Lynch Law Firm, PLLC July 29, 2015 Investigate Your BYOD Policies Bring-Your-Own-Device policies are great and awful Allowing employees to bring their own devices can increase efficiency, allow for more accessibility, reduce hardware costs, and allow employees to introduce new methods of efficiency. BYOD policies also create wage nightmares, allow data to be more easily stolen, lost, or shared, and reduce the ease of collaboration amongst employees on different platforms. Bring-Your-Own-Device policies also create an investigative nightmare. The baseline premise in the United States is that an employer owns workplace information and communications. Having that information on a plethora of devices held by people with varying levels security awareness can challenge the integrity of that information and make it impossible for the employer to preserve. There may be huge forensic and manpower costs related to simply getting data from a company with a BYOD policy and that data may be incomplete, compromised, or even missing. Imagine these BYOD scenarios: • Allegedly, there are abusive text messages between a supervisor and subordinate employee. The supervisor “lost” his device and then the subordinate employee’s devise went missing the day after the complaint was made. Neither properly backed up their data.• A company’s intellectual property is stored and accessed through a service like Dropbox but one of the engineers does not password protect his smartphone. Then he looses his phone at a vendor’s office and it is never recovered.• Several employees report their personal phones are disappearing. Those phones house their work emails, texts, documents, and notes. None of the phones have tracking apps enabled and none are backed up.• A supervisor is accused of making racial slurs. Most of the alleged victims quit, taking their phones with them, and are unwilling to interact with the company any further. The employer is unable to reconstruct the texting and phone records of the supervisor and his victims enough to establish the veracity, or falsehood, of claims.• Your company is sued over harassment and discrimination claims but the company never preserved the data needed to establish that claims are frivolous. There are many considerations that go into determining how to provide technology to your workforce and it is well worth having your IT and legal professionals help determine what is right for your company. Investigative matters should be considered in collaboration with many other issues when deciding the proper hardware scheme for your organization.