In the last few years, mobile technology has advanced considerably, and with that the number of people using smartphones in the workplace has increased as well. Particularly as more businesses have begun to adopt flexible, remote, and hybrid working models.
As most people in the legal industry use the same mobile device for work and personal use, there are many problems that may arise from this. Mobile devices have introduced new risks for law firms, with not only being used both for work and personal use, they are constantly handling sensitive information. Lawyers and personal injury law firms have a duty to protect the confidentiality of clients and attorney-client privilege.
To ensure all legal data is secure, many law firms have started to implement a mobile device policy known as a BYOD policy in the workplace, allowing employees to use their own personal mobile devices for both work and personal use, yet still keeping your firm and its clients protected.
What is a BYOD policy?
You may be asking, what exactly is a BYOD policy?
Well, a BYOD policy is an acronym that stands for “bring your own device” policy, allowing employees at a law firm to use their personally owned devices for work-related activities. Those activities may include tasks such as sending emails, texting with clients, connecting with co-workers, and accessing the law firm’s personal injury case management software. The policy implements a set of rules that govern how employees should (and should not) use their personal mobile device in the workplace.
The importance a BYOD policy has on your law firm’s data security and overall organizational health is significant. Firstly, it can greatly reduce the firm’s overall cost; your law firm can save a lot of money by not spending on device costs as the employees are paying for it. Secondly, a BYOD policy can increase company efficiency and productivity, as the employee is already familiar with the device in use and does not require training to learn how to use it.
- A BYOD (bring your own device) policy is essentially a set of rules created by the company that tells the employee what they should and should not use their personal device for in the workplace.
- Advantages of a BYOD policy include:
- Cost saving for the business.
- Increase company efficiency and productivity.
Creating a BYOD policy for your personal injury firm
If your personal injury law firm is looking towards implementing a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, make sure to discuss it with your staff. Find out their preferences and then encourage them to submit suggestions and voice any concerns they might have. Using this feedback, and recommendations from data security professionals, draft an effective mobile device policy for law firms. This should include clearly defined rules and protocols for personal mobile device use (e.g., what devices are allowed or who has access to what).
Also, include clearly defined data monitoring legal practices for your IT staff (and for the rest of your staff to see), so they know what they should monitor and, more importantly, what they shouldn’t.
Your mobile device policy for law firms should also have clearly defined protocols in the event of lost or stolen devices, termination of a contract, or any other potential data breaches. This may include “wiping the device” (e.g., rendering firm data, such as client data, unreadable) with the help of mobile device management (MDM) software. You should also make sure that your staff is aware of the dos and don’ts of cybersecurity (e.g., phishing, malware, email, social media).
- Before implementing a BYOD policy, discuss and collect feedback from your employees and staff on their preferences and/or concerns on the new policy.
- Draft an effective mobile device policy with clearly defined rules and protocols for mobile use.
- Include clearly defined data monitoring legal practices for your IT and entire staff to follow.
- Be sure to educate your staff on the protocols of device use and management, as well as cybersecurity.