5 Top Tips for a Successful BYOD Policy for Small Businesses

BYOD is an easy way to increase mobile productivity. With our 5 tips and free resources, creating a successful BYOD policy for small businesses isn’t tricky either.

In times where the workplace is more mobile than ever, BYOD (Bring your own Device) is a simple, cost-effective way to increase mobile productivity.

While some workers might have relied solely on their company-issued laptops and workstations to complete their daily tasks, it’s no surprise that more and more are reaching for their own smartphones and tablets instead. And in other industries, like on the factory floor, it is becoming more common to see smartphones and tablets in the hands of workers too.

These more portable, smaller devices are often just as powerful, and sometimes even more so than their foldable counterparts.

And thanks to the abundance of cloud applications and web apps, most users can already access all the applications and resources they need from any device.

Why Should You Support BYOD in Your Small Business?

Most IT decision-makers will already know that employees are using their mobile phones to access company resources, work on the move, or to interact with other employees or clients. This unregulated usage present a security risk.

Elsewhere, BYOD is perfect choice to improve the productivity of workers for small businesses operating on a tight budget. As workers are using their own devices (or are paying some of the device costs), BYOD works out as a low cost method to improve mobile working.

By introducing BYOD with a formal BYOD policy in your small business, you are not only giving workers greater freedom over how they work, but it also makes sense from a security point of view: A BYOD policy is a great way to establish an adequate framework for GDPR compliance and for keeping data secure.

Never heard of BYOD? Start off with our free eBook. Even if you know BYOD already, much has changed over the last few years. We examine contemporary BYOD and offer a GDPR checklist to help you plan the necessary data security measures.

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5 Tips for a Successful BYOD Policy for Small Businesses

A clearly planned BYOD policy for small businesses is an essential requirement. If you’re wondering just exactly how you’ll achieve this for your small business, consider our 5 tips.

1) Plan a BYOD Policy That Lines Up With Your Goals First

In order to effectively communicate the most important aspects, like acceptable use, to your team members, you require a clear BYOD strategy. There is no single BYOD scheme that is suitable for all small businesses. It should be created with the specific goals and priorities of the company in mind. Here are common questions that arise:

  • What are the different use cases in each team and what should they be capable of doing with their devices?

  • Not all workers will require access requirements, configurations or applications. Is basic collaboration and communication (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Email) the key focus? Or do some workers need access to specific custom apps? Or is reducing the capital tied to new devices the key priority?

  • Bear this in mind too: BYOD is sometimes unsuitable for small businesses with very strict data security requirements. Again, when deciding whether to support BYOD, tie it in with your business objectives. Therefore, it also makes sense to ask the question right at the start: Does BYOD compliment my business, or are company-owned devices more suitable? With company-owned devices, workers can use these in their free time and more security controls are possible.

Don’t worry if you aren’t sure exactly if BYOD is suitable for your use cases – you’ll find plenty of free advice online.

When you have a clearer idea of what the BYOD scheme should achieve in your small business, you can more easily work out the following technicalities in a BYOD policy.

  • Who will pay for and own the device?

  • Who pays for the monthly service plan?

  • Will the employee receive a contribution towards the cost of the device or their monthly contract? Which costs must the employee cover in all cases (excess data charges, etc.)?

  • Who is liable for a lost or stolen device?

  • What is acceptable mobile device use in your company? To get a better idea of creating an acceptable use policy for BYOD in your small business, take a look at how we implemented BYOD in our company. We explain our BYOD policy, what we had to consider before introducing BYOD and which team players and departments were involved in the process.

3) Be Clear About Which Devices You Want to Support

For a successful BYOD policy for small businesses with a low management requirement, it’s a good idea to stick with the two most tried and tested operating systems which currently receive regular software updates: iOS and Android.

If you don’t set a limit on which devices users can purchase, workers could run into software incompatibility problems.

The latest versions of iOS and Android have comprehensive BYOD management frameworks built-in, allowing small businesses to very easily minimize the risks involved.

If other mobile devices, like laptops or even personally owned desktop computers, will also be part of your BYOD policy for your small business, other operating systems will have to be considered.

4) Know What the Security Vulnerabilities Are and Be Realistic About Minimizing Them

As devices are almost always owned by users with BYOD, the owners naturally have more control over what they do with them.

Therefore, you need to be aware of the risks of BYOD – covered in our BYOD eBook – to your small business and take adequate measures to protect yourself from them.

  • Should devices be password protected? What are the guidelines for passwords (number of characters, symbols and numbers, etc.)?

  • If a device is lost or stolen, what is the recommended procedure (what is the required time frame for notifying the company, for example)?

  • Do specific features of the device need to be disabled (camera, Siri, automatic cloud back-ups)? If you want to disable a critical feature, like the camera usage or specific apps (like WhatsApp), this signifies that BYOD is unsuitable for your small business.
BYOD Policy for small businesses: Man working with smartphone at work.

5) Get an MDM to Implement Your BYOD Policies, but Don’t Be Too Strict

The most effective way to reduce the security risks and management load with BYOD is to use a simple MDM (Mobile Device Management) solution.

With an MDM solution, like Cortado MDM, you can address the above-mentioned security issues on all devices from a single cloud-based solution.

You can centrally distribute all necessary apps in your small business to users and make sure they have the required profiles and network credentials to complete their work too.

Perhaps most crucially, MDM with BYOD allows you to separate personal data from company data on each smartphone or tablet with just a few clicks. If an employee loses a device, if it is stolen, or the employees’ contract is terminated, you can easily wipe all business data on the device remotely without affecting personal data.

In addition, deactivating specific smartphone or tablet features is no problem at all. Remember though, if you are too heavy-handed with restrictions and limit user freedom with BYOD it can have a negative effect. In the worst case, users may attempt to circumvent restrictions themselves, which can cause hidden security risks.

Helpful Resources

If you have a specific use case in mind and aren’t sure if BYOD is the right fit for you, consult our eBook. Alternatively, reach out to us via email or telephone. We are happy to advise you on BYOD without obligation.