What Is a BYOD Policy and How To Implement It with VoIP
A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy is a necessity in the modern workplace because it allows employees to use their personal devices for work purposes. However, this practice can still pose a security risk.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what a BYOD policy is and how to securely implement it with VoIP. Whether you’re just starting out or have been struggling with your BYOD policy for a while now, stay tuned – we’ve got some useful information for you.
What Is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?
BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is a term you’ve probably heard thrown around a lot lately. But what does it actually mean?
In a nutshell, BYOD refers to the trend of employees using their own devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.) for work purposes in and out of the office.
Basically, a BYOD policy regulates how employees use their devices for work. It does not only apply to a company’s employees but also to contractors and freelancers who work with the company.
The rules of conduct tend to be very strict, as they apply to personal usage both in and out of the office (even if the user is at home).
How Does BYOD Work in Call Centers?
Call centers that have a BYOD policy allow employees to use their own devices to log into the call center software to make or receive calls. This can be pretty handy, but why do call centers use BYOD??
Suppose a call center wants to employ an agent who speaks Mandarin, which is quite a rare skill in the area where they’re hiring. A BYOD policy allows the company to hire remotely from a much broader pool of candidates and thus easily find someone who meets their expectations.
In this case, the employee can simply use their personal device to manage calls, as long as they have the necessary call center software installed.
BYOD can also improve the efficiency of regular call centers. For example, if a call center agent needs to step away from their desk, they can take their smartphone and keep using the call center software as long as there is an Internet connection.
That way, they can pick up the phone whenever and wherever and never worry about losing a lead ever again. This can also be really convenient if an agent is not comfortable with the device provided by the company. If they prefer using their own, you can let them do that – it will likely boost their productivity, so it’s a win-win.
Note: the call center software must be compatible with the employee’s device in order for this to work.
What To Include in Your BYOD Policy?
In theory, BYOD sounds like a great idea for call centers. Employees can use their own devices that they are already familiar with and comfortable using.
This can save the company money on buying new devices for every employee. However, in practice, BYOD can be a bit more complicated.
For example, what happens if an employee’s phone crashes while they’re on a call? Or what if they’re using their personal device for personal activities and get interrupted by a work call?
That’s why you should address a few key issues when creating a BYOD policy. So, what should you consider?
Robust Call Center Software
There is nothing more frustrating than being held back by a tool’s limitations. Your call center software should be accessible on different types of devices. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use BYOD in your call center.
Let’s take a look at an example – CloudTalk works via an app on iOS or Android, allowing agents to make calls while on the go. It offers features like call transferring, call notes, call tracking, contact tags, and much more without requiring access to e.g. a company laptop.
BYOD policies remove limitations, but you still need to establish some boundaries. You must decide which employees or different roles will be eligible for BYOD and which devices will be supported.
You may want to specify whether employees can use only certain generations of devices or operating system (OS) versions (e.g., excluding an iPhone that is more than 10 years old and does not meet satisfactory safety standards).
Note: make sure that all devices are up to date with the latest security patches to help protect them against any new security vulnerabilities.
You need to think about how data will be stored and accessed. Will employees be able to store data on their own devices, or does it all have to be stored on a central server?
If employees are allowed to store data on their own devices, consider how that data will be backed up and if they will be able to access it from other devices if necessary. There are two ways to make data storage more secure:
- Encrypt all data stored on the device, so even if an unauthorized person manages to “get their hands” on the device, they won’t be able to access the data.
- Use a remote wipe tool to delete all data from the device if it is lost or stolen. This way, you can be sure that no one will be able to access the data even if a device goes missing.
Protecting the privacy of both employees and employers is a must. Successful BYOD policies should specify how employee privacy and company data is being protected. In addition, make sure your employees are regularly trained on how to protect their data and are aware of the risks.
Two-factor authentication is an absolute necessity for BYOD.. It adds an extra layer of security and makes hacking into any system much more difficult.
As part of a BYOD policy, you should include password requirements such as making periodic changes. Consider SSO (single sign-on) services as well to make it easier for agents to log into the system without having to remember multiple complex access keys.
