BYOD: What Data Does My Boss See on My Private Phone?

Using your private phone to read business e-mails has become more the rule than the exception. But when it comes to the management of private devices by the company within a BYOD framework, users are often skeptical. Can the boss also view or even delete your private phone data?

Many employees use the private mobile phone for business purposes on the way to work.
Many employees use the private mobile phone for business purposes on the way to work.

Who’s Afraid of BYOD? 

Reading e-mails on the way to work, chatting with colleagues about team tools, or reading a document – all are done easily and quickly with a private phone and also productively. However, if the private device is to be managed by the company, employees often fear that their privacy could be breached. Can the company access personal data, photos, chats or social media accounts? 

But even companies see the use of private phones critically. Not just since GDPR came into force have private employee phones been a weak point for businesses. If private and work data and contacts are mixed on one device, this is a GDPR violation and can have serious consequences.

This is one of the reasons why companies are striving to establish as comprehensive regulations as possible for working with private devices. These range from countless guidelines and control options to access bans, to name just a few. This in turn leads to a loss of productivity and acceptance among employees and a search for loopholes and workarounds to circumvent bans.

So, can working with a private phone in a company work at all? And can the security needs of both sides be met equally? BYOD strategies, with which only parts of the private device can be managed, are the right solution for these challenges.

Which Data Can a Business Access on a Private Phone? And Which Data is Safe?

The BYOD concept follows a simple approach – private data on the private phone is separated from sensitive business data and applications. This protects both corporate data and the privacy of the user.

If the user decides to work with his own phone, the IT team sets up a business work profile on his device. Only this profile can be viewed and managed by the company. In this area, the company can install apps, and block or delete access to this area if necessary. The company can also retrieve information about the device type, operating system and jailbreaks.

The private area however remains completely unaffected. The company will not be granted access to private apps, data, photos, location information, social media profiles, or to WhatsApp and other messenger services. Deleting private data is also not possible.

Why Do BYOD Solutions Improve Acceptance of Employees’ Private Phones in Business?

In recent years, Apple and Google have done a lot to improve BYOD for users and businesses. With Android Enterprise, Google offers an easy way to manage and separate business applications and configurations in a separate business container. You can find more details about this in our white paper “Android Enterprise Best Practices”.

With iOS 13, Apple updated its BYOD offering and now also enables a way to make BYOD attractive for users and businesses alike. Read more in our white paper “Apple User Enrollment for BYOD”

With appropriate BYOD solutions, the built-in BYOD features available with iOS and Android can be fully utilized. Another advantage of a BYOD solution is that users work with the devices they are familiar with. Companies on the other hand, don’t have to impose restrictions on users’ privacy with controls and prohibitions. Instead the business stays within its own securely separated area on the phone. In implementing BYOD, Cortado MDM places particular emphasis on transparency towards the user. The basic prerequisite is that employees have confidence in, and accept a company’s BYOD strategy. Only in that way BYOD can fully meet the security needs and regulations of both employees and companies.

Consider BYOD for your business! Get started today!

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