Privacy Matters for BYOD

This is my fourteenth post in my series on BYOD. This recent article on Infoworld about how the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs has put its BYOD plans on hold illustrates the point that you need to consider and cover off employee privacy when implementing BYOD. As I understand the article, they are putting their implementation on hold because they can’t tell what legal rights they have around gaining access to an employee’s device and its data in certain exceptional circumstances. I have seen BYOD initiatives suffer in organisations through inadequate consideration of privacy. In particular employees have not taken up BYOD because they have (quite rightly) seen that their privacy has not been adequately addressed by the policy and/or solution.

So, how to address this? Firstly, clearly state what your organisation’s stance is on the employee’s privacy. What personal information can or will the organisation have access to? Under what circumstances? I would recommend that if you want people to adopt your BYOD implementation that you make this statement as strong as possible, that your organisation will protect an employee’s privacy, and that you won’t collect any information about them, and under no circumstances will you look at their personal information.  Your employees will value your respect for their privacy, and it will help engender trust in the solution. This is a good thing for your organisation as well, as you can’t be held responsible for whatever personal data is on the device if you have clear policy about it.

Secondly, implement a solution that addresses privacy. Here, solutions that segregate work data from personal data are the key. They allow you to keep your promises to your staff, manage your organisation data and ignore theirs.

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