Maintenance and Support
How will you support employees who are using their own devices? Will you provide tech support, or have them figure that out on their own?
You need to have a plan for when something goes wrong. For example, if an employee’s device is lost or stolen, there is a data breach, or the tech just doesn’t work as it should.
It’s important to have a maintenance and support plan in place so that employees feel confident using their own devices for work purposes. Otherwise, they may be reluctant to do so, which defeats the purpose of BYOD.
Company Rights on Devices
You need to also think about what happens when an employee leaves the company – who owns the device’s data phone number?
Include a clear procedure guide in your BYOD policy, detailing your and the employees’ rights and responsibilities. Consult a lawyer so that your actions have a legal basis.
The Pros and Cons of BYOD in Your Call Center
Many factors explain why the BYOD trend has caught on in recent years. With the ubiquity of smartphones and the rise in flexible working, it’s not surprising that many companies are allowing employees to use their own devices for work purposes.
But is BYOD right for your call center? Let’s clear up your doubts.
✓ Call Center BYOD Pros
- It is often more convenient for many people to use their own devices rather than those provided by employers.
- Employees can work on their own laptops, smartphones, or tablets that they’re already familiar with and know how to use.
- Less training time, fewer support issues, and increased efficiency.
- Saves companies money by eliminating the need to purchase and maintain a separate fleet of work devices.
- Since employees can access work-related information and applications from anywhere, they can be more responsive to customer inquiries – even outside of standard business hours.
- Helps promote a sense of trust between the company’s management and its employees. Being able to freely use their own devices for work purposes creates a more positive and collaborative work environment.
❗️ Call Center BYOD Cons
- Personal devices may not be as secure as company ones.
- There is a higher risk of viruses and other malware being introduced to the network through employee devices.
- Employees may be less productive if they have constant access to their personal email and social media accounts.
How To Get Started With Implementing BYOD Today
So, is your company finally ready to dive into BYOD? You’re taking an important step forward to help your company increase productivity and save money. But how can you integrate BYOD into your workplace?
Define Your Goals
What do you hope to achieve by implementing BYOD? Is it simply to save on hardware costs, or do you have other objectives as well?
Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can tailor your policies and procedures accordingly.
Choose Reliable Software That Supports BYOD
When it comes to employees’ personal devices, you need to be extra careful about the quality of the software you choose. Free and low-cost apps may save you money in the short term but could end up costing you more in the long run if they’re not able to properly and securely support BYOD.
If you’re looking for a reliable tool that works with BYOD, how about trying CloudTalk? It’s the perfect choice if you are looking for an easy-to-use, secure, and up-to-date solution full of advanced features.
Getting started with BYOD in this cloud-based call center solution is a snap:
On mobile devices:
- Download the CloudTalk Go app in the App Store or Google Play.
On other devices:
- CloudTalk is a web application, so all you need to do is open any browser and go to the CloudTalk website. No special configuration is needed.
Create a BYOD Policy
Once again, this should outline what types of devices are allowed, what expectations employees should have about security and privacy, and what the consequences are for non-compliance.
Consult your IT department and lawyers to ensure that your policy is feasible and will actually help improve security.
Train Your Employees
As soon as you’ve adopted your policy, ensure that all employees are aware of and understand it. It’s also important to train your employees on how to use these devices securely.
In addition, you might want to consider setting up a help desk or support team specifically for BYOD issues.
7 Challenges and Risks of a BYOD Policy
There is one more thing you should do before implementing a BYOD policy in your call center is get to know the risks and challenges involved.
Knowing what threats your company might face, you can prepare your business for them and prevent any unwanted effects.
#1 Different Types of Devices and Operating Systems
Your call center software must be able to support all kinds of operating systems (iOS, macOS, Android, or Windows), which might be quite challenging.
Since a business will usually use the same or similar devices, integrating them with the company’s toolbox is not a problem. However, when everyone can use their own devices, the situation is very different.
How can you deal with this? Cloud-based call center software allows your agents to work on any device they want as it can be easily accessed via a web browser.
Make sure that the call center software you use has an API. This will give you the opportunity to develop a custom application for any device or OS.
Bear in mind that the older the system, the more difficult integrating it may be. As such, you should specify how old the software that your employees use can be.
