Law Firms and The BYOD Trend: How to Manage Potential Security Risks

law firm BYODLaw firms are rapidly adopting the “bring your own device” trend to improve productivity and efficiencies. But there’s a problem — Using BYOD can impact your law firm’s security.  This can be addressed by creating BYOD policies. It’s critical to define your employee rights and appropriate use of mobile devices in order to protect your firm’s security.  The Evolution of BYOD

In the past, personal cell phones usually weren’t allowed in the workplace. Today, employees are increasingly using them for business communications. The BYOD trend is a reality for most businesses.  While most BYOD discussions focus on mobile devices, personal computers and thumb drives are considered part of the BYOD trend as well.

Employees need to have access to company resources on their personally owned devices, but many companies fail to implement a BYOD program; leaving networks, documents, and other important resources at the mercy of unmanaged devices. 

Four Ways To Mitigate BYOD Risks 

As the managing partner of your firm, it’s important to consider the worst-case scenario that could occur when using BYOD.  Do you have a thorough and properly enforced BYOD policy in place? This is essential before allowing personal devices to be used for business purposes. Plus, your employees should sign a contract agreeing to your BYOD policy.

1.    Create a BYOD Policy

BYOD policies should answer all of your own questions and concerns, as well as those of your employees. What will BYOD users be allowed to access? How will IT control this access? What happens to personal devices when an employee leaves the company?

2.    Investigate Ways To Protect Data

There are various solutions you can use to extend enterprise security solutions to personal devices. If you employ a solution that allows you to keep company data separate from personal data, you can ensure your employees’ privacy and enable them to use company data securely.

3.   Consider Data Privacy For Your Non-U.S. Employees

U.S. and non-U.S. citizens working for your law firm function under different data privacy rights. It’s important to ensure you’re not violating the privacy rights of non-U.S. employees. Furthermore, there may be legal issues with transferring data internationally.  This could be problematic when collecting data from non-U.S. employees working in another country. Familiarize yourself with the privacy laws of these other countries.

4.    Discuss Data Collection and Limitations

If an employee leaves the company, how can you fulfill your data collection responsibilities without violating their privacy? All mobile devices have built-in security measures that prevent the collection of data. Cellular providers and device manufacturers may upload updates on personal devices that change your limitations. Make sure you can always collect any business-related data on your employees’ personal devices when using BYOD.

BYOD Advantages

Although improper handling of BYOD in the workplace can create a variety of problems for your law firm, BYOD has many advantages, including the following:

  • Increased Productivity

Employees are more comfortable using their personal devices, which prompts them to be more productive. If an employee has extra time on the weekend or after work hours, they can simply pull out their personal device and get some work done. Personal devices also tend to be more innovative, so both your employees and your law firm will benefit from the latest features.

  • Cost Savings

BYOD programs often save money by shifting costs to the user. Your employees pay for their mobile devices and data services, which can save your law firm a lot of money in the long run. In addition to shifting the actual cost to employees, increased productivity saves money by allowing you to hire fewer employees to get the same amount of work done.

  • Employee Satisfaction

Your employees can use the personal device they’ve selected, rather than the device chosen by your IT department. Most employees are much happier using their own personal devices, which leads to increased employee satisfaction. This also avoids the need for your employees to carry multiple devices.

To learn more about the BYOD trend and how to create a thorough BYOD policy for your law firm, give us a call at (403) 984-9001 or (780) 800-0644 or send us an email at sales@nirico.com. NSI can help you realize the benefits of BYOD without compromising data confidentiality.

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