Embracing BYOD? Keep It Legal With These Strategies

The bring-your-own-device strategy is quickly becoming the modus operandi for businesses of all sizes. An estimated 74 percent of organizations in U.S. currently maintain or are in the process of adopting this policy, according to insights from Tech Pro Research. Why? BYOD cuts costs and bolsters productivity, as employees can access devices with which they are intimately familiar. That said, the methodology does come with some complications, some of which carry legal ramifications if not properly addressed. With this in mind, businesses must carefully design their BYOD programs to reduce the risk of costly courtroom entanglements. Here are some of the central legal issues that accompany enterprise BYOD adoption:

Employee privacy
The management of personal employee data is the chief legal concern that BYOD strategies pose, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. Businesses are obligated to monitor devices used for work purposes, as well as bring them in for occasional system updates. Additionally, information technology teams are tasked with managing the devices of departing employees, duties that usually include wiping sensitive company information. These chores present serious legal problems, as IT personnel could unknowingly cross the line and violate the privacy of their coworkers, outgoing or otherwise.

How do employers effectively address this issue? Working with in-house legal teams to craft device handling practices that comport with local, state and federal privacy laws is the first step, according to the American Bar Association. The group also advises businesses to utilize mobile device management software equipped with partitioning capabilities so that IT teams can build barriers between personal and corporate data. This takes some of the risk out of the wiping process, as applicable information is clearly identifiable and separate from private digital assets.

"BYOD plans come with complications, some of which carry legal ramifications if not properly addressed."

Data security
Employees who participate in BYOD programs access large amounts of company data via their devices, some of which includes sensitive customer information such as credit card and social security numbers. While most employees would not deliberately compromise this data, their habits could open the door to hackers, who can easily infiltrate servers through a variety of methods. In the event of major breaches, organizations are held legally liable. 

To address this issue, IT teams must provide employees with the proper resources they need to develop healthy data security habits. This includes drafting strong passwords and avoiding downloadable applications or emails that might harbor viruses or other vectors. Detailed breach mitigation protocols are also required, according to SHRM. Unfortunately, unintended data loss is all to common these days. Last year, hackers executed more than 42,000 attacks and caused roughly 1,900 large-scale breaches, according to research from Verizon Wireless. Organizations must prepare to deal with such occurrences, developing mitigation strategies that protect as many customers as possible. Not having these plans in place can give the appearance of negligence and increase the likelihood of legal repercussions, according to the ABA.   

Does your organization want to launch a successful, legally sound BYOD program? You might consider embarking on an IT modernization journey before getting the corporate attorney involved. The Inventu Flynet Viewer eases this process, meeting the needs of businesses and employees in a way that feels both familiar and simple. Connect with us today to learn more about this solution and the other products included in our catalog.