#2 Theft or Loss of Devices
What if something happens and an employee’s device is lost or stolen? Be prepared for the worst-case scenario and have an action plan in place to help protect against such accidents.
Since employees are responsible for their own devices, it’s important to have a plan in place for what to do in these common situations (which are not all that rare). There is no way to prevent them, but you can prepare your employees to respond accordingly.
Ideally, every employee’s device should be equipped with software that can erase all company data immediately if necessary. Also, employees must be trained on what to do in an emergency, so provide clear instructions for them to perform automatically.
Note: if an employee’s device is lost or stolen, the first step is to report this to your company’s IT department so they can disable access to all sensitive data. The employee should also change any passwords stored on the device and cancel any subscriptions or services linked to it.
#3 Malware Infections
When it comes to the call center security, cyberattacks are one of the biggest threats. They can take down the whole system and disrupt your business operations.
The best way to protect your business is to have a robust cybersecurity system in place. Your employees should also be trained on how to spot potential threats and what to do if they suspect a device has been infected.
It is important that know what phishing attacks are and how to recognize them. There are many different types of malware, so it’s impossible to cover all of them here, but some of the most common signs that a device has been infected include:
- unusual or unexpected behavior
- unexpected pop-ups or ads
- slow performance
- battery draining faster than usual
If your employees spot any of these signs, they should report them to your IT department immediately.
Note: install a reliable security solution on all devices that will be used for work and remember to update the call center software and other tools regularly to patch any vulnerabilities.
#4 Data Leakage
This is another big security threat for call centers, even those that don’t have BYOD policies. It can happen through many different platforms, such as:
- email attachments
- USB devices
- unsecured Wi-Fi networks
- unencrypted data storage
To prevent data leakage, you should secure all endpoints. Firewalls and VPNs offer a base layer of endpoint security, but they’re not enough – education is the key here.
Note: only trustworthy staff with essential requirements should have access to highly sensitive data.
#5 Non-encrypted Connections
BYOD policies mean that employees are able to work from anywhere, which means they will not always be at home with a stable and secure Internet connection.
They might also work from a coffee shop or an airport. While this can be great for productivity, it also poses some security risks.
To handle this issue, consider mandating the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN will encrypt all data, making it much more difficult for hackers to steal.
When working remotely, a VPN is crucial. Without one, all data that is transferred between the device and the call center will be unencrypted and vulnerable to capture.
#6 Shadow IT Risk
The increase in remote working has led to a new security risk known as “IT shadowing”. This is unauthorized access to data, due to an insufficiently secured SaaS service or a user sharing information outside of the company (sometimes unintentionally).
As an example, suppose a member of a marketing department purchases an online graphic design tool to create custom visuals for a new marketing campaign. While this might not seem like a big deal, it can cause some serious security issues.
Similarly, if an employee uses external software without informing the IT department, the company has no control over what security measures have been put in place. This could lead to data breaches and other serious problems.
Is it possible to detect or manage shadow IT? It would be better to prevent it rather than focus on detection, so you should inform employees about the dangers of unapproved technology and make the approval process simple so that employees aren’t tempted to become their own IT experts.
#7 Potential Legal Issues
Before implementing a BYOD policy, your company should be aware of the potential legal issues involved. One of the most important legal aspects to consider is compliance with industry-specific regulations.
For example, if your company is in the healthcare industry, your lawyers will need to check that your BYOD policy complies with federal regulations.
Another legal issue to consider is data privacy – when employees use their own devices, your company will not have as much control over their security. In particular, this can be a concern for customers and business partners, who may even take legal action against you if any of their data is in danger.
What can you do to mitigate these legal risks? Invest in security measures to protect data on employee devices and keep up with the latest BYOD trends and best practices. By enabling your company to maximize its BYOD benefits, you will help ensure the success of your policy.
The Bottom Line
Having a BYOD policy in place is a great way to reduce costs for your business and increase employee productivity. VoIP can make the process of setting up and managing a BYOD policy much easier. Following all the tips we provided here will ensure that you do it right.
Need help? We can assist you with setting up a BYOD policy in no time or show you even before you purchase.