A mobile use policy is a set of guidelines that explain how employees are allowed to use their personal devices- including laptops, smartphones, and tablets- in regards to company data (i.e. working from out of the office on personal machines). So why is it so important that your company has a mobile use policy?
Basically, it can all be broken down into one simple idea- the convenience to security ratio.
Let me explain. Technology has grown by leaps and bounds, especially over the last few decades. There are so many products and services out there that make our lives faster, more efficient, and easier. And within the business world, with the rise of these new services, we have seen an incredible increase in teleworking. People are now able to be productive even outside the office. But, there has been a trade-off that people seldom think about- security.
Before the rise of social media, smartphones, and cloud-based apps, protecting a company’s data was a lot simpler. There were very few ways to access this data, and it could more easily be monitored and managed. But, as more technology advancements gained momentum, it opened new doors to all the company data that was previously protected.
For example, it used to be that when an employee left a company, you knew that all your company data was still where it was supposed to be, on their computer in their office. But now, when an employee leaves, they may have data stored on their personal laptops, their phones, etc.
So, with the rise of the convenience of the new technologies, we have had to sacrifice a certain amount of security when it comes to our company data. And this is where a strong mobile use policy comes in.
The idea behind a mobile use policy is pretty straightforward- you want to get ahead of the game. If you have an employee sign a mobile use policy agreement before they even start working for you, there will be no arguments when they leave as to the right of the company to take necessary steps in protecting their data.
And while mainly a mobile use policy will be geared towards the scenarios of when an employee leaves, there are sections that should be included that will provide guidelines for current employees as well, such as an employee storing company data on a personal device that is also potentially being used for illegal purposes.
The simple fact is that if you are going to supply your employees with work devices, you get to have control over these devices- they are technically the property of the company. But, if you are in a BYOD office environment, the devices are the property of the employee. So, you need to have a mobile use policy to cover your bases.
To learn about the Pros and Cons of a BYOD office environment, check out this blog post.
Every office envrionment is unique, and as such, there is never going to be a one-size-fits-all mobile use policy. What you need to do is sit down with your IT professionals, lawyers, and owners of the company and map out exactly what data you have where, and how you want to protect it. From there, you can develop a mobile use policy that fits your business and will keep your company data protected.
Have you had any bad experiences with former or current employees exploiting your company data? Tell us about it in the comments!
If you want more of a guideline on how to develop a mobile use policy for your company, download this free e-book: