Who owns a Smartphone? Mobility of the mobile phone

Today's businesses have already learned how to deal with the complexity of their mobile workers and the information contained in their laptops. After all, information in those laptops is confidential and owned by the company. The same complexities – and much more – now come from employees & # 39; use of smartphone. Often the data in the smartphone is as sensitive and critical to the business as data on computers. Issues of security, consistency, legitimacy, trust and of course costing everything must be addressed.

All these issues give rise to the biggest question of everyone – who should own the business smartphone – the employee or the limited company? The use of smartphone among information servers in the US is scheduled to triple in 2013, according to Forrester Research. It seems that decisions and methods that affect the control and ownership of these devices should have been made sooner.

The cost of ownership is somewhere the easiest factor to figure out. It may seem like repaying the employee for a flat rate of the bill from your own phone would be a quick and easy way to go. But there are hidden costs that need to be considered, including support costs for accounting, billing and asset management and for managing things like overseas roaming fees. Not to mention how and where connection fees occur in the company, this can provide important information about the actual cost of business mobility.

Network operators have their own problems, like supporting a plethora of different phones and types of carriers. Think again if you believe that you can just give the same phone to everyone to manage that complex. It's usually the best carrier, the hardest employee to hire, who needs to have his own phone type, "because he has worked for me before."

While it is obvious that there is a need to manage employees & # 39; equipment and usage-after all, there are hundreds of emails, calendars, documents and confidential business information stored on these smartphones. An increasing number of companies release their position with employees who have their own devices used for commercial purposes.

Today, half of the smartphones currently in use by US and Canadian companies are not released devices, according to a recent report from Forrester Research. Most companies are still addressing the question of who should be responsible for these devices. In this discussion there are still many unanswered questions and hidden values, including: What is meant by "responsibility"? What are the legal issues that need to be considered? How can I start building a policy that is significant and balanced the needs of the company and the employee?

What is the term "responsibility"?

There are many types of liability in connection with ownership and use of smartphones, including financial, regulatory, compliance, privacy and legal responsibility, to name just a few. Financial obligation is perhaps the easiest to understand. It seems obvious that paying for individual transport plans would be the responsibility of the employee. But what if the employee made a $ 5000 account on a three-week business trip to Europe? And what if this employee uses corporate phone (CL) phones to conduct illegal activities with high financial constraints, such as using the camera to take a photo of confidential documents from competitors?

If you are in industry with strict rules and rules of compliance, it would be more likely that stronger monitoring and CL smartphones would be the norm. Of course, the data is on that phone, but not the phone itself, which has to be controlled. In larger companies with adequate information technology, it is relatively easy to keep sensitive data outside the phone with specialized software and firewalls. But what about smaller companies that allow phones to access corporate listings on private companies?

Financial services and pharmaceutical companies can have very high financial and legal consequences for the abuse of personal information that may end up on smartphones. Many of these companies require all business data to go through company-issued computers (and not phones) that have high-quality encryption and other data protection methods. But "privacy" may have a different definition. In terms of the protection of personal data living on a CL smartphone? Does an employee have the right to look at all the data on the phone they own, even if they could happen to some embarrassing images?

And here is an ideological "who is responsible" question. What if an employee loses the next generation of prototype, which is later found and sold in the magazine, so that the new features and technologies can be "out of order" for public interest? What kind of insurance / risk management plan will cover that?

Legal Facts About Ownership and Monitoring of Data

There is clearly a lack of legal clarity as to what companies can not control regarding the smartphone. With legal technology, how do you manage legal issues, who owns your own smartphone?

Some commonly accepted practices are beginning to occur. Communication and corporate data are owned by the company, regardless of where they benefit. The company has unrestricted access to the information and may set the rules of use that an employee must follow. On the other hand, the courts have ruled that when this data is sent through the webmail with services like AOL in the cloud, employers can lose the right to confidentiality! The problem is multiplied exponentially if you are an international company because in the EU, Japan and Canada, all emails are considered private to employees if it was their author.

Can an employee mandate control of CL or IL phones used for commercial purposes? One way that seems to be legal is by using employment contracts. Even if the phone is owned by the employee located in (let's say) Canada, a successful industrial agreement will trigger local laws on the privacy of business orders and text messages. Of course, the employment contract will not continue if it is only chosen or randomly enforced, which makes the employer a bad boy if he is strictly enforced with great hand. It is generally agreed that any policy is well understood and "purchased" with solidarity in order to avoid privatization.

Start a policy

There are too many random variable parameters to manage your smartphone, ownership, and control. At the core, you need to define your policy in front. What are the goals you want to accomplish? How do you balance the needs of both the employee and the company? Since each action and level of business – not only sales and marketing director Road Warriors – affects this plan, the strategy must be well thought out.

Sharing user types is usually the first step in the program. Forrester analyst Ted Schadler recommends sharing your employees' information to a few groups based on how their business benefits:

  • Those who use the most sensitive data get corporate smartphone advice
  • Those who work further from their Offices receive subsidies for most or All Their Personal Smartphone Charges
  • Those who work away from their tables sometimes receive a subsidy for your personal smartphone.
  • Those who rarely work away from their tables get no grants and you may consider locking smartphones from your system altogether.


So who should own the smartphone? There is no perfect answer. Sometimes the employee is, sometimes an employer. Times have changed and staff expectations are different. Today's job is challenging to choose your own device. The locked, two-year-old corporate device just does not cut it anymore.

Planning for this dynamic is a new reality. Forrester's Schadler says: "The secret of smartphone management is to increase employees like adults and use" a trusted and validated management management model. Management questions. "

More and more companies are already making this change in their thinking. Balancing between the issue of smartphone as an IT management management system, to allow a particular subgroup of employees to be responsible for their own devices. The balance varies for each One thing is certain that the IL / CL discussion will rely on some time.

Source by K Hickey

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