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A balanced BYOD policy is better all round

Nick Booth | Nov. 28, 2012
The addiction for tablets has gone right to the head of many organisations, with even hard-headed CEOs of global corporations falling for the style and convenience of tablet computing.

Most legal traps associated with BYOD can be dealt with if there is good communication and consistent policy as long as the policy is communicated up-front, says Webber. Interfering with the end user's devices is the legal minefield you have to be wary of, and it's especially scary for those whose users are covered by European law.

"It is all too easy to fall foul of laws which prevent interception and the use of an individual's location without their consent," says Webber. "This consent ought to extend to all the possible interventions. It's not just about deleting information, it's about routine maintenance and updating software."

Any access to an employee's device ought to be subject to obtaining the prior informed consent of the employee. This should be given freely and voluntarily and employees should be fully informed up-front in a well prepared BYOD Policy.

Honest and up-front

You can protect yourself from the potential liability of wiping the boss's iPad if you have notified them up-front of aspects of BYOD policy, reminding them that the employer may exercise certain control rights like mandating strong passwords or auto-wipe of devices after a prescribed number of failed password attempts. Put it in writing that there will be no compensation in the event of loss of personal data or information from the device as a result of the employer's actions and remind people that it would be prudent to regularly back up device contents and data.

If a company allows their data to be transferred to another machine, they are responsible for it, says Norman Shaw, MD of ExactTrak. "The Information Commissioner is quite clear on this. The CIO will be ultimately held responsible for data which is lost via an employee's personal device," says Shaw.

"It is surprising that so few businesses alter their employees' contracts to reflect the BYOD trend and iron out any ambiguity over data security responsibility," says Shaw. "If employees are aware that transferring certain files onto their devices breaks their contracts, it may make them think twice before doing so."

 

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