Mobile devices are ubiquitous in the workplace, but there are many different types of devices. Look around your credit union and you’ll see everything from Apple to Android and smartphones to tablets. It’s also likely that employees, not your credit union, own many, if not most, of these devices.
And these credit union employees are using their own personal devices in their credit unions, too. They’re bringing them to work, connecting to the Wi-Fi, checking email, and doing both personal and credit union work. In response, credit unions are scrambling to create policies governing the use of these personal devices. These policies are known as BYOD (bring your own device) policies.
More than 80% of employees responding to a Harris Interactive poll say they use personal electronic devices for work-related functions, but 66% of those who use personal devices for work say their employers haven’t implemented policies governing their use.
“It’s happening whether you want it to or not,” says Ryan Elkins, senior manager of information security for Diebold, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider . “We see employees coming in every day with the latest devices. It’s not a question of whether or not employees are going to do it, but it’s a question of how you’re going to handle it.”
Technology experts call this trend the consumerization of information technology (IT) because employees (the consumer in this case) are heavily influencing employers’ IT decisions. Part of this consumerization involves the BYOD issue. And credit unions are taking different approaches to come up with BYOD policies. Credit unions are justifiably concerned about overtaxing their IT departments as they try to draft BYOD policies that balance employees’ needs with security concerns.
Productivity vs. risk
Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union, with $393 million in assets and located in Westbury, N.Y., currently doesn’t allow employees to mix personal devices with company resources, but Chief Information Officer (CIO) and CUNA Technology Council Executive Committee member Robert Reh says he can foresee a change.
“BYOD might be something we’ll be forced to do to remain competitive in the marketplace for top talent, but right now it hasn’t been,” Reh says. The potential upside of letting employees use their personal devices in the workplace is improved productivity, morale, employee retention, onboarding, and workflow for employees.
“Some people will say they’re more productive and can do their jobs better on their own devices because they’re more familiar with them,” says Reh. “The question is, how much productivity do you gain versus the additional risk?”
At the moment, an inclusive BYOD policy isn’t worth the risk and increased demands it would place on Nassau Financial’s IT infrastructure, Reh says. These policies require a lot of advance thought and consideration, Reh says. You’ll need to ask:
“Who maintains these devices and keeps them up-to-date with antivirus software and patches?” Reh asks. “How do you enforce these types of rules and policies?”
NEXT: Device wars