does this mean that a BYOD system should be completely abandoned? Not necessarily. They can still be effective, and there are still ways to make sure security risks are minimized.

Approaches to keeping employees happy

Providing convenient options is essential. This is, of course, is one of the ultimate purposes of BYOD in the first place. The previously cited study found that 36 percent of those surveyed used their own personal cloud storage programs (such as Dropbox) for work purposes and that they would ignore rules that would stop them from doing so. This is likely because such cloud storage systems are more convenient than the ones a company might offer as an alternative. It is up to company to provide secure apps and services that employees will actually want to use.

Proper education is also essential. Detailed training should be provided that helps employees understand risks involved with BYOD and why certain policies exist. Younger people will break rules in an attempt to be more efficient. However, companies must make it clear why greater productivity may not be worth the security risks. Complete transparency in regards to the possible consequences of certain actions is essential. When employees understand the “why” and not just the “what” of rules, they are more likely to comply.

They should also understand that only those who are willing to comply with the rules will receive the privilege of bringing their own device. Disciplinary action should be set in place beforehand so employees know the punishments they could face in breaking the rules.

While specific rules and punishments need to be in place, companies should also be cautious of going overboard. If employers treat employees like adults, they are more likely to act as such. If there is room for freedom, let workers have it. It will increase employee satisfaction, and boost productivity.
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Wednesday, 25 November 2020
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