What’s one risk with a bring your own device (BYOD) policy you’d caution other founders about?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Losing Focus
Startup founders often hire people who also have an entrepreneurial mentality. If your employees want to work on their own projects during the hours you’re paying them, it sacrifices a lot of your own company’s time. Allowing them to bring their own devices makes it a lot harder for them to focus because their own projects are easily available.
2. Exposing Company Information
You run the risk of sensitive information being exposed to both criminals and competitors. Any BYOD policy should include a requirement for a remote swipe feature and password protection to ensure that company information is protected.
3. Finding Compatibility Across Platforms
We’d all like to think that apps and websites work exactly the same across multiple platforms, but that just isn’t the case. A website can work far differently on a computer with a different browser, let alone a computer with different hardware. And mobile devices just add a whole new layer of complexity. I’m in favor of a BYOD policy, but it requires a little testing first.
Working internationally with different levels of employees, I’ve found that some just can’t afford to have their own devices. It really does shine a light on different economic situations that people face.
5. Keeping Information Secure
Most startups actively handle funds or personal information. When an external device enters into the workplace and is used for working, playing with and sampling data, there is an obvious exposure risk that can have big repercussions for a small company. Big enterprises have the rigor around security that becomes a necessity and a huge overhead for young startups the minute you BYOD.
We primarily run a remote team, and outside of two small offices, the team uses their own devices. The biggest risk we’ve seen is keeping data in the cloud. It’s very easy for files to end up on local machines, and if someone is sick or out of contact, it’s literally impossible to reach them. Apps such as Openera,Dropbox and Google Drive keep all our data within our grasp.
Not only is it a risk that your sensitive data might end up being exposed, but employees might also store data locally and keep the data upon leaving the company, thus leaving you without the full data set. Storing data in the cloud and doing a remote swipe for certain files is necessary for successful BYOD in my experience.