Telecommunications has played a critical role in business communications since its inception. However, when people talk about corporate phones, they mean smartphone devices used at work. Some people use the term corporate phones to refer to company-issued cell phones and personal devices used as part of BYOD policies, but the term refers explicitly to company-owned devices.
Pros and Cons of Using Corporate Phones for Work
The practice of providing phones for work use is not new. This practice has existed since before BlackBerry was considered a revolutionary icon in the smartphone arena. So, what are the benefits and downsides of doing so?
The Pros of Using Corporate Phones for Work
- Increased Security: Corporate phones provide an extra layer of security compared to personal devices. This also ensures that sensitive data is only accessed within the corporate environment and not on third-party networks.
- Improved Connectivity: Corporate phones are often more reliable since they don’t rely on personal networks, bandwidth, or battery life. This means that employees can stay connected to their work environment no matter where they are.
- Enhanced Productivity: As technology advances, corporate phones become increasingly powerful devices that enable users to access their company’s data and applications easily and quickly. This improves productivity as staff can access information or complete tasks with ease.
The Cons of Using Corporate Phones for Work
- Increased Costs: Corporate phones are generally more expensive than personal devices as they require additional ongoing support costs. This includes regular upgrades, repairs, and maintenance.
- Affected Employee Privacy: Providing corporate phones to employees can come with a certain level of privacy infringement if the company has access to personal data stored on the device. Employees often have social relationships with each other and may communicate via the device outside of work.
- Potential Distractions: Smartphones are naturally distracting devices, and providing a work phone can lead to employees getting sidetracked from their job tasks. This is especially true when employees have access to social media or other non-work applications, even if they also use these apps for work.
What Type of Workers Use Corporate Phones?
Corporate phone usage is most common among workers who need access to their work data and applications while on the go. This could include the following professionals:
- Sales staff
- Field service engineers
- Delivery drivers
- Project managers
Phones are also becoming popular among office-based staff. They need these devices to access important information remotely. Remote and hybrid admin workers tend to take advantage of BYOD policies. Meanwhile, managers and workers whose jobs require field work tend to receive company-owned devices.
Why Organizations Need a Corporate Phone Policy
The inappropriate use of mobile devices and apps has cost companies millions. For example, an investigation into WhatsApp use at major financial institutions led to roughly $2 billion in fines. Establishing formal corporate phone policies will not eliminate the possibility of penalties, but failure to create one opens the door for violations. Here are some additional reasons companies should consider creating one.
- Identifies Potential Threats: A corporate phone policy can help organizations identify potential vulnerabilities from using company-owned or BYOD devices.
- Ensures Regulatory Compliance: A good policy outlines the company’s rules and regulations that must also align with industry or government standards.
- Sets Clear Boundaries: A good policy will identify the areas where company-owned and BYOD phones are prohibited or restricted and provide guidelines for appropriate use.
What To Include in a Good Corporate Phone Policy
This is not a comprehensive list of everything you need to include in a corporate phone policy. Instead, these are some of the most critical elements you should add:
- Data Use & Protection: Establish guidelines for how to use, store and protect data on company-owned and BYOD phones.
- Device Security: Outline the measures users and IT admins must take to ensure the security of company-owned and BYOD phones, such as enabling multi-factor authentication and password protection.
- Application & Software Restrictions: Define which applications and software employees can use for work, and outline the measures taken to ensure that employees don’t install unauthorized apps.
- Archiving & Monitoring: Determine what information should be archived and monitored and the limits of monitoring that the organization can take.
- Users: Identify which workers in the organization will receive company-issued phones and who might take advantage of BYOD strategies. Create separate usage policies for both approaches to phone use.
How Automated Capturing and Archiving Tools Protect Corporate Communications
Automated record-keeping tools are essential for organizations that monitor or archive employee communications. These tools can capture text messages, voice calls, and other forms of communication for monitoring or regulatory compliance purposes. Automated message capturing and archiving also provides a tamper-proof audit trail that managers can use to demonstrate their compliance efforts.
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