It’s hard to believe that not long ago we may have stopped at a gas station for a map or flipped through a Rolodex for a client’s phone number. Smartphones and other mobile devices like tablets are a part of life. We do everything from making reservations for a business lunch to sharing our grand opening event on our company Facebook page. The benefits of having technology at our fingertips at all times are indispensable to our success today. Employers and employees alike rely on smartphones and tablets. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is a common and often necessary business practice. But, like any technology used in business, employees’ use of personal mobile devices comes with its own risks. Statutes and laws differ from state to state, but in a nutshell, once an employee uses a personal device to perform work duties, employers may be held accountable for any laws broken through that use.
While you can’t control everything an employee does on their personal device, there are specific steps you can take to manage your company’s risk.
What poses a significant BYOD risk for a company? The answer is social media and lost devices.
The Risk: Social Media
The proper use of social media is a powerful business tool. It can bring elevated exposure and connections to your business, however, it also increases your risk. If an employee posts inappropriate comments or pictures on their personal account, this can be harmful to your company or brand.
In many states, an employer can be named in a lawsuit stemming from damaging posts if the employee used the same device to perform work at some point. This presents a sticky situation for employers that utilize BYOD.
Action to take:
- Limit social media usage in the workplace by restricting social media sites.
- Implement a social media posting policy.
The Risk: Lost Devices
If your employees use their personal devices for work, they may have private customer data or proprietary information about the business stored on their device. If the device is lost or stolen, sensitive information could be exposed.
Action to take:
- Require employees to have an encryption mechanism or “remote-wipe” feature.
- Install these same security measures on company-issued laptops and other equipment.
- Educate your team about the risks and potential repercussions of using their device for work. Travelers Insurance discusses training and education in an overview of The Risks of BYOD in the workplace and provides tips on how to keep mobile device usage safe and secure.
We know mobile devices play an ever-increasing role in your business. You don’t have to dust off that Rolodex to keep your company safe. Talk to us about your liability and find out what you can do to help protect your business.