Oxygen is both a life-giver and a deadly killer: breathing air, usually with an oxygen content of 21%, is essential for us to stay alive, but in some conditions breathing 100% oxygen can kill us. It’s the same with mobile phones, they can be incredibly useful and boost productivity, but too much use can waste our time, distract us and even lead to fatal accidents.
Mobile phones have become an essential part of our lives, but there is an increasing need to control, and sometimes limit, their use in business. They can enable employees on the road to function, keep those who need to move around your premises connected and allow team members to work at home or out of hours. But there is an increasing need for policies to make sure mobile usage is safe, meets security and privacy regulations, and does not waste time.
To start, do you provide a company phone or allow employees to use their personal devices for company business? Much will depend on the cost of phones and contracts versus the needs of your team. For some, a company mobile will be essential, while for others it won’t. Some may require remote access to your systems occasionally, but allowing them to use their personal devices raises many security questions. Who else uses their phone at home? Could personal or confidential data be stored on their device or uploaded to public cloud storage open to hacking? What happens if a child borrows the phone and loses it? Could visitors introduce a virus or malware to your systems through logging on to your company wifi network?
The best approach is to introduce a policy on the use of mobile phones as well as tablets, laptops and other devices, whether provided by the company or employee or used by visitors. This could cover:
- Defining approved uses for company devices, along with any prohibited activities, as well as defining what business activities can be carried out on personal devices. This could also define what personal use of company devices, if any, is allowed.
Installing mobile device management software on all mobiles, even personal devices, to ensure adherence to company mobile phone policy.
- Specifying approved applications that can be installed on company devices or used on personal devices for company business.
- Setting out the ownership of data used on company business with the right for the business to wipe all such data from any device.
- Ensuring strict security, e.g. two-factor verification for signing into devices.
- Establishing what remote access can be made by employees to company systems and whether visitors can access wifi networks.
- Setting out health and safety requirements, e.g. mobile usage banned while operating machinery.
- Restricting personal usage to lunchtime or breaks, e.g. no sending or checking of personal calls or texts on any device during working time.
- Establishing what payment employees will receive to cover the cost of using personal devices for company business.
- Requiring a signed undertaking for employees to agree to these conditions or incorporating them into their contract of employment.
Employee use of mobile phones is a complex topic and getting the policy right so your business operates productively and securely, while your employees get the benefit of using devices can be difficult. If you want to negotiate the minefield of mobile usage safely, FX7 Solutions can help with advice on phone contracts, policies, security and a lot more.
With a well-thought-out policy to control mobile usage in your company, you can breathe easily.