Does your business need a BYOD bill of rights?

Introducing a clear policy for the use of BYOD at work is a smart idea to ensure that you and your employees know what is appropriate conduct.

With many Australians choosing to use their own smart phones and tablets at work, the line between what constitutes personal and professional data has been blurred, and the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers can be unclear.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) arrangements present two challenges for workplaces – ensuring data stored on personal devices is secure, and that data ownership is clearly defined – i.e., whether an employer can demand to access to personally owned devices.

According to the Unisys Consumerisation of IT research, 28 percent of Australian employees say they use personally-owned iPhones for work purposes.* However, Australian employers are dragging their feet rolling out formal BYOD support programs.

BYOD is good news for employers as they have not had to purchase the technology, but ensuring sensitive data is adequately secured and to the degree of IT support required, are areas employers need to clarify.

Employers who delay formalising BYOD arrangements risk losing control of company data and are vulnerable to data security breaches.

Employees face their own hurdles when employers fail to support BYOD, with 39 percent claiming to have purchased and paid for all usage charges of smartphones and tablets used for business purposes.

There can also be confusion if BYOD is not clearly defined with regards who is responsible for insuring, maintaining or securing the device.

The reality is that BYOD is now ingrained in the workplace and regardless of whether a formal BYOD support arrangement, such as helpdesk, exists, it is vital for every organisation to introduce a BYOD policy to ensure a clear understanding of what is expected from both employees and employers from a security, HR and legal sense.

Unisys has put together a guide for BYOD, titled the Information Technology (IT) Bill of Rights.

Though light-hearted, the IT Bill of Rights addresses serious BYOD issues regarding employer and employee rights and expectations.

Unisys’ IT Bill of Rights is designed to help employers to build a better relationship with workers regarding the use of BYOD. It will allow employees to take advantage of the convenience of using mobile devices at work while also ensuring compliance with standard IT procedures.

IT Bill of Rights for End Users:

  1. Freedom on Information – The employee shall have the freedom to create and store data and access it anywhere through any device without threat of security breach.
  2. Right to ‘bare arms’ – The employee shall have the right to ‘bare arms’ — that is, not to be burdened by carrying multiple, redundant devices such as a corporate laptop, a corporate smartphone, a personal smartphone, etc.
  3. Freedom of religion – The employee shall not be encumbered in acquiring devices using Apple, Android, Windows or other technologies to which they have a religious attachment.
  4. Freedom from unlawful search and seizure – The employee’s personal data must be safeguarded when they are using their personal devices for company activities.
  5. Right to ‘plead the fifth’ – The employee shall not be required to report their identity unnecessarily. They should be able to log in once and use that single sign-on for all their work activities.
  6. Right to a speedy resolution – When the employee has problems with their mobile devices, they have the right to speedy and remote resolution of their problems. The service desk that supports them should proactively identify and fix potential problems unseen and unheard, with minimal need for input from the employee.
  7. Freedom of association – The employee shall have the right to use social tools to enhance internal collaboration and customer service.
  8. Prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment – The employee shall not have to succumb to painful, unattractive user interfaces or out-of-date enterprise applications. The employee should have access to regular updates that ensure efficient and fast access to critical information and services.
  9. Freedom of expression – The employee shall have the freedom to easily publish and share innovative and creative ideas with others in their workgroup, geography or company.
  10. Freedom of choiceThe enterprise shall devolve upon the employee the right to choose for work the form factor — smartphone, tablet, laptop — or software tool that they deem makes them most productive.


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