Ireland: The Trend Of BYOD: Personal Devices In The Workplace – Part 2

In Part 1 of this two-part series on BYOD (bring-your-own-device), we considered some of the common concerns companies have when thinking about, or implementing, BYOD in their organisation. This week, we examine the 3 stages of an employee's life-cycle in the context of BYOD. In particular, we look at how these stages of the life-cycle can help to inform the company's BYOD policy.

1. The Beginning - Disclosure is King

Employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the workplace. In Copland v. UK, the European Court of Human Rights held that by failing to notify the employee that telephone calls, e-mails or internet usage would be monitored, the employer violated the employee's human right to privacy. Therefore, because privacy and data protection are specific fundamental rights in Europe, if the employee's device will be monitored, it is essential that the BYOD policy transparently explains the scope of access (what information the company will access) and the purpose of the access (why the company will access that information).

The policy should also address how the company will go about protecting the private information that it comes into contact with when carrying out monitoring. Drafting a BYOD policy does not give the company a 'blank cheque' to closely examine everything in the device. The monitoring of the device has to be proportionate to the stated reasons for the monitoring. For example, if the purpose of the monitoring is to ensure that employees do not spend company time on personal matters, then monitoring may not be appropriate on weekends.

Secondly, the policy should explain what measures the employee must take in order to protect the data on the device, such as encryption, password protection to access the device, and limitation on the types of company information that can be stored on the device. Furthermore, the policy should discuss permitted use, including what content the employees are allowed to access from work. This will ensure that employees do not use the company network to access illegal or inappropriate material which can expose the company to liability, or material that heightens the risk of a network security breach.

In applying the BYOD policy, the company should ensure that employees are made aware of, and clearly agree to, the BYOD policy before the company approves the employee's use of a personal device and before the company accesses any information on that device.

2. The Middle - Review, Revise, Remind

The BYOD policy should be a living document that changes as both technology and the company's needs change. This can be achieved by following 'the three Rs':

  1. periodically review the policy to make sure that it accurately reflects the ways personal devices are used in the company;
  2. revise the policy to account for the evolution of industry security measures and changes to privacy legislation; and
  3. remind employees that they are bound to the terms of the BYOD policy.

The BYOD policy should provide that the company reserves the right to make certain minor changes to the policy without specifically informing employees. Companies should clearly notify employees of any material changes to the policy that impact employee rights and responsibilities; this aims to avoid an argument that the employees were not on notice. Additionally, companies should consider giving employees a grace period to adapt to substantial changes, and should let employees know that if they no longer agree to the policy they should refrain from using the device for work, and, optionally, may be required to deliver the device to IT to ensure that company proprietary information is properly and permanently deleted. Likewise, if an employee decides to upgrade the device, the company may also require the employee to bring the old device to IT for evaluation.

To enable the company to minimise risk, employees should be required to immediately notify the company if they suspect a data breach has occurred. The BYOD policy should provide that the company can remotely wipe the device in the event it is lost or stolen in order to protect company proprietary information.

Finally, the BYOD policy should discuss consequences for breach, such as employee liability for loss of proprietary company data or dismissal if a more serious violation occurs.

3. The End – Checking Out

It is important to have the 'end-of-life' terms agreed in the BYOD policy in advance, since not all employees may leave the company on good terms and even those that do may be sensitive to having their personal device accessed at the end of the employment relationship. In the US, the practice is to require employees to hand over their devices so that their contents can be reviewed and deleted as appropriate. This is a cumbersome exercise in itself and is actually resulting in a decrease in the use by employees of their own devices. This type of review is however something which is unlikely to be permitted in Ireland or Europe due to the aforementioned protections on employees' privacy rights, unless the BYOD policy explicitly permits this type of access and such permission is proportionate to the stated reasons for the access.

A company's BYOD policy should explain that the employee is required to permanently delete all company and employee information from the device before the end of the employment term. Furthermore, the company should consider whether the employee will be required to bring the device to IT for evaluation as part of the employee's 'exit interview'. Companies should also be prepared for a refusal by an employee to hand over his/her device and consider whether (a) it is technically possible to remotely wipe company data from the device and whether (b) such remote wiping would capture all data – company confidential data or the personal data of other employees. This will largely depend on the device used by the employee and whether the company obtained the proper employee consents in the BYOD policy.

Other considerations may include: whether the employee will be allowed to keep the phone number if the company owns the contract with the mobile network provider, and whether the employee will be required to sign a declaration confirming that all company information has been returned and/or destroyed.

Conclusion

Allowing BYOD without a BYOD policy can be a significant risk. The company can quickly lose control over its proprietary and confidential information, and could inadvertently breach its employees' fundamental right to privacy. In addition, even if the company has not sanctioned the use of personal devices for work, in all likelihood many employees are still putting company information on their devices. So, in the digital era, the age-old adage still holds true – "by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." And by failing to prepare a clear BYOD policy, an organisation is preparing for increased exposure to a security or privacy breach.